Student Assignment Page
for the
History and Analysis of Cryptography Unit
Each layer in a system builds upon previous layers

Topic: The history of cryptography and its current applications in our society.

Assignment:  Your teacher will divide you into small groups.   You will research and investigate to find more examples to support the meaning of the concept, Each layer in a system builds upon previous layers.   Do some Internet searches on "cryptography", "Enigma Project", "codebreakers", "cryptanalysis", "Bletchley Park", and some of the other topics and questions listed below [or choose your own topic with your teacher's guidance and approval].  Discuss your findings with your group, and begin to decide on the type of code you will write when you create your coded message. Over the next week, students will construct their codes, working with their partners; then trade messages with another group designated by your teacher [after depositing a copy of the message and the code with your teacher, of course].  After receiving the other group's code, you should then try to break it.

Following an appropriate length of time [check with your teacher to see how long you will have], groups will share their results and explain their codes to the class.  When a group feels they have broken another’s code, they will reveal the answer to the whole class, showing the steps they took to break the code.   The group who created the code would clarify any misconceptions or problems with the solution. As the students present their findings, there should be open discussion to verify how the method they used worked or didn’t work.

Possible additional assignments:


Possible Questions Relating to Cryptography:

Possible Topics for Exploration:

Possible Resources:


This page was last updated on July 25, 1999.

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These pages were developed through GirlTECH , a teacher training and student technology council program sponsored by the Center for Research on Parallel Computation (CRPC), a National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center. Copyright July 1998 and July 1999 by Michael Sirois.

Thanks to the RGK Foundation for its generous support of GirlTECH.