Fun Activities

On The Job

Government & Defence -  Intelligence & Policy Analyst

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Change it up!

PrimaryPrimary MiddleMiddle High SchoolSecondary

Personal and social capabilityAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Personal and social capability

Cooperative LearningCooperative Learning Activity

This is a simple exercise to get students to concentrate and use their short-term memory. In the world of espionage, surveillance officers need to be very observant.

 

1. Divide into pairs of students - Student A; and, Student B.

2. Student A is to look at Student B for 10 seconds.

33. Both are to turn around after the inital 10 seconds so they are both facing outwards. Student B is to change one feature - eg their hair, clothing; but it is to be as subtle as possible.

4. After 10 seconds, the students are to face each other again. Student A is to say what the change is about Student B. This can be confirmed or not by Student B.

5. Swap roles.

 

Making and Using a Scytale

PrimaryPrimary

NumeracyAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Numeracy

CriticalAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Critical and creative thinking

Cooperative LearningCooperative Learning Activity

Introduction

In cryptography, a scytale (/ˈskɪtəliː/; also transliterated skytale, Ancient Greek: σκυτάλη skutálē "baton, cylinder", also σκύταλον skútalon) is a tool used to perform a transposition cipher, consisting of a cylinder with a strip of parchment wound around it on which is written a message. The ancient Greeks, and the Spartans in particular, are said to have used this cipher to communicate during military campaigns.

The recipient uses a rod of the same diameter on which the parchment is wrapped to read the message.

 Scytale

Encrypting
 

Suppose the rod allows one to write four letters around in a circle and five letters down the side of it. The plaintext could be: "I am hurt very badly help".

To encrypt, one simply writes across the leather:

_____________________________________________________________
| | | | | | |
| I | a | m | h | u | |
__| r | t | v | e | r |__|
| | y | b | a | d | l |
| | y | h | e | l | p |
| | | | | | |
_____________________________________________________________
so the ciphertext becomes, "Iryyatbhmvaehedlurlp" after unwinding.

Decrypting
  

To decrypt, all one must do is wrap the leather strip around the rod and read across. The ciphertext is: "Iryyatbhmvaehedlurlp" Every fifth letter will appear on the same line, so the plaintext (after re-insertion of spaces) becomes: "I am hurt very badly help".
(Source: Wikipedia)

How to make a Scytale (developed by America's Cryptokids)

TeacherTeacher

Get students to form pairs

Instructions - PDF [1 page]

a. Materials

2 Cardboard tubes found inside of paper towels

1 Long strip of paper, 2 cm wide

Pen/Marker

Tape

b. How to make a Scytale

NB. It is important that both you and your partner have the same size scytale (cardboard tube) to encipher and decipher each other's messages with.

1. Tape one strip of paper to the end of the cardboard tube.

2. Wrap the remaining length of the paper around the tube in a spiral fashion. Make sure that the edges meet without overlapping. Secure the second end of paper to the tube with another piece of tape.

3. After the paper is secure, write the message across the strip of paper - just as if you were writing on a normal piece of paper from left to right. Make sure you write one letter per pass of paper. When you reach the end of the line, rotate the scytale slightly away from you and begin the next line of your message.

4. Once the message has been written, unwrap it and you will simply see a bunch of scrambled letters on the paper. Your message has been encrypted!

Scytale

c. How to Decrypt your message

1. Wrap the strip of paper around the same size scytale as the messenger until the letters line up and reveal the secret message.

 

Other Resources

Online: De-code - Scytale Cipher

Scytale Cipher

 

 

Online

The Petrov Affair Rich Task & WebQuest

MiddleMiddle  High SchoolSecondary

LiteracyAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Literacy

CriticalAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Critical and creative thinking

Intercultural UnderstandingAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Intercultural Understanding

Ethical UnderstandingAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Ethical Understanding

PhilosophyPhilosophy

Cooperative LearningCooperative Learning Activity

 

TeacherTeacher

Want to get your students to study the Petrov Affair and Cold War in detail from an Australian perspective?

Go to the Museum of Australian Democracy website and discover a Rich Task including a WebQuest that Frances Moore [On the Job] created some time ago for the MoAD - The Petrov Affair.

It was maintained by MoAD but is now archived. All of the WebQuest is still available but Teachers will need to look at the websites given in the Resources and update them where necessary.




The Petrov Affair

 

The Petrovs and Countering Cold War Espionage
(Source: ASIO)


In April 1954, Australia (and ASIO) found itself in the frame of the Cold War with the public announcement by Prime Minister Menzies that Vladimir Mikhailovitch Petrov, a Soviet intelligence officer based in Canberra, had sought political asylum in Australia.

Mr Petrov and his wife, Evdokia, had decided to reject communism and defect. In return, they offered to provide valuable information about Soviet espionage activity against Australia and the West.


The Petrovs
Vladimir & Evdokia Petrov in the safe house on Sydney's North Shore
(Source: National Museum of Australia)

ASIO and the Petrovs
Vladimir Petrov came to the notice of ASIO in 1950, barely a year after its foundation. ASIO had a focus on the diplomatic officers within the Soviet Embassy, and Director-General Spry had issued a directive that work be done to identify a Russian with potential as an asset.

An existing agent, Dr Michael Bialoguski, became a key player and was tasked with providing information on Petrov and his activities. Dr Bialoguski’s service was controversial among those few people involved in ‘the Case’. However, he was undeniably important in convincing Petrov that staying in Australia was not only a possibility but also the best option.

In a dramatic and very public event, Petrov was convinced to seek asylum in Australia in April 1954 after months of development by ASIO handlers and agents. His wife, Evdokia, a cypher-clerk at the embassy and an identified KGB officer, accompanied him days later, but not before being subject to a very public attempted extraction by diplomatic minders. The photo of Mrs Petrov being manhandled onto a plane at Sydney Airport ranks as one of the most iconic Australian photographs of the 20th century.

