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Stone Hill Elementary School Library: Keep Out!

Essential Question

How can I protect my information and online accounts with a strong password?

Lesson 1 - Tips

  • Introduction: Remind