[cryptography] teaching crypto to 7th-12th graders

travis+ml-rbcryptography at subspacefield.org travis+ml-rbcryptography at subspacefield.org
Thu Nov 18 20:46:20 EST 2010

Good examples all.

Here's my slides, if anyone is interested:


You might appreciate the side-by-side of Whitfield Diffie and Gandalf
the White (a striking similarity), as well as the discussion of what I
call "The Manhattan Project Cipher" which I've only ever seen
described in "The Codebreakers".

I played a bunch of motivational videos up front, gently easing them
into encrypting, and then some math, some more encrypting, and finally
OTPs.  Didn't get to Playfair or Enigma.

ZKPs and RSA and D/H would have been fun, but I didn't have time in
110 minutes, and I was concerned I'd lose the middle school kids.  It
didn't seem to matter; based on hand-raising, most students rated it
about a 8.5/10.

PS: I'm half-tempted to throw together some kind of "discrete math
concepts for aspiring cryptographers with computer science
backgrounds" web page one day, if there isn't something out there
like it already.
Good code works on most inputs; correct code works on all inputs.
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