Monday, April 27, 2009

Mr. Morse and Mr. Gilbreth

Stuart rang this morning, "Have you seen the Google homepage yet?"

We had. John did a little Gollum dance in front of the computer to let us know. "Come quick! Hurry!"

Morse code. The kids all joined John in his little Gollum dance to celebrate their new favorite form of communication.

We read Cheaper by the Dozen a few years ago when the little ones were too little so, my chore time pep talks, "Frank Gilbreth would roll over in his grave if he saw you clearing that table one plate at a time," only generated blank stares. Finally, after Mr. Gilbreth came up for the twentieth time Faith got curious. "WHO is Frank Gilbreth and WHY do you keep talking about him?"

Out came Cheaper by the Dozen . We rolled our way through the chapters, holding our sides. A story of a motion study pioneer who practiced his techniques on himself and his supersized family with hilarious results. A born teacher, a man who made the most of his time. We were spellbound. When we got to the part where Mr. Gilbreth covered his entire summer cottage in morse code, the chidren were hooked.

One morning at breakfast we spent an hour coming up with words to match the dots and dashes of the alphabet.
Here's our list:
A .- a DORE
B -.. BEST i ar y
C -.-. CREEP y CRAWL ers
D -.. DAN ger ous
E . egg
F ..-. fil i BUST er
G --. GAR GOY le
H .... half a min ute
I .. ig loo
J .--- ju LY JAM JAR
K -.- KAN ga ROO
L .-.. lim BER ger cheese (much to John's dismay. He prefers li NO le um)
N -. NOS tril (Charlie's favorite word! Just in general.)
O --- O RE O
P .--. pen I CIL lin
R .-. re MOR a
S ... sal ly forth
T - TOAST! ( from YeahToast!)
U ..- un der WHERE?
W .-- what IS THAT?
X -..- EX tract of MALT ( Tigger's favorite food)
Y -.-- YO da's KNICK ERS
Z --.. ZO OL o gy

Once we got the code under our belts, the kids started burning through all the scrap paper in the house creating messages for one another. We are not working on them every meal like we were a few weeks ago but every once in a while somebody will write one and we will linger at the table solving the puzzle. Of course John created one this morning after he finished his dance.

This message is the first one that John made for us and I think it is the best one that we have done to date. If you would like to try this with your children, pretend that you are standing in the middle of the circle, turn so that you face the arrow at the top and then turn clockwise to work your way around.

morse code puzzle


Mama JJ said...

We read the book a few months ago, and while the kids didn't get everything out of it, they certainly got enough to enjoy it. I've always been a bit fascinated by the type of people that take the time to learn the morse code and actually use it to talk to each other.... To know I'm related (by marriage) to those fascinating people gives me a great sence of satisfaction!


Mary@notbefore7 said...

WOW - your creativity with the words is astonding! That is awesome.

Christine said...

Love it! You're nerds just like me. And I mean that as a compliment, of course! I ahven't read that book aloud to my kids yet but we own it. Maybe this summer's the time!