#SC-03-19 Maths Puzzles: Cryptarithms, Symbologies and Secret Codes

  • Categories Science
  • Duration 26h
  • Total Enrolled 9
  • Last Update February 5, 2021

About Course

Davidson Institute of Science Education at the Weizmann Institute of Science


Explore fascinating maths puzzles

Discover maths puzzles, explore their history and practise problem-solving techniques.

You’ll explore: + Cryptarithms – puzzles where the digits have been replaced by letters. + Symbologies – puzzles where numbers are represented by symbols. + Mathematical operator puzzles – puzzles where the numbers are given, but the mathematical operator is missing (for example, what does the asterisk stand for in *1320=6?)

Through the course you will develop problem-solving skills, gain knowledge about the history, art and methodology of encrypted puzzles, and exercise your brain with fun challenges.


What topics will you cover?

  • Encoding maths puzzles, secret codes and symbologies
  • Solving and creating cryptarithms – puzzles where numbers in a mathematical expressions are encoded
  • Genres of cryptarithm including, ancient Hindu problems and alphametics
  • Special and unique cryptarithms, including prime numbers, logarithms, square roots and powers
  • Symbologies from ancient times to modern bar codes
  • The language of computers including, binary, ternary and gray codes
  • Decrypting ancient Egyptian number systems, Roman and Greek numerals
  • Barcode puzzles and how to solve them
  • Different types of operator puzzles including unary, binary and ternary
  • Modern operators including, logic operators, text operators and operators in Excel


Who will you learn with?

Yossi Elran

I’m a recreational mathematician and metagrobologist and head our institute’s technology in education unit. I have a Ph.D. in theoretical quantum chemistry, and think math and science are really cool!


Michal Elran

I am a math educator, certified editor and techno-pedagogue. I have an MSc. in computer science. My job is to create online recreational math activities for kids. I love working with them!


Judith Golan

I am a mom of three, working at the Davidson Institute of Science education as a Recreational Mathematics projects coordinator.
I have a M.Sc in Biology and love the combination of art, math & science


Who developed the course?

Weizmann Institute of Science logo

The Weizmann Institute of Science is one of the world’s leading multidisciplinary basic research institutions in the natural and exact sciences. The Davidson Institute of Science Education is the educational arm of the Weizmann Institute.

What Will I Learn?

  • Solve different kinds of cryptarithms and decipher symbologies
  • Synthesise the knowledge gained from all the different steps into a coherent view of the art of information concealment
  • Demonstrate puzzle solving skills
  • Improve problem solving skills and out-of-the-box thinking
  • Collaborate with other learners to solve problems
  • Apply problem solving strategies in new situations

Topics for this course

17 Lessons26h

Who are we and what do we want??

This activity is for us to get to know each other and set the stage for the course.
Welcome from Dr. Yossi Elran VIDEO (01:37)00:01:37
Why are you taking this course? DISCUSSION
The encoding of Math problems vs. Secret Codes vs. Symbology ARTICLE
The challenge from outer space VIDEO (00:33)00:00:33

First taste of cryptarithms – Hindu Cryptarithms?

In this activity we will tackle our first cryptarithms - Hindu cryptarithms


Alphametics are cryptarithms that spell out words

Special and Unique Cryptarithms?

Explore some more complicated cryptarithms



Student Feedback


Total 4 Ratings

3 ratings
1 rating
0 rating
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0 rating

It's a pity that in my school days there wasn't such a great teacher.

In this course I learnt many things which I have not learned before.

Interesting course.

Very nice course, and teacher is funny and to the point.


Material Includes

  • Official Certificate

Target Audience

  • The course is designed for anyone who enjoys popular science, recreational maths and solving maths puzzles and crosswords. It will be especially useful for parents or teachers looking to inspire a love of math and do fun math activities with young people.