June 23rd, 2005 - June 24th, 2005
Daria Tsoupikova presents an interactive game demo and poster presentation entitled “Cryptography and Mathematics: Educational Game ‘Treasure Hunt’”at the Games, Learning, and Society Conference (GLS) on June 23-24, 2005, in Madison, WI. The GLS Conference fostered substantive discussion and collaboration among academics, designers, and educators interested in how computer games can enhance learning, culture, and education. Speakers, discussion groups, interactive workshops, and exhibits focused on game design, game culture, and games’ potential for learning and society.
This work is a collaborative project between Daria Tsoupikova, EVL, and Vera Pless, Department of Mathematics and Janet Beissinger from the Institute for Math and Science Education at UIC. Treasure Hunt is an interactive educational game for middle-grade children based on the use of Cryptography. The goal of this game is to find a secret treasure hidden in the old castle. To proceed through the story and get through the encountered obstacles children must decrypt messages using mathematical skills.
The mathematics topics involved in the game includes addition and subtraction with positive and negative numbers, and conceptual foundations of modular arithmetic. Players crack messages encrypted with Caesar ciphers, which are special cases of Substitution ciphers. They use interactive cipher wheels and tables to decrypt.
Cryptography - the science of sending secret messages - is an active area of research for both mathematicians and computer scientists. It is of increasing importance in society today, with applications all around us, from Internet security to the protection of diplomatic secrets, and it has interesting applications in history. Children have long been interested in secret codes. The game promotes electronic multimedia for youth that support the learning of cryptography and mathematics. The game is published on the Internet as a part of the Cryptoclub web site - the online community for children, students, and teachers interested in the area of Cryptography.