Objective: To inform students about copyright and plagiarism
laws. To get students to see why it is wrong to take someone
else’s work and call it your own. To apply these laws to the
safe use of technology.
-Read the situation to the students:
Situation: The student council elections are next month. You
are very excited because this year you are going to be running
for class president. You work diligently on your campaign
making posters and buttons and informing your classmates why
you would make a great class president. Susie is also running
for class president. You have gym class together but you don’t
really know her that well. Election day finally has come. You
excitement and nervousness are swirling around inside your
stomach but you have been working on your speech for the past
week so you are sure that it will go well. You are glad that you
don’t have to go first. It will give you some time to collect your
thoughts and hopefully lets excitement take the upper hand.
But then as you listen to Susie’s speech you realize that is
sounds almost just like yours. Not exactly the same wording,
but close enough. Thoughts start racing through your mind.
She stole my speech! What am I going to do? I am going to
have to makes something up right here on the spot.
-Discuss the story with the students (Point to make: that taking
someone else’s work and calling it your own is always wrong)
How do you feel about what Susie did?
What did she do that was wrong?
Would it have still been wrong if Susie had been from another
school and had used the speech there as her own?
What if she used the speech 5 years later in a high school
-Discuss what copyright is: A law protecting published and
unpublished literary, artistic, scientific, dramatic, etc. works, so that
the original creator of this work can get credit.
A copyright lasts at least 50 years past the author’s death. At this
point the work can be considered public domain.
Q. What if you don’t know about the law, should you still be held
accountable? What if Susie just couldn’t think of what to say and
didn’t know it was wrong to take someone else’s work?
-Discuss that the importance of being educated about the copyright
law. Not knowing about the law doesn’t protect you.
-Discuss how you can protect yourself.
If you use someone else’s ideas give them credit.
How could Susie have used someone else’s ideas to help out her
If you use someone else’s ideas you must state the source. Make it
clear how you are using a source.
Things to include when citing a resource: Author’s name, the
source (book or website), the date of publication or the date of
the latest update, who published it, if it is a website the name of
the institution or organization associated with the site.
If you receive specific help from someone, make sure you
acknowledge that person.
Closure: encourage students to be creative, use your own ideas.
Discuss situations were they will have to cite information.
Website used: http://www.whatiscopyright.org/