Riv. Mat. Univ. Parma, Vol. 14, No. 2, 2023
Aaron Gaio ^{[a]}
A cryptography teachinglearning sequence for high school and the concept of publickey cryptography
Pages: 249264
Received: 28 February 2022
Accepted in revised form: 16 October 2023
Mathematics Subject Classification: 97M10, 97C70.
Keywords: cryptography, publickey, education, school.
Author address:
[a]: University of Trento, Trento, Italy
Full Text (PDF)
Abstract:
The goal of this paper is to present a teachinglearning sequence about cryptography for high school.
Applied discrete mathematics, cryptography in this particular case, is rare to find in the usual school curricula,
but can provide good topics for mathematical activities and engage students in a realworld situation. Cryptography
is a strongly interdisciplinary subject that would not live without other subjects (most notably, Computer Science,
but also Engineering, and so on). Needless to underline the importance of publickey cryptography in the modern world
and its application in research and industry and how this contribution can help bridging the gap between school mathematics
and the world of research and industry.
The Italian institutional context will be presented, together with a literature review about the teaching and learning
of cryptography and discrete mathematics at school. The theoretical framework and methodology used follows the principle
of design research and aim at designing and presenting tasks in the model of Realistic Mathematics Education.
After presenting the whole teachinglearning sequence, I will focus on a particular task describing publickey cryptography
without the typical use of RSAlike systems.
The teachinglearning sequence and the publickey cryptography activity did respect the principles of RME both in eliciting
students' curiosity and interest and in the formation of some initial informal knowledge on the concepts of oneway functions
and publickey cryptography that can lead to a more formal mathematical reasoning in future activities.
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