Subject: Language Arts
Grade: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
Students create and solve codes based on the numerical values of their spelling list words.
Students practice math and spelling skills.
prominently displayed cards or a chart containing an assigned number value for each letter of the alphabet; scrap paper and pencils
Assign a number value to each letter of the alphabet. Assign values in order, giving the number 1 to the letter A and the number 26 to the letter Z; assign values according to frequency of use, giving letters such as T, S, E, and N higher values; or assign values randomly. Adapt the lesson for younger students by assigning number values to only those letters found in their most-frequently used spelling words. Prominently display each letter and its assigned value in the classroom.
Point out to students where you display the numerical assignments in the classroom. Distribute pencils, scrap paper, and copies of the class spelling list. Ask students to determine the numerical value of each word on the list.
Depending on the words on the spelling list, ask questions such as What is the number value of friend? Which word has the highest value? What two words have the same value? What is the greatest number of words you can add together to get a sum of 98? What is need times 2? What is the value of in? What is borrows divided by 5?
Demonstrate to students how to use the numerical values of letters to create a number code for sentences containing words from the class spelling list. For example, using the alphabetical order method of assigning numbers to letters, the code for A friend in need borrows money would be 1-56-23-28-110-72.
Arrange students in pairs. Ask each student to create a code, using words from the spelling list and a few other short, frequently used words. Have students challenge their partners to solve the codes they've created.
Evaluate students on their participation in the activity.
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