Junior Cybersecurity Basics Badge Activity


Roll with Protocols

Explore how computers send and receive information when sending messages. Then find out how computers use protocols and play a game to create their own.

Activity Details

Setup: Protocols are important in everyday life. A protocol is a set of rules that says exactly how something should be done. When computers share data, they follow a set of rules or protocols. This makes it easier and safer for the computers to share information.

Time needed: 15 minutes

Materials needed:

  • Two dice
  • One sheet of paper
  • Pen or pencil

Activity:  When computers want to share information safely, they have a set of rules or protocols that the computers must follow in order to pass the information. Just like a programmer, see if you can create a protocol that others can follow using a pair of dice!

First, assign protocols to each number on a dice. Since there are six numbers on each dice, you’ll need six protocols or rules—one for each number. You can do this by creating a list of six rules.

Here’s an example of a protocol to stay active:

  1. Spin around three times
  2. Do five jumping jacks
  3. Jump into the air
  4. Do your favorite dance move
  5. Clap your hands five times fast
  6. Raise your hands above your head and wiggle your fingers

As you develop your protocol, write your list of rules and the assigned numbers on a sheet of paper. If you wrote the protocol above, someone could then roll the dice and have to follow the protocol or rule you assigned to that number. For example, if they roll a 1 and the protocol for 1 is "spin around three times," that's what they have to do!

Once you have your set of protocols, invite your sibling or any adults in your family to take turns rolling the dice and following the protocol assigned to that number.

After you’ve had someone test your protocols, give them another chance to roll the dice. However, this time, they can choose to follow a protocol or not. They may want to do something different or do nothing at all!

After, talk about how the two rounds felt. How did your family feel when they had to follow a protocol they didn’t feel like doing? How did they feel when they had the choice to follow the rules or not?

Then, brainstorm more about protocols! Ask yourself:

  • Why do you think protocols are important in computers?
  • Where else do you see or use protocols in everyday life?
  • When else might they be useful?

Troop Leaders:  The instructions for all badge steps are available free of charge in your  Girl Scout Volunteer Toolkit.

Girl Scouts at Home activities have been adapted from existing Girl Scout programming and optimized for use at home during a period of social distancing.

Adapted from Step 3 of the Junior Cybersecurity Basics badge. Contact your troop leader or your local Girl Scout council to become a Girl Scout member and learn all the requirements needed to earn the badge.