The Source – Week Three

Week 3 of The Source emphasized math, cryptography and preventing youth violence. Adia's father is a very quiet and secretive person, and in the third part of the game, uses cryptography to hide a very serious incident in his youth. This week, players acted as detectives and cryptographers to sharpen mathematics, logic, and deductive reasoning skills, and learn about criminal investigation and the far-reaching effects of violence.


On Tuesday, youth played "Secret Society", using playing cards and coded messages (that must be truthful) to divide themselves into specific groups. Later, players worked to decrypt a letter from Adia's father written in three different ciphers (Caesar, Pigpen, and Substitution). By analyzing the letter's format and decoding its message, they discovered an important clue.


Wednesday morning, students learned about evidence collection and criminal procedure from a real-life police officer. A cryptographer/mathematician also spoke about the importance of math in cryptography. Youth then played the game "Investigation", in which they reconstructed the events of a crime allegedly involving Adia's father, using the contents of an "evidence box".


On Thursday, players continued with the father's narrative through the "Tales From De-Crypt" board game. Youth assumed the role of a wrongfully-accused suspect and broke through three layers of encryption using various ciphers. Finally, youth embarked on a scavenger hunt, involving a GPS coordinate and several mini-safes buried around The University of Chicago campus.


The overarching theme of Week 3's activities was using game-based learning intervention to teach real-world application of mathematics. Participants learned to examine a problem from different angles, the importance of math in day-to-day life, and how violence impacts society. Week 4 will focus on technology and cyberbullying.

"The Source encourages people to abstain from participating in acts of violence."

"Before participating in The Source, I thought deduction, encryption and investigation were impossible to do unless you were a professional. Now, I believe that anyone can do it!"

-The Source participants

We invite you to follow The Source on social media!

The Source was created as part of the Chicago Summer of Learning by Ci3's Game Changer Chicago Design Lab. Program partners include: Museum of Science and Industry, Digital Youth Network, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Hive Learning Network, the Neubauer Collegium of The University of Chicago, Mozilla, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office, and One Chicago Fund.





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