communication Breakdown

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Scouts split into 3 groups. Each have 30 minute to learn and practice one form of communication - semaphore, phonetic or Morse Code. Groups are then divided into "stations" - each station has one "expert" on each type of communication in it. A message needs to be relayed from group 1 to Group 2 using Semaphore, then from Group 2 to Group 3 Using Phonetic and a reply sent from Group 3 to Group 1 using Morse code. or similar.


VHF Radios, Semaphore Flags (kneckers), torches, Alphabet/semaphore Sheets, Envelopes, Secret question, sketch maps or photos of site, pens and plenty of paper.


Split the unit into 3 groups. Each group spends about 30 minutes learning and practicing a method of communication - Semaphore, Morse Code and the Phonetic alphabet.

These groups are then distributed to form 3 communications stations - Mission Control, Base Camp and Search Party. The scouts need to decide who is in which group - but must bear in mind the communication skills that they have learnt.

Base camp is out of sight of the other two (inside the building) and can communicate with Base Camp using the phonetic alphabet over VHF radio. Base Camp can transmit messages to the Search Party using Morse Code from a torch and can receive semaphore. The Search Party can transmit messages using semaphore and see messages sent by Morse code.

The search Party have a secret question that they sent to Base Camp who pass it on to Mission Control. The question has a one word answer which matches the word on one of a set of envelopes held by Mission Control.

Each envelope contains a map or photograph of the surrounding area with a possible position for a "supply dump". The map in the envelope with the correct word written on it has the position of the actual supply dump (a box placed before the activity started); the others have false positions.

Mission Control must now describe the position of the Dump (using the phonetic alphabet) to Base camp who pass on the message (or guide the search party to the correct spot) using Morse Code.


  • #science
  • action game
  • communication
  • morse code
  • radio
  • semaphore

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