• OWLS

  • Wise words on Privacy


Key Messages

  • Important data can be intercepted and misused unless encrypted.
  • Encryption is like a code that only the sender and receiver know how to solve (via a password or PIN).
  • The padlock symbol is one way of indicating the information being sent is encrypted; also check for “https”
  • Public Wi Fi can be a dangerous place to send unencrypted data.

Illustrating the topic

  • Video clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJrICB_HvuI
  • (Unplugged: The show. Part 9: Public key encryption - this shows children passing a locked box back and forth and is extremely helpful in understanding encrypted transactions).

Discussion Questions

  • How does encryption work?
  • When would you need encryption?
  • What symbols on a website where you are sending confidential information are displayed to indicate it is encrypted?
  • How could public Wi Fi be a dangerous place to send confidential information? (See information under ‘resources’).


  • Recreate the encryption video using members of the class.
  • In groups, recreate the encryption with ‘data’ in the box instead of chocolate. What data would need to be protected in different situations? (eg paying someone when purchasing something Online).
  • Solve problems where you need to crack a code. http://www.mylearning.org/learning/investigate/Cracking%20Codes.pdf
  • Create your own ‘cracking the code’ problems for a partner to solve as well as learn about the history of codes: http://www.cerias.purdue.edu/education/k-12/teaching_resources/lessons_presentations/cryptology.html
  • Read the ‘Beware of public Wi Fi’ advice under ‘Resources’. Re-enact using public Wi Fi at the local library where a malicious individual using specific software to intercept your data is lurking. Act out the consequences of this information being shared.
  • Explore the interactive safety tips for Wi-Fi hotspots. http://www.gcflearnfree.org/internetsafetyforkids/6.2
  • Using ‘encryption made easy’ information under the resources section, create a comic strip to illustrate the process, using each line as the heading for each frame.