Stimulating Understanding of Computational science through Collaboration, Exploration, Experiment, and Discovery for students with Hearing Impairments
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overview Objectives Prerequisites activities/materials Notes lesson1 Math Background Resources

For Teachers!

RSA Cryptology


In this lesson the students use computer interfaces to learn how our secret information is transferred. They pick prime numbers and the computer generates the necessary encryption and decryption keys. Then, using their keys, they are able to send and receive secret messages using a second computer program. The lesson explains the math behind the process so the students will gain an appreciation of this important math application.

Goals and objectives: 

The students will use factors, prime factorization, and relatively prime numbers to solve problems in a real world application.

Student Prerequisites: 

Students should understand GCD and primes before attempting this module. A basic knowledge of modular math would be helpful as
well, though it is not necessary. Modules are available on primes (Sieve of Eratosthenes) and modular math at the SUCCEED-HI site. It is also important that the students have read "Introduction to Cryptology" before they begin. 

Materials Needed: 

Worksheets: The "Record Page" and the "Student Practice" page should be printed out for the students to use. 

Computers with Internet access or CD with this lesson.


These have links to English and ASL definition through out the lesson.

Algorithm - a multi-step, repeatable process 

Break - figure out what a cipher says without having the keys 

Cipher - a message that is written using an algorithm that makes it secret 

Cryptanalysis - the study of how to break ciphers 

Cryptography - the study of how to write ciphers 

Cryptology - the study of writing messages in secret (cryptanalysis and cryptography) 

Decrypt - the process of changing a cipher into a message 

Digital Signature - a way of checking what computer did something 

Encrypt - the process of changing a message into a cipher 

Key - a number used to encrypt or decrypt a message 

Message - text to be sent to a person 

Public - available to everyone 


Developed by
The Shodor Education Foundation, Inc.

Copyright © 1999-2001 by The Shodor Education Foundation, Inc.

This project is supported, in part,
by the

National Science Foundation

Opinions expressed are those of the authors
and not necessarily those of the National Science Foundation.

Last Update: Saturday, 16-Feb-2002 13:29:11 EST
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