A High School math teacher in the Bronx asked me if I knew of any way to use cryptography in a way that motivates students (15 to 18 years old) to learn math.
I do know that many of them want to protect (encrypt) Snapchat pictures, and understand how SSL and encryption "works".
Is anyone aware of a curriculum, or is willing to share a mental outline of an age-appropriate set of challenges that will get them thinking in the right direction? The focus is for non-math majors who need to "justify the reason" for learning math, and to gain a sense of empowerment and removing fear from the word "encryption".
One exercise could be to "use exponents to encrypt a password", or other weak crypto that can be done with a pen and paper. I also want to get students thinking about prime numbers, and why they are important, and other similar "building block" concepts.