Form 5 pupils visited The National Museum of Computing in Bletchley Park, home to the world’s largest collection of working historic computers.
In the morning, students had a chance to code BBC BASIC on machines from the 1980s to create and play ‘Snake’. Students then had a chance to play on some retro games consoles such as Sega, Atari and a Pinball machine as well as see how technology has developed over the last century.
They then looked at the Harwell Decatron computer where they could visually see the Vonn Neumann fetch-execute cycle, followed by the German Enigma encryption machine and the Turing bombe. Afterwards, students saw the Lorenz encryption machine and the Colossus computer.
In the afternoon, students learned about Cryptography and completed a ‘stat-attack’ code-breaking activity where they had to decipher code generated by the German Lorenz machine used by the Germans in the war.
Pupils comments on the trip include:-
Charles “It was cool to learn about enigma machine and bombe”
Joshua “The best part of the trip was playing on the retro games! And I enjoyed coding the snake game too.”
Philla ” There was lots of information but really good! German helped me understand more about deciphering code too”
Johnny “With the enormity of the job of cracking the cipher of 159, million, million, million, million combinations, I was surprised that there was the understanding and commitment to even try. A really interesting day! It was fun to see where they originated from and how they’ve progressed across the years.”