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Spies, Secrets and Suspense Unit Study

Updated on June 20, 2015

Spy Unit Study

Education with a BANG suggests that when teaching active boys, incorporate a subject they love and develop it into a lesson that will help them learn the basics.

This unit study is designed around Camp X, a Canadian spy school during WWII. This unit study combines history, math, english, geography, art and lessons that would have been taught at spy school. It is geared to about age 10-13.

Introduction to espionage

Sneak Peek

Espionage (spying) is a way for countries to find out secret information about their enemies.

This is especially useful during wartime so that information (intelligence) about

weapons, troops etc. can be found out in advance.

Camp X

Sneak Peek

During WWII, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill created a plan to wage a "secret war" against Hitler by sending in undercover agents to

weaken German forces. The plan began by establishing a spy training school in Canada.

Did You Know

Sir William Stephenson (aka Intrepid) established the spy school on the north shore of Lake Ontario near the town of Whitby.

The Art of Disguise

Sneak Peek

One of the subjects taught at Camp X was how to alter their appearance quickly. Spies were meant to get information from the enemy and so they needed to blend in with the enemy which probably meant changing their appearance, their mannerisms and even their voice.

Did You Know?

Over 400 women managed to disguise themselves as men and serve in the Civil War.

Spy Training :Observation

Sneak Peek

Observation was another important skill learned by the agents at Camp X. In the Lecture Hall hung many types of uniforms, from many different countries. It was important for agents to recognize allies and enemies.

Did You Know!

Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond series, studied at Camp X spy school in Canada!

Types of Spies

Sneak Peek

In the spy world different spies played specific parts. Couriers, Double Agents, Defectors, Saboteurs, Moles, Analysts and Assassins were responsible for specific jobs in a mission.

Download the entire unit study and find out how each of these types of spies played a role in the missions!

Did You Know?

A controller was usually the only person the spy had contact with (which gives them less to reveal if they get caught).

Codes and ciphers (Cryptography)

Sneak Peek

Spies need to communicate with each other during a mission. But they must pass on messages that the enemy cannot read if they are intercepted. So, spies have created many ways of communicating using secret messages.

Download the entire unit study and find out about the number code, mask code, pinhole code the Navajo code and the enigma machine!

Did You Know?

A code is a set of symbols, letters, words or signals used in place of regular letters, words and numbers. A cipher is a type of code that hides the message by scrambling the letters.

Try it Yourself

Spies Unit Study

Download the full unit study to supplement your lessons or as a lesson itself.

For the complete unit study go to

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      burntchestnut 6 years ago

      Great way to teach history without it being so dry.

    • TeacherRenee profile image

      TeacherRenee 6 years ago

      My grandsons are only 4 so a little young for spies, but in a few years they are going to love all these ideas. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      ohcaroline 7 years ago

      Very interesting lesson.