This sounds like great fun for Boy Scouts or any youth-oriented radio activity. Here is the description from Dan Romanchik’s blog (kb6nu.com) about teaching Morse at the Ann Arbor Mini Maker Faire.
As usual, I had my collection of keys and was teaching kids (and some adults) how to send their names in Morse Code. I have a chart of the characters (see right) that I tape to the table next to the key, and when someone approaches the table, I ask if they’d like to learn to send their name in Morse Code, and if they say yes, I ask them to tell me the first letter in their name.
After they tell me, I show them the character on the chart and then show them how to send it. Once they’ve successfully done that, I tell them to look up the rest of the letters and then send them as well. If they successfully do this, I thrust out my hand and say, “Nice to meet you, Joe (or whatever name they just sent me).” The look on some faces is priceless.
I love the way this goes straight to “do” with a minimum of “tell”, then gives an immediate reward. The “tell me the first letter” method is really clever and makes it almost like a magic trick. You can also manage several people at the activity, as long as you can copy very slow Morse.
Chart in PDF and in Microsoft Word formats.
Quoted with the kind permission of KB6NU.
Update: Don mentioned two things that make it simpler for the participants. First is to use “dit” and “dah” instead of dots and dashes, to start them on sound instead of pictures. Second is to leave off the numbers, since few people have numbers in their names. I’ve updated the chart to follow his excellent advice.
Yeah – been a long time since I used morse code but still remember most of it. It’s funny when I beep the horn to let my SO know I’m outside I send the name in morse.
The point about NOT USING “Dots” and “Dashes” cannot be over emphasized.
If you use a graphic of “Dots” and “Dashes”, it adds another level of mental processing. This ADDS DELAY in the person getting to the actual letter itself, and with each letter the person gets further and further behind in copying.
– I speak from personal painful experience in learning CW. 😦