# Sample Protocol Lesson 1.6

Hi @jmularski,

To me, one of the coolest (and on the flipside possibly most challenging) parts of the first few lessons is the idea of solving a problem you’ve never come across before.

Based on teacher feedback, I’m starting to see how it’s a bit confusing and possibly frustrating to be given directions to “send a shape by creating a protocol”. Especially since students’ experiences of protocols thus far has been only in a couple contexts.

I’ve found it helps when I approach it more from a problem-solving standpoint, as opposed to a “do the following task” standpoint.

Here’s how I present it:
Here is a simple shape made of points and lines on a grid. I’d like to send this shape and other simple shapes to my friend across the country, but all I can use is the internet simulator. And right now, all I can send through the internet simulator is numbers! What might be a way for me to communicate this shape and other shapes to my friend when all I can send is numbers? As we come up with a method, what are some rules and agreements my friend and I have to make? (These rules will be your protocol!)

In the spirit of having your students “invent the internet”, I would encourage you to hold off on examples as much as possible. Without prior ideas of what a solution might look like, there’s more potential for creativity.

@bhatnagars gave a great example of a possible solution students might come up with. Even within that solution, there’s room for flexibility - If students decide to use a x-y coordinate plane, where is (0, 0)? What direction is positive/negative? (The answers to these questions implicitly are your protocol - things you must agree on beforehand.) Even though most students might converge on similar solutions, there’s much room for flexibility. Or a coordinate plane doesn’t have to be used at all. One could simply number every intersection on the grid and send a list of numbers. (There’s another example for you.)

Hopefully rephrasing the challenge will help students see this task as a problem they can wrap their heads around and have fun tackling.

Frank

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