Morse Code

5 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


Students learn how waves are used to transfer information.

Big Idea

Students learn that waves can be used to transfer information from one place to another.

RAP - Review and Preview

5 minutes

I call students to the gathering area. We review that waves need energy to move and do work. I tell them that today we are going to learn something new today.

I play a Morse code message to my students. I use the Morse code translator to tell them that, “Today we are going to learn about data transfer.” The Morse code translator plays it for me in Morse code. I ask students what message I just gave them. I have never had a student able to translate it, but many students tell me that I just played them a message in Morse code.

I tell students that today we are going to learn about how waves are used in the transfer of data. We are going to use Morse code as the vehicle to learn this information. 

Guided Investigation

30 minutes

I play this Morse Code video for students to give them a background for today’s lesson

I place students in groups of four and hand them a battery, a buzzer, and three wires (you can purchase buzzers for a few dollars at any electrical component store). I also give students the Morse code alphabet and challenge them to send their group members messages using Morse code, using the components I have given them.

I allow students to play around with Morse code for about 20-30 minutes before pulling them back to reflect on their learning.

I have students write their reflections on learning before coming together for a class discussion. The reflection handout is attached. I ask students to reflect on how they think waves are used to transfer information in other ways.

Wrap Up

15 minutes

I call students back to the gathering area. They bring their reflections sheets with them. I ask students:

  1. Why is data transmission so important?
  2. How did we transmit data before we had things like Morse code (Pony Express, mail, etc.)
  3. How are waves and Morse code used to transmit information?
  4. Cell phones use microwaves to transmit information. Why do we need so many cell towers to ensure data transmission is reliable?

This last question is an extension question to have students think beyond the Morse code we played with to different wave transmissions.