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The On-Line Cryptoclub

My MathLint for this week discusses the work of Janet Beissinger and Vera Pless, two UI-C professors. First, they created the story The Cryptoclub...and now have built on the book's success using NSF funds to construct an after-school curriculum for middle school students. Their goal is to use cryptology to provide an interesting context for critical thinking and problem solving.

As part of ther NSF project, they have created the Cryptoclub web site. Its goal to provide "even more fun" to the sending and breaking of secret messages.

Things to explore on this web site:

  • Six different kinds of ciphers
  • Two specialized "code-cracking" devices
  • Things to do with codes--treasure hunt, clues, and a game
  • Classroom message service, allowing students to send coded messages to their classmates
  • Overview of special math tools--Eratosthenes Sieve, primes, factors, mod arithmetic
  • Student-produced Joke Board, where the humorous-parts are written in code
Beissinger and Pless are currently in the second year of their three-year NSF project. So, I expect the resources on this web site to grow accordingly.