Mrs. Mansfield's Middle Ground
A Matter of Ethics Lesson Plan:
Copyright, Fair Use, and Plagiarism

Target Learners: 8th Grade ELA Students

Students will collaboratively create a multimedia presentation or tool that demonstrates…
  • understanding of copyright, copyright infringement, fair use, and plagiarism.
  • understanding of when, where, and how copying can be done appropriately and inappropriately.
  • how to use quotations, paraphrasing, and summarizing correctly.
  • an understanding of students’ rights related to fair use.
  • the ability to use internet and other resources to conduct research.

Michigan Educational Technology Standards:
By the end of 8th grade each student will…
  • evaluate available digital resources and select the most appropriate application to accomplish a specific task (e, g., word processor, table, outline, spreadsheet, presentation program).
  •  create media-rich presentations on the appropriate and ethical use of digital tools and resources.
  • use a variety of digital resources to locate information.
  • provide accurate citations when referencing information sources.
Michigan 8th Grade ELA GLCEs:
  • W.GN.08.03 formulate research questions that demonstrate critical evaluation of multiple resources, perspectives, and arguments/counter-arguments that culminate in a presented final project using the writing process.
  • (As interpreted as a Research Project by the Michigan Genre Project. Click on this link for specific details.)
Required Time:
Five 45-60 minute class periods.

  • Computer lab, classroom computers, or laptops with high speed internet connection, audio, and video capabilities.
  • Software such as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint
  • Access to web 2.0 resources such as wikis or blogs
Additional Resources for Teachers:

This will be a collaborative inquiry-based, constructivist research project.  Students will be placed in heterogenous small groups designed to balance personalities, technological expertise, and academic expertise. Students will be given the task to design a multimedia presentation or web 2.0 resource designed to educate other students about copyright, fair use, and plagiarism, especially as it relates to their schoolwork.

A RAFT description of the project:
Role – researchers/teachers
Audience – other students
Format – multimedia or web 2.0 resource
Topic – copyright, fair use, and plagiarism

Each presentation must address the following issues in the context of student work:
  • Copyright law
    • What is it? (5 pts.)
    • What is its purpose? (5 pts.)
    • To what does it apply? (5 pts.)
    • How long does copyright last? (5 pts.)
  • Copyright infringement
    • What is it? (5 pts.)
    • Why is it wrong? (5 pts.)
  • Plagiarism
    • What is it? (5 pts.)
    • How can students avoid plagiarism by…
      • Using quotations w/example (10 pts.)
      • Paraphrasing w/example (10 pts.)
      • Summarizing w/example (10 pts.)
      • Citing your sources w/example (10 pts.)
  • Fair Use
    • What is it? (5 pts.)
    • When and how can you ethically use resources created by others? (5 pts.)
  • Resources
    • What related resources are available to students? (5 pts.)
    • What resources were used to research this project?/ Did we cite our sources? (5 pts.)
Each group will create a plan for dividing up the work and submit this proposal along with a tentative schedule by the end of Day 1 for teacher review and consultation. 

Some of the parameters were intentionally ambiguous in order to allow students’ pre-existing knowledge and interests to inform their decisions and direction.

For each of the items above, students will receive up to five points for a total of 100 possible points.  For the items marked ten points, students may receive up to five for addressing the issue and another five for including an example or examples.  Generally, addressing the issue or question in a limited way will receive three points, addressing it in a manner that shows a developed understanding will earn four points and communicating a thorough understanding of the question or issue will earn five points.  Failure to address a given issue will result in zero points. 

In addition, students will lose five percent of the total grade for errors in conventions that interfere with meaning in a limited way. They will lose ten percent for errors in conventions that significantly interfere with meaning. 

In addition to receiving a group grade for the presentation, students will also receive an individual grade based on a peer and self-evaluation.  This process grade will be worth half as much as the product grade and will cover issues such as using time wisely, collaborative skills and behaviors, and fulfilling responsibilities.

Created by Monica Mansfield, 2/2010