Have you yet encountered the “cyber activities” available to students in their Day of Cyber dashboards? If not, you are in for some real exciting adventures that are sure to pique the interest and involvement of your class, while at the same time provide you with some powerful new ways to connect cyber to your own syllabus!
Everyone loves a good challenge, and by tackling the Cyber Challenges in their dashboards students can extend their virtual experience of working with the NSA mentors. These challenges include word puzzles, encrypted messages, and a variety of technical questions that can be assigned by teachers as in-class team efforts, lab exercises, homework, extra credit, or even term assignments.
The Beginner Cyber Challenges can be solved by most high school students usually within 1-2 hours – sooner if students are motivated or more senior. They involve basic elements of “codes” and technical questions whose solutions are readily researched on the Internet. As the name suggests, these challenges portend the coming availability of even more advanced ones that will further stretch the imagination and creativity of student solutions.
In general, tying cyber challenges to your normal course work in IT, programming, or computer science classes is easily accomplished by using the material as launch points for further assignments that leverage your own course materials. Whether it involves cyber terminologies, real-life tools used by the NSA mentors, or perhaps cyber technologies employed today in industry, teachers can use it all to bring their own material to life in the classroom!
More information about the Cyber Challenges can be found in the Cyber 101 documents located in the Course Material tab of your Instructor Dashboard.
NSA Crypto Puzzles
The NSA has developed an intriguing “Crypto Puzzle” that is also accessible from the student dashboard. Students see how fast they can decipher puzzles every month consisting of encrypted quotes, factoids and historical events.
Tip: While the Crypto Puzzle activity is accessed through Facebook, which is access-limited in some schools, students can also get to the Puzzles directly at https://guardsupport.com/crypto/index.asp.
These puzzles are particularly intriguing for students of any age, and they teach subtle inference solution techniques and other skills-building approaches.
Many students have been writing us asking for more, and we’ve been referring them to the NSA “Puzzle Periodical” webpage for a never-ending stream of clever character-substitution word puzzles! This is located at https://www.nsa.gov/news-features/puzzles-activities/. Give it a try as an assignment with your class!
That’s all for now!
Email me at [email protected] if you have a question about Cyber Challenges or if you have other cyber games and puzzles that are effective in reaching your students. As I say each time, it’s all about inspiring and motivating students about cyber!