Spy Games – Fun Vocabulary Revision Activity

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Spy Games, Project

Background and Set-up

Video instructions and demonstration on YouTube


First, students cut out the circled. The lines inside the circles should line up when the small circle is in the center. Each letter of the alphabet corresponds with a number. The students must experiment to find the correct position of the wheel to discover the meaning of the codes!


Instructions, Spy Games

Simple Words, Spy Games

Messages, Spy Games

Intercepted, Spy Games

Varying Difficulty

When explaining the activity to students, they need to understand:

  • The Code depends on the value of A (What number is A?)

You can vary difficulty directly by choosing to either (a) Tell them the value of A or (b) Keep A’s value a secret and make them figure it out.

I recommend telling the students the value of A initially. It takes time and teamwork to determine the value of A if the number is unknown, so it’s worth building up to that. See how well the students are able to communicate to systematize their work!


All of these activities have corresponding worksheets or require no extra effort on the part of the teacher. If you would like, you can expand the activity by making your own worksheets!

Simple Words

Students decode single words! You can give one word or several words at a time.


Students decode an entire message. When they do, they should answer the question or do what it says!


Split the class into 2 teams, and split each team into two so that you have four groups:

  • Team A1 and Team A2
  • Team B1 and Team B2


  1. Each group comes up with at least 10 letters (or however many you want) of code to send to the other group on their team.
  2. They need to write this code on two pieces of paper – the “Message” and the “Intercepted” sheet.
    1. On the “Message” sheet, the students write the Value of A that they used.
    2. The “Intercepted” sheet does not have a value for A!
  3. Groups pass the “Message” sheets to the other group on their team.
  4. Groups pass the “Intercepted” sheet to a group on the other team.
  5. Whichever group decodes all “Message” sheets and cracks all “Intercepted” code first wins the round!


Team Competition

For the Single Word and Message activities, you can split the class into groups or teams. Whoever decodes the words the fastest gets a point. For the messages, you can have the students do what the message says (or answer the question) when they have decoded it in order to show that they have the answer!

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