The 'Optional' Unplugged


I thought the optional unplugged activity was incredible. I added some things. First, I only have 20ish in my class. Fortunately there’s a study hall nearby, so I got 10 volunteers to help out for the activity. That gave us a full 30 people, made the network more crowded.

Then, I set up like the attached grid.

The students had their address on a post-it note on their chair when they sat down. The 6 students responsible for sending packets had 5 note cards on their chair as well. Those students had to write down a 5 word message, one word per card, on the notecards. They also had to add their own address and the destination address on the notecard.

When they all had their message ready, I explained how to start sending one packet at a time through the network.

The other AP CSP students who didn’t have to write a message had to use transmission logs when they routed a packet. Transmission Log for AP CSP Packets Lesson.docx (12.8 KB)

I explained that each router could only interact with those near them, and I explained that if a router was busy the message needed to wait or go a different route.

I occasionally walked around and snagged a packet without many people seeing.

There were some good and bad outcomes, but the most interesting was that one student only received 3/5ths of their message but one particular router knew the entire intended message because he had recorded the log meticulously.

The activity helped relate to later discussions.


Thanks for sharing! It is awesome that you were able to include some outside students too! It sounds like it will T-up a lot of conversations later! I am certainly going to try this variation!