Today's Lesson: Cryptography

What is it?

Where do the letters fall? The following is a class activity. Each student should analyze a paragraph of text and compare their results to their fellow classmates.

  1. Type a random paragraph from the New York Times or from any source except A Void by Georges Perec into the field below:

  2. Click on the Analyze button

  3. Open a spreadsheet application like Numbers or Excel.

  4. Create a blank document:

  5. Select ROW 1 and select a font size, font and text color.

  6. In cell A1 Type ASCII.

  7. In cell B1 type Letters.

  8. In cell C1 type your name.

  9. Going across row 1 enter each student's name from the class.

  10. In the last cell across row 1 (the cell after the last student's name) type total.

  11. In cell A2 type the number 65. In cell A3 type the number 66. Grab the little box in the right lower corner and drag to A27:

  12. Click on cell B2 and type:
    Press RETURN

  13. Grab the little box in the right lower corner of cell B2 and drag it to B27.

  14. Select cells C2 to your last column of student names to row 27, and click on the the function button and select sum from the pulldown:

  15. Using the results from above (the text analyzer) fill in your data

  16. Add the other students' data. You could write every student's result on the board so each student could share their results.

  17. Select cells in row 2 from C2 to the column before the total column. Then click on the Function Icon and select Sum:

  18. Click on the small circle in the lower right corner of the cell in row 2 in the Total column and drag down to row 27.

  19. Create another column after Total for Average.

  20. Click on the cell in row 2 in the Average column and type =(, then click on cell C2, D3, E4, until the last student in Row 2. Type )/number_of_students and press RETURN.

  21. Grab the little box in the right lower corner of Average cell in row 2 and drag it to row 27.

  22. Select cells C2 to your last Column in row 27 and select Format>Chart>Chart Type or press the Chart Icon.

  23. Select this type of chart:

Based on your chart, can you find any pattern or similarity between the recurrences of letters in each student's passage?