Information Technology Education
Material Type:
Upper Elementary
  • Lesson Plan
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    Citing Online Sources

    Citing Online Sources


    This is a 30-minute lesson plan designed to help upper-elementary grade students understand the importance of citing their online sources and how to do it when completing a research project.


    This lesson is designed for upper-elementary grade students to learn about the importance of citing their sources when conducting online research. They will be introduced to copyright law, fair use, and plagiarism. It can be completed in 1, 30-minute session. It is designed to be taught in-person, but could be adapted to be taught online as well.


    Background for Teachers

    Step 1 - Goals and Outcomes

    ISTE Standard 2c: Students demonstrate an understanding of and respect for the rights and obligations of using and sharing intellectual property.

    Learning Intentions:

    • Students will be able to understand copyright law, fair use, and plagiarism and how they relate to their use of online sources.  
    • Students will be able to understand how to cite online sources when completing research projects online.

    Success Criteria:

    • Students will complete an online research project, citing sources they use.


    Step 2 - Planning Instruction


    Student Background Knowledge

    Prior to this lesson, students will need to have an understanding of:

    • how to safely conduct online research.

    • how to use Google Docs.

    Step 3 - Instruction


    1. Introduction:

      1. Begin by asking students what it means to conduct research online.

      2. Ask students about where they think all the information, images, and pictures online come from.

      3. Ask students about how they feel about having others copy their school work and/or ideas.

      4. Ask them how they think creators, authors, musicians, etc. feel when people use their creations without their permission.

      5. Explain that there are actual laws in our country that protect people’s original creations.

    2. Teach about Copyright law, fair use, and plagiarism:

      1. Show students the following videos regarding copyright law, fair use, and plagiarism:



      2. After viewing the videos, ask students the following questions (tip: you can easily turn these questions into a Kahoot! Game for a more engaging activity):

        1. True or False: Copyright is the law of the US that protects original works.

        2. True or False: Fair Use means authors and artists can use each other’s works without permission. 

        3. True or False: Fair use allows you to use a limited amount of copyrighted material for your educational use.

        4. True or False: Student work is protected by copyright law.

        5. True or False: The copyright symbol must be showing in order for copyright to be in place.

        6. What does it mean to plagiarize?

        7. Why is it important that we cite all of the sources we use in our assignments?

    3. Demonstrate to students how to cite their online sources by copying and pasting the URL of their source into their project.


    Step 4 - Assessments


    To assess students’ understanding and ability to cite their online sources, students will complete a brief research project about their favorite animal. Included with this assignment is the requirement for students to copy and paste the URL for any websites they use to complete the project.

    Click HERE for the assignment.

    Click HERE for the rubric.