What is a Cipher Wheel?
In a cipher wheel, you replace each letter of the message you want to send, with another letter further along the alphabet. You shift the alphabet so it is also called a shift cipher.
The key is the number of places the alphabet is shifted. For instance, if we use D to represent A, the alphabet has shifted three places. This kind of cipher is also called a Caesar cipher. Julius Caesar used it to send messages to his troops.
What You Need
- 2 concentric circles of thick paper, one 10 cm, another 12 cm
11 Steps to Make a Cipher Wheel
- Place the smaller circle on top of the bigger one, so that their centres are the same.
- Place the eraser below the papers’ centres.
- Push a pin through the centre of the smaller circle so that it goes through the centre of the big circle too and in the eraser.
- You should be able to spin the inner circle.
- Use a protractor to divide the whole circle in 26 equal sections. They should be 13.8 degrees each.
- Write the letters of the alphabet in order, on both circles.
- Spin the inner circle, so that the letters line up with the ones on the outer circle.
- Make another cipher wheel for your friend.
- Decide on a ‘key letter’ to set the wheel.
- Spin the inner wheel so that the key letter lines up with the latter A on the outer wheel.
- To write your message, find each letter in your message on the outer wheel. Write the corresponding letter on the inside wheel to code your message.
We have a huge collection of free and downloadable craft ideas for kids.