The staff pick for this blog comes from Crystal Almond, one of NICERC’s Curriculum Development Specialists.
I pursued a career in teaching because I see value in education. I wanted to help other people get as excited as I do about learning and helping others with the knowledge and real skills gained through their education. One of my favorite things about NICERC curricula is that every course has authentic, real-world tie-ins to help students connect to the content and get excited about learning. One of the best ways that this is done is through cross-curricular concepts. Students are able to see value in a school subject when it connects to a topic that shows up in multiple classes.
For example, in our Cyber Literacy course, students learn about ethics, malware, networks, and network attacks. They discuss different scenarios, types of malware, types of attacks, and how to protect themselves against them. Students also explore sample networks and how information travels through the networks by participating in a networking activity. In this activity, they physically transmit messages broken into packets through a network made of rope and human nodes and see how messages can be intercepted and altered. This lesson (found in the Liberal Arts section of Cyber Literacy) connects really well with the Networks lesson in our Advanced Math course.
In the Networks lesson, students learn about abstracting networks and look at them as graphs and adjacency matrices. They use these concepts to look at how information travels through networks and participate in two different activities demonstrating this. In the first activity, students are assigned a node of a network (example: a router in a home) and create a human network using an adjacency matrix. In the second activity, students create another human network using a graph as a guide with string. Students send information packets (representing games, movies, or images) through the network to complete a download or upload of data.
In both courses, students are seeing the same information in different ways, and I really believe this helps them connect to the topics and apply the knowledge and skills they are learning in their classes in a deeper, more meaningful way.
To gain access to this lesson along with other great lessons for middle and high school classes, click here!