Cryptography for Kids

Cryptography before Computers

This course was developed for kids to learn about cryptography but should be purchased by a supervising adult.  In this course students learn about how Cryptography was used to keep information secret before computers and the internet.    We learn about encrypting messages which just means to make them unreadable except for someone who has the KEY. Decrypting a message just means to take the unreadable text (called ciphertext) and turn it into readable text (called plaintext).  If we have the KEY, decryption is easy.  However, if we don’t have the KEY then  decryption is like solving a puzzle.  We study Caesar Ciphers (named after Julius Caesar), general Substitution Ciphers like the Pigpen Cipher or the Atbash Cipher and polyalphabetic ciphers like the Alberti and Vigenere Ciphers.  The decryption techniques we learn are Brute Force and Frequency Analysis; that is, using the frequency of letters and words in English to help decrypt messages.   We learn which decryption technique works for which types of ciphers.   We have fun doing cryptograms and students even learn how to create their own cipher using letters, numbers, symbols or even emojis.   This course will help students in their logical problem solving skills.  There are lots of practice problems with worked solutions in separate videos. All videos were created with the whiteboard animation software videoscribe.

What you’ll learn

  • Learn about Cryptography before computers.
  • Use ciphers to send messages to friends that no one else can read.
  • Have fun solving cryptograms by decrypting ciphers.
  • Learn to make your own substitution cipher.

Course Content

  • Introduction to Course –> 6 lectures • 36min.
  • Encrypting Messages with a Caesar Cipher –> 11 lectures • 54min.
  • Decrypting Messages which have been encrypted with a Caesar Cipher –> 12 lectures • 1hr 25min.
  • General Substitution Ciphers –> 12 lectures • 1hr 31min.
  • Polyalphabetic Ciphers –> 7 lectures • 47min.

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Requirements

This course was developed for kids to learn about cryptography but should be purchased by a supervising adult.  In this course students learn about how Cryptography was used to keep information secret before computers and the internet.    We learn about encrypting messages which just means to make them unreadable except for someone who has the KEY. Decrypting a message just means to take the unreadable text (called ciphertext) and turn it into readable text (called plaintext).  If we have the KEY, decryption is easy.  However, if we don’t have the KEY then  decryption is like solving a puzzle.  We study Caesar Ciphers (named after Julius Caesar), general Substitution Ciphers like the Pigpen Cipher or the Atbash Cipher and polyalphabetic ciphers like the Alberti and Vigenere Ciphers.  The decryption techniques we learn are Brute Force and Frequency Analysis; that is, using the frequency of letters and words in English to help decrypt messages.   We learn which decryption technique works for which types of ciphers.   We have fun doing cryptograms and students even learn how to create their own cipher using letters, numbers, symbols or even emojis.   This course will help students in their logical problem solving skills.  There are lots of practice problems with worked solutions in separate videos. All videos were created with the whiteboard animation software videoscribe.

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