As the crisp weather has deepened, our curiosity has grown so deep. I have never seen such smiles on each one’s face. The girls come with such joy to find out what we are doing each week. This November, I had something mysterious for our girls to explore and push their brains a little further. Here comes one session that the girls so much enjoyed: unlocking secret codes.
I had two questions for them: to find out a mystery number and a hidden meaning of the message. Those questions were one of the ways to create a secret code. The one that the girls had to figure out the mystery number requires a bit of research unless they knew Roman numerals. 6-9=S 5-4=FE ?-5=SEEN
What is a mystery number? As you see, this seems like solving a math equation, but this one actually requires a “perspective shift” so that the girls need to think “out of box.” Without any hints, the girls struggled, trying to solve this only in a way accustomed. So, I gave them a bit of hint one at time—1) Roman numerals, 2) minus, “-” doesn’t always mean to “subtract” but to “remove” something. The girls began to google Roman numerals and wrote them down. Once they’ve written 1-10 down in Roman numerals, I demonstrated how the first equation makes sense: if we spell out the number 6, which is “six”, you will see the Roman numeral 9 (ix) in it. All you have to do is to “remove” the Roman numerals from the first number on each equation. The girls were so excited to know “how” to “unlock” the number—a-ha! Each team were so eager to come up with the answer first.
With a little bit of practice, it was finally a time for them to create a secret code of their own. Each team had 12 minutes to create one, and, after 12 minutes, they changed their sites to unlock other teams’ codes. A-ha, those weren’t that easy.
Taneeyah’s team created a code using “pi” in numbers, but mixing Roman numerals and numbers backward—how brilliant their ideas were! I so loved seeing all this going on!
Nicole’s team used sticks and plastic forks to connect all numbers and letters in layers that looked so complicated. When Taneeyah’s team was trying to unlock Nicole’s team code, they were bit frustrated. “Miss Bori, I feel my brain cells are definitely working, but can’t get this,” said Taneeyah. Katie added, “Oh my god, this one is too hard.” “I see numbers and letters—that’s all I can give you.” Well, ask Nicole and Melissa for hints. They’re the ones who have created this.” Nicole showed them what invisible lines between each layer tell us. Nicole’s team code was very challenging, but Taneeyah’s teammates were never giving up on it.
Besides this secret code, November brought us another mysterious session that the girls experienced density with “Mystery Smoothie”—of course, we used edible materials again, but too raw to drink. The girls presented both activities on the GivingTuesday celebration when we had workshop stations. Please, stay tuned for the next blog post! I am so excited already to share it with you!
Written by: Bori Kim