History/ICT Year 8 project

In the summer term, Mr Ramsey (ICT) and Mr Moreland (History) collaborated in a cross curricular project with Year 8s.  The question of how a computer defeated Nazi Germany in WW2 was delivered through a series of lessons in both subjects.

From a history perspective, the Year 8s looked at the causes of WW2 including how the treaty of Versailles, the rise of Adolf Hitler and the invasion of Poland by Germany all lead to world war.  From this short introduction to WW2, the boys focused on how the Allies were able to use a computer to defeat the Germany.

From an ICT perspective, the Year 8s were introduced to network security, in particular, reasons for hacking, malicious software and the importance of a strong password.  In conjunction with how computers helped to defeat Germany in WW2, students learned how the Computer Scientist, Mathematician and Cryptanalyst, Alan Turing, had decrypted messages from the Enigma machine that were used in the German war effort in an attempt to defeat the allies.  Turing had created the “Bombe machine” that was used to crack the German communications encoded by the Enigma machine shortening the war and saving millions of lives.

The project concluded with a viewing of the movie “The Imitation Game” starring Benedict Cumberbatch telling the story of how Alan Turing had cracked the German Enigma code with help from fellow mathematicians and cryptanalysts.  On reflection, the discussions, tasks and plenary exercises used highlighted the importance of how Computer Science and History can be used in tandem to promote student learning.