Here are some answers to frequently asked questions

  1. When is it?

The competition will be held between Monday18th and Friday 22nd September 2023

  1. What time do students have to take part?

They can take part anytime between Monday18th and Friday 22nd September – whenever is convenient.

  1. Who can take part?

This competition is open to any FOBISIA school (and any other schools by invitation).

  1. What happens during the competition?

I have designed 5 different code challenges – of which students can try and complete any level.  Each level consists of a maximum of 6-7 codes.  After each code is cracked then students enter a password to access the next clue.  When they have completed all the codes in the round then they get to enter their names into the leaderboard.  At the end of the competition I will share a spreadsheet of the leaderboard entrants for each school.  I will also provide a certificate (template) so that schools can award prizes to individual students if they choose.  There will be no “winner” as such – i.e this will not be judged as a competition between schools, rather a chance to celebrate achievement within your school

  1. What age is this suitable for?

This has been designed for KS2-KS5 students.   KS2-KS3 students may benefit from in class support.  The 4th challenge is extreme and would be a challenge for KS5 (and teachers!)

  1. What is the cost?

It’s free to enter

  1. How many students can take part from one school?

As many as you like!

  1. How do you recommend this event is run?

This works well as a stand-alone lesson – and students should be able to complete a level within one hour.  Students can work independently or in groups.  It can also be run as a homework activity or as an off-timetable gifted and talented activity.  Schools with longer time to devote to this can also use the code breaking resource pack to teach more code breaking skills.

  1. What if my students don’t have access to a computer?

I will provide a paper version of one of the code levels that can be done by printing out.

  1. Teacher preparation prior to the event?

It is strongly recommended that teachers planning to do this challenge have worked through at least one level themselves.  I will include the answers to some of the codes in my information pack.  This allows teachers to support students that may be struggling.

  1. Practice questions?

On the site you will see other code levels that are free to access – but this has been planned so that students do not need to practice prior to competing.  You can see the 2022 competition.  I’ve tried to make as many new style codes as possible – but there may still be similar themes and ideas explored.

  1. Tech issues?

The only tech issue I find is when students enter an incorrect password, and then later try to enter a correct one.  In this case the next screen may not load.  This can be resolved by refreshing the page.

  1. Where are the 2023 codes?

Currently the 2023 Fobisia codes are password protected – I will remove the passwords on Sunday night so that they are all accessible on Monday morning.

  1. Are teachers provided an answer key?

The Level 1A and 1B codes have all the clues and also the solutions in the pdf that all schools that have registered have been sent – so that teachers can have this as a worked solution to support students.

  1. Are teachers provided an answer key for the other code levels?

The Level 2, Level 3, Level 4 have no answers available to teachers to preserve the competition element.

  1. Can we do this after the competition dates?

After the competition has finished the codes will still be available on the site – so potentially students can still try cracking these later on – though I won’t send details as to student names after the competition has finished.

  1. Can we contact you during the competition?

During the competition given the number of schools taking part I won’t really be able to respond to too many emails – please keep these to any big issues!

  1. What data will be shared after the competition?

After the event I can share some excel sheet data with students who have completed each level – again because of the numbers of participants this will likely be in the form of a large excel sheet sorted in school name order which can be searched.  When students have completed a level they will fill in a Google form – this will ask for first name, last name, school, year and class (optional).  Students can simply add an initial for their last name if you would prefer to not have this data shared.

  1. How about certificates?

I will send out a pdf certificate template in 2 versions:  certificate of participation and certificate of merit.  It is up to each teacher how to award these – you may decide to award to the first to finish in each class, or the students who crack the most levels etc.  I would expect very few students to complete the Level 4 challenge – so there may be a special certificate for these!

  1. How about marketing?

I will also provide some generic marketing style quotes – so that you can have a nice write up about the event on your website/media etc!