The Petrovs’ defection was followed by the severing of diplomatic relations with the USSR, the closure of the Russian Embassy in Canberra and the establishment of the Royal Commission into Espionage.

Petrov’s defection (and the aftermath) was a milestone for the Organisation and a public demonstration of the very real threat of espionage in Australia. It provided a great deal of credibility about ASIO’s ability and its role, with both partner organisations and the Australian public.

Both Vladimir and Evdokia remained in Australia for the rest of their lives, and continued to provide valuable intelligence to the security of the Commonwealth.

Cold War espionage
After its early success with the Petrovs, ASIO remained active countering Soviet espionage activities during the Cold War.

In 1963, ASIO identified Russian diplomat and KGB officer Ivan Skripov. The Organisation determined Skripov was attempting to cultivate Australians to assist his intelligence efforts, one of whom was an ASIO human source. ASIO used this opportunity and ran the source back against Skripov as a ‘double agent’ for a short time, confirming the extent of his intelligence activities. Skripov was later declared persona non grata—with the Australian Government revoking his diplomatic privileges and forcing his return to the Soviet Union.

Representatives in Australia of other Soviet bloc countries were also a priority for ASIO, and in 1969 the Organisation secured the defection of Czech Consul-General Karel Franc. In post-defection debriefs, Franc reported on the intelligence activities of some of his consulate staff and advised of the presence of a network of 25 Soviet ‘illegals’ in Australia placed to activate in case of war. ‘Illegals’ are intelligence agents posted abroad to live a normal life, usually under an assumed identity, and operating without any contact with the legal representation of their home country.

Later, in 1983, Soviet diplomat and KGB officer Valeriy Ivanov was declared persona non grata after ASIO discovered his attempts to cultivate a former senior member of the Australian Labor Party. ASIO learned Ivanov was seeking to create a clandestine relationship with a person in a position of influence, in order to manipulate political and trade discussions between Australia and the Soviet Union. The investigation into Ivanov, and his eventual expulsion, in part contributed to the Royal Commission on Australia’s Security and Intelligence Agencies (the second Hope Royal Commission).

 

Today's Espionage in Australia: Analyse

High SchoolSecondary

CriticalAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Critical and creative thinking

LiteracyAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Literacy

Ethical Understanding Australian Curriculum General Capability: Ethical Understanding

 

1. In groups of 3 - 4 students, read the following article from The Conversation 8 December 2021 Read

The Conversation

 

2. Using the Cornell Note-taking Method, re-read the article. In the "Notes" provide key issues; in the Keyword and comments write up any questions you might have and then Summarise.

Cornell Note-taking Method

 

3. Write up the questions you might have as a group. Share with the class.

4. As a class, discuss the questions and the main question the article poses: "Are our anti-spy laws good enough?"

 

Spying, sabotage, subversion, people-smuggling: the brave women who resisted the Nazis through non-violence in WWII

 

High SchoolSecondary

CriticalAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Critical and creative thinking

LiteracyAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Literacy

Ethical Understanding Australian Curriculum General Capability: Ethical Understanding

 

PhilosophyPhilosophy

Cooperative LearningCooperative Learning Activity

 

1. Form groups of 3 - 4 students.

2. Read the following article from The Conversation 25 April 2023 Readand create a notebook showing each woman, what they did and where they did it, their nationality, their deaths.

The Conversation

3. One particular person from this above article was Nancy Wade, "The White Mouse". Read over the account of Nancy's life from Wikipedia and then analyse, compare and contrast with the article from The Guardian below.

Analyse

Analyse the following article from The Guardian upon her death in 2011. Local copy [3pages]

Nancy Wade

4. What questions would you have liked to ask Nancy Wade about WWII and her part in it?

 

 

The Annual Threat Assessment for 2024 by Mike Burgess - ASIO boss 28 February 2024: What questions still need answering? A Community of Inquiry

High SchoolSecondary

CriticalAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Critical and creative thinking

LiteracyAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Literacy

Ethical Understanding Australian Curriculum General Capability: Ethical Understanding

 

PhilosophyPhilosophy

Cooperative LearningCooperative Learning Activity

 

TeacherTeacher

Community of Inquiry

This is a Philosophical "Community of Inquiry" which has specific procedures to follow. Please look up these procedures here.

 

Students

1. The whole class is to form a circle including your teacher. Your teacher will provide you with instructions to carried out this Community of Inquiry [CoI].

 2. You are to read the following article as your stimulus material - it is an article from The Conversation 29 February 2024:  Read

The Conversation

3. After reading the article, you are to partner up with one other person and write up TWO questions for each of the following Question Quadrant on a Post It:

Question Quadrant

4. On a white board, stick your Post It with your two Inquiry questions. Make sure your names are on the Post It too.

5. As a class, work out which questions are similar and put them together. The questions with the most number are to be discussed first.

 

Websites, Games & Apps

 

ASIO - Puzzles

                            MiddleMiddle High SchoolSecondary

"Our staff have designed a series of puzzles to test your problem-solving skills."

Spot the Difference - Smithsonian Magazine
PrimaryPrimary MiddleMiddle High SchoolSecondary

Identify the differences between two similar photos.
AGO - Photo Interpretation Challenge

MiddleMiddle High SchoolSecondary

This challenge provides 11 photos that you are to answer the question: "What do you see?"
 

Spot It App

PrimaryPrimary MiddleMiddle High SchoolSecondary

Spot it app

Find all 5 hidden differences before the timer runs out. With over 300 high quality photos and 1500 differences to spot, What’s the Difference will keep you busy for 24 hours straight!

 

 

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