Introduction to Cryptography
Learn about cryptography, ciphers, plaintext, ciphertext, and how you can teach young minds about the wonderful world of encryption in this CyberDay4Girls Activity Kit.
Estimated Cost of Materials
The use of cryptography began thousands of years ago as a way to protect secrets using codes and ciphers. However, it wasn’t until the 20th century that mechanical systems such as the Enigma rotor machine made encryption an efficient and effective way to protect information. Today, encryption methods used to make ciphers has become more complex and even harder to break. This Activity Kit gives students an introduction into cryptography and includes hands-on exercises designed to teach students how to encrypt and decrypt messages using ciphers.
This activity kit will require the following resources:
- Classroom must have PowerPoint presentation capabilities
Review the PowerPoint presentation and speaker notes to better understand cryptography and your talking points.
There are additional cryptography puzzles in the box folder containing all the presentation materials. Reviewing the puzzles and completing some of them may help you get a better understanding on the topic you will be facilitating.
The ciphers used in the session will need to be printed out before hand and can be printed out from the presentation deck on slides 7-12.
After preparing and reviewing all the materials provided, it is time to start thinking about how you want to facilitate your session and what exactly you will say.
Use this time to prepare any notes or important talking points.
- There are speaking notes provided in the presentation deck to help guide you. Feel free to amend them as needed for the needs of your session.
Try practicing the ciphers! When solving the ciphers think about any difficulties that you faced and how it will affect your audience.
- How will you explain how to solve the ciphers in a way that your audience understands?
- What are some challenges that may arise?
- How will you guide them in the right direction and ensure students truly grasp the core concepts?
Begin by introducing yourself and this CyberDay4Girls Activity Kit and why this learning is important.
- When introducing this Activity Kit topic, make sure to fully explain the terminology that will be used during the session.
- You may also use the speaker notes provided to help guide you.
Slide 4 has an example cipher to help give your audience an idea of what is to come. It is recommended that you solve this with the group as a whole.
Slides 5-6 contain an optional exercise that you can chose to incorporate into your presentation.
- If you chose to use this activity for your session, think ahead of how you will split the students into groups depending on how many are attending.
- If you are not going to include this exercise, make sure to remove it from the PowerPoint presentation.
If the students are not split up into groups yet, now is the time to do so. Each group will need a copy of each cipher and its corresponding coded message.
- They can be found on slides 7-12 of the PowerPoint presentation
- The solutions to the ciphers can be found on the speaker notes of each slide
If time allows, additional cryptography puzzles are offered as additional activities during your CyberDay4Girls event. If not, you can choose to send the puzzles home with the students to solve on their own.