By Kerra Maddern
21 June 2008
Once part of Nazi plans to gain control of Europe, this priceless
Enigma machine is now a key weapon in the fight to inspire
pupils to enjoy maths.
Found lying in a field in France after the Second World War,
the Enigma machine, then known as a Wehrmacht Enigma, was
examined by pupils at Honiton Community College as they spent
yesterday cracking codes and learning about their use in secret
communication.There were once 40,000 so called "unbreakable"
Enigmas in Germany, but now there are only a few dozen left
in the world.
Their teachers, pretending to be codebreakers at Bletchley
Park - where British maths experts deciphered the Enigma code
- dressed in formal wear for the event.
The school, a specialist maths and science school, has been
chosen to take part in the Millennium Mathematics Project,
run by Cambridge University, which aims to counter the falling
numbers of students taking the subject at A-level and degree
The Enigma Project, where schools officer Nadia Baker visits
children with the machine, is part of the scheme.
Her presentation also drew a crowd of interested residents
from the town's community.
Teachers at the school are trying to show pupils how important
maths is to society.
Head teacher Norman Tyson said: "The Enigma machine is
such an iconic piece of history, and the visit really fits
in with the way we are trying to show what happened in the
past really does have an impact in the future.
"This is certainly a different way of teaching maths."
The machine, made in 1936, was claimed by a US serviceman
who found it lying in the field. After he died his family
sold it to novelist Simon Singh, who wrote The Codebreaker.
Mr Singh has now loaned it to Cambridge University.
Pupils at the school said the visit inspired them.
Hannah Keating, 14, said: "It's made me more interested
in maths and I know those who take it get better jobs.
"Seeing the Enigma was a real eye-opener and it was fascinating
to see how the machine works."
Kirsty Waugh, 14, said: "We work with codes all the time
in life and in school so we know how important they are."
Maths teacher Desmond Kumar said: "It's difficult with
the modern curriculum to make subjects real, which is why
it's so great to do something like this.
"It allows children to take part in the theatre of history
Other: WWII News
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