Activities for Morse Code Day

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We celebrate Morse Code Day to honor Samuel Morse. His birthday is April 27th.

Samuel Morse is credited with inventing Morse Code (of course!) and he is also often associated with the invention of the Telegraph. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly who the “FIRST” is with any invention. Someone has almost certainly thought up part of it before. Combining ideas makes for a great invention. It’s no different with the Telegraph. Without a doubt, Morse laid down the first line of electric telegraph from Washington to Baltimore.

History of Morse Code

Did you know that when Samuel Morse originally invented Morse Code in the 1830s for ‌telegraphy, it only represented numbers? They added the alphabet rather quickly, but that also created some issues. It was determined that changes to the code were needed. Morse Code could not deal with many of the characters in other languages. This led to the creation of the International Morse Code in 1851. We still use this code today.

Morse Code is actually quite versatile. Just tap your pencil on the table in front of you and you can send a signal! You can even use 2 flashlights to send signals in the dark if the electricity goes out.

During World War II, the Vietnam and Korean wars, Morse Code remained the standard format for ocean communication until the Global Maritime Distress Safety System replaced it in 1999.

Morse Code today

Although its use is not widespread, we still use Morse Code today. Many amateur radio enthusiasts learn Morse Code, although it is not required. We use it the most in the fields of Aviation and Aeronautics because their radio navigational aids still identify Morse Code. The US Navy and Coast Guard still use signal lamps to communicate via Morse Code.

Morse Code is helpful to people with impaired communication skills. Stroke, heart attack, or even paralysis impairs their abilities. These individuals can use their eyelids, for example, to blink in dots and dashes.

Use this link & visit the Natural History Museum. They have a telegraph key from the original Baltimore-Washington Telegraph line on display. https://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/search/object/nmah_1096762

If you search the museum, you will fall down a rabbit hole of fantastic images related to Samuel Morse and the Telegraph!

Morse Code Activities

Here are some other ideas you can use to practice your Morse Code skills:

  1. Write a secret message for your friend using Morse Code. Using graph paper helps keep everything neat. Use one square for a dot, and 3 squares for a dash.

2. Samuel Morse was also a painter. Research this and re-create one of his paintings.

3. Create a spelling list for a younger sibling using Morse Code

4. Create a presentation about the most interesting invention Samuel Morse invented (WAS it the telegraph?)

Free Morse Code printables!

Did you Write your Name in Morse Code with us on January 11th? If so, you already have some practice with Morse Code! That’s actually why there are 2 days to celebrate. January 11th marks the anniversary of the first public demonstration of the electric telegraph. The Inventors of this holiday thought it would be a great way to introduce Morse Code in a fun, easy way. I have a FREE printable that will help you!

sample pages from the write your name in Morse code activity

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