This is probably the most fun but also right now the hardest activity to reproduce without us right now because of the use of the beautiful network modeling blocks created for this project by Disk Cactus. A description of the kit’s pieces is below under Materials.
Objective: Understand how different objects that make up the internet connect to each other and that the internet is a network of networks
Break students into small groups and give them each a set of blocks, cables, and images from the network modeling kit. Their objective is to take the different types of objects in the kit and make a model of how the different objects fit together to send a message from one personal computer to another.
Each group will have slightly different ratios of types of objects, but all will have at least 2 personal computer objects to connect together. Instructors will walk around during this process to give feedback and ask students to explain how their network works. (30-45 minutes)
Yes, these are woefully oversimplified. We know. We’re sorry.
Once each group has finished, introduce a new challenge: getting all the group’s networks to talk to each other. This is where you can introduce the carrier hotel or internet exchange, the building where all the different parts of the internet meet up to trade data. Use a block with a generic data center (or a custom example of a carrier hotel!) to connect all the networks across the space. (10-15 minutes)