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Spy Story: Invisible Ink 🔥

Designed by:


Embark on a captivating adventure into the secret world of spies and invisible ink, inspired by Josephine Baker's remarkable espionage during World War II. In this interactive lesson, students will write a narrative hook and code a hidden message to reveal by dragging an object over it, blending history with the magic of coding.

Grades: 3-8
Estimated Time For Completion: 50 mins
Hardware required: Computer or Tablet Speaker


Students will:

  • Read about Josephine Baker and the use of invisible ink in history.
  • Write a narrative hook and secret message for a spy adventure.
  • Code a hidden message revealed by dragging an object over it.
  • Code their story with sound effects and background music to play.

Code Stories and Games with Elementari

Elementari’s platform makes coding accessible and fun for kids, fostering creative writing and core literacy skills. Perfect for K-12 teachers, this cross-curricular approach deepens learning by combining technology and creative writing in the curriculum.

New to Elementari? Click on the orange Start button to jump right into the lesson for free. Check out our Getting Started Guide for an overview of how Elementari works with your class. Get started for free for up to 35 student accounts.

Lesson Resources

Coding Concepts Covered

Functions in Sequence Function in Parallel

Student Facing Instructions

1. Spy Tales and Invisible Secrets 🕵🏾 (10 mins)

Read the interactive story Discovering Josephine Baker to learn about Josephine, an incredible entertainer and spy who smuggled secret messages during WWII and a bit about invisible ink.

Use the worksheet (download the PDF or use the google doc) to draft your story.

2. Title Page Creation 📖 (5 mins)

Design a title page for your spy adventure.

3. Write your Narrative Hook 🎣 (5 mins)

Create a hook that leads into the adventure of uncovering the secret message.

4. Creating Your Secret Message ✍️ (5 mins)

Imagine you are a spy and write your own secret message! Some ideas to start: 

Mission Assignment: Your mission: find the _________[object] by _________ [time]. Stay unseen.

Hidden Treasure: Treasure hidden _________ [place, e.g., "under the old bridge"]. Look for _________[object/marker]. 

5. Designing Your Spy Scene 🎨 (5 mins)

Design the page with a background, your revealing object (like a flame), and an "invisible" rectangle that acts as the target to the flame.

6. Code Your Secret Reveal 🔥 (5 mins)

Use the On Drag Over event block and Play Text Effect block to reveal the hidden message when the player drags the "flame" over the rectangle.

7. Add a sound effect 🎵 (5 mins)

Add a sound effect to play when the message is revealed!

8. Be Creative 🎉 (10 mins)

Be creative. Add images, backgrounds, and maybe write an ending for this story!

Project Example for Students

Play through this lesson's example project created on Elementari. Use this example to guide and motivate your students.


CSTA K-12 Computer Science Standards (2017)

Algorithms & Programming

  • 1B-AP-10 - Create programs that include sequences, events, loops, and conditionals.

  • 1B-AP-11 - Decompose (break down) problems into smaller, manageable subproblems to facilitate the program development process.

  • 1B-AP-12 - Modify, remix, or incorporate portions of an existing program into one's own work, to develop something new or add more advanced features.

  • 1B-AP-15 - Test and debug (identify and fix errors) a program or algorithm to ensure it runs as intended.

  • 2-AP-10 - Use flowcharts and/or pseudocode to address complex problems as algorithms.

  • 2-AP-13 - Decompose problems and subproblems into parts to facilitate the design, implementation, and review of programs.

  • 2-AP-17 - Systematically test and refine programs using a range of test cases.

Common Core ELA Standards

Writing Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.3.3 - Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.3.6 - With guidance and support from adults, use technology to produce and publish writing (using keyboarding skills) as well as to interact and collaborate with others.

ISTE Student Standards

Creative Communicator

  • 6b - Students create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.

  • 6d - Students publish or present content that customizes the message and medium for their intended audiences.

  • 6c - Students communicate complex ideas clearly and effectively by creating or using a variety of digital objects such as visualizations, models or simulations.

Computational Thinker

  • 5a - Students formulate problem definitions suited for technology-assisted methods such as data analysis, abstract models and algorithmic thinking in exploring and finding solutions.

Innovative Designer

  • 4a - Students know and use a deliberate design process for generating ideas, testing theories, creating innovative artifacts or solving authentic problems.

  • 4d - Students exhibit a tolerance for ambiguity, perseverance and the capacity to work with open-ended problems.

  • 4c - Students develop, test and refine prototypes as part of a cyclical design process.

  • 4b - Students select and use digital tools to plan and manage a design process that considers design constraints and calculated risks.

AASL Standards


  • I.A.2 - Recalling prior and background knowledge as context for new meaning

  • I.B.3 - Generating products that illustrate learning.

  • I.C.4 - Sharing products with an authentic audience.

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