Lesson Focus

Students learn how alphanumeric symbols can be encoded for a multitude of fun purposes. In the first of two sessions (each 2 hours long) they learn about codes, and are asked to make their own with a limited number of symbols. In the second session they are asked to break each other’s codes and discover the relationship among encryption, decryption, and shared keys.


Download:

Full Lesson Plan
Student Worksheets


Age Levels:

8 – 10

Objectives

Introduce students to:

  • Simple codes, including binary and Unicode/ASCII.
  • How simple symmetric encryption/decryption works.
  • How any symmetric code can be broken.
  • Encryption schemes such as Cipher Wheels the Enigma Machine.
  • That any code can be broken with good information and a lot of time.

Anticipated Learner Outcomes

Students will be able to describe:

  • Some of the history of encryption.
  • How encryption helps protect information.
  • The relationship between encryption and decryption.
  • How security is a constant game of cracking the code.

Lesson Activities

Students learn how alphanumeric symbols can be encoded for a multitude of fun purposes.  In the first of two sessions (each 2 hours long) they learn about codes, and are asked to make their own with a limited number of symbols.  In the second session they are asked to break each other’s codes and discover the relationship among encryption, decryption, and shared keys.

Alignment to Curriculum Frameworks

Curriculum alignment sheet is included in PDF.