The first text messaging system was perhaps the Telegraph! The telegraph used what we now call Morse Code to communicate “instantly” over really long distances for the first time in human history. Before that news took days, weeks and even months to be delivered by newspapers. With the telegraph, a message could be sent across the Atlantic ocean in minutes! Morse code is named for Samuel F. B. Morse. He was not the first to think of, or invent the telegraph, but he was the first to get political support for his idea. We celebrate him on April 24th – MORSE CODE DAY. Write your name in Morse Code Day, January 11th is our opportunity to practice Morse Code and further appreciate it’s history!
Details about Morse Code
The International Morse Code uses the 26 English letters A – Z (it also uses some non English letters like the Ñ, ñ). The 10 digits 0-9 (called the Arabic numerals) and a small set of punctuation and signals needed for procedures. This · · · − · means understood for example.
When sending or receiving Morse code there are no capital letters. The letters are formed by “dots and dashes”. The dot is the basic signal and used to measure how long a signal lasts. A dash is 3 times as long as a dot. This is how the person sending (and receiving) can tell the difference. – Remember, many times – we are LOOKING at the dots and dashes when we use Morse code for activities in our homes or classrooms.
Morse Code is a listening activity
Telegraph operators were LISTENING! Here is a video that plays the audio for each letter of the alphabet. (I have no affiliation with this video. Please preview the video before showing to your learners. I use an ad blocking extension for Chrome called Adblock. )
After each letter there is a quiet space equal to the length of a dot, then the signals for the next letter begins. At the end of the word, the space silence is equal to the length of seven dots.
The dashes and dots were designed based on frequency of use. For example, the most used letter in the English language is the letter E, it is only one dot.
Write YOUR name in Morse Code!
So today your challenge is to write your name in Morse Code. It is after all called Write Your Name in Morse Code Day!
I found an online site that you can input text and it will play it back in Morse Code. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND doing this activity together as it is laced with ads, download buttons and other tricky areas. There were no inappropriate ads, however I would hate for a young one to click the wrong thing. But it is so much fun to hear your name in Morse Code!
I have these FREE Write Your Name In Morse Code Activities for you that will allow you to explore and record your adventures with this old fashioned Text messaging.
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