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
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 anothers 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 didnt work.
Possible additional assignments:
- Groups could create webpages, and post their code examples and solutions to the school's
website to record the project as an example of the work you do in class.
- Choose an especially interesting topic you discovered during your research, and present
it to the class in some manner that you pre-arrange with your teacher.
Possible Questions Relating to Cryptography:
Possible Topics for Exploration:
- What if you had to deliver a message to someone, and the secrecy
of the contents would guarantee your life or your livelihood or your property? How
would you make sure only the appropriate person read your note?
- What value can cryptography have for the average person?
- Is there such a thing as an unbreakable code?
- Why wont companies like Netscape or Microsoft release copies of programs like
Communicator and Internet Explorer with strong encryption codes outside of the United
- Do governments have the right to determine what citizens can keep private?
- ...what do you think is the most important Internet privacy issue today? Ask your
teacher if you can research it.
- Enigma Machine
- Bletchley Park
- Alan Turing
- PGP encryption
- symmetric and asymmetric algorithms
- The Voynich Manuscript
- The Beale Papers
- The Bacon/Shakespeare Ciphers
- The Caesar Cipher
- Ars Steganographica
- Navaho Code Talkers
- ...find some others, ask your teacher if they're okay
History of Cryptography, class info from Cryptology course taught by Arthur Brooke Stephens,
Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at the
University of Maryland
See also, Prof. Stephens' page of miscellaneous links [which includes the History pages as
the Information Society...text
files based on a report by the National Research Council.
Frode Weierud's Cryptology Page...lots of links to Turing, historical stuff, much more.
Intelligent Machines by Anatoly Nicolaenko...history of Russian cryptography.
Cryptography Today...links to good sources, plus some good background material.
The Literature of Intelligence: NSA, CIA, FBI, etc.
Cryptography pages at Southwest Missouri State University.
Brian Hart's Cryptography pages.
Mathematics Archives at Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville...links to webpages.
The secret world of cryptography, and article in Scientific Computing World Magazine, with
links to other sources.
The EFG Cryptography Working Group....lots of links.
Code Making and Code Breaking, course at Northwestern University...links at the bottom of
the page, sample cryptograms on their group projects page.
Electronic Freedom Foundation's "Privacy, Security, Crypto, and Surveillance"
Archive....loaded with links.
This page was last updated on July 25, 1999.
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