dogs & tricks are like packets & IPs

Dogs have tricks and packets have IPs.  Both dogs and packets might fetch and retrieve.   But what else do these very disconnected things have in common?   Glad you asked and happy January BTW 🙂

Teaching is sometimes a bit of a “dog and pony show” in that a show can help the audience see, visualize or experience a concept or occurrence.   Today we will consider a new trick:  the Packet Trace Simulation Activity.  I’ve determined that I’m always up for new and different so long as it is effective.  My newest new CSP teaching trick ticks all three boxes and is worthy to be shared and shown.  Today is your lucky day!

Last Friday my CSP classes were ready to wrap up initial discussions of The Internet Big Idea in CSP on topics including packets, packet headers, IP addressing, domains, layers of OSI, TCP/IP.   I use three units for teaching The Internet (specifically, Units 4, 6, and 8 in our CSP teaching resources) with the first being a broad overview of processes and systems.   Wrapping up the opening discussion made it the perfect time for an activity I heard about last summer: the Packet Trace Simulation.   I was both excited and a little worried.  Excited because since last June I’ve been waiting to replicate Jackie C’s activity and worried that I may fail at implementation.  Fortunately, my best laid plans proved true as the activity was a huge hit in terms of FUN and learning.  Students made connections to topics discussed, used notes and prior knowledge to apply concepts, and realized new applications of ideas.  It was a smashing success so four paws up on the dog scale!

Without reservation I recommend this activity to your CSP classes.   If you have completed teaching The Internet concepts, consider this activity during exam review weeks.  Always take advantage to spiral back to cover content toward the exam.   This activity takes about 30 minutes for implementation and about 45 min-1 hour of teacher prep.  No special equipment or tools are necessary.  This is a basic but very good way to follow up what is often a dry, disconnected set of content.

Below are resources to help you understand what I did, as well as why and how in video explanation and slide format.  The video is my voice over explanation of the slides.  Also attached to this post are selected files of pre-teaching support materials used in Unit 4.  Adapt and edit as you wish so that your students can benefit from simulating a process of packets in motion.

Keep watching for new tricks and living younger every day.  I wish you a great week and remember never chase cars HA!, Jill


Packet Trace Simulation Activity

Slides Only of Packet Trace Simulation How To >> Packet Trace Simulation Instructions

Selected Resources from abstractingCS Teaching Resources for CSP Unit 4:  The Internet Part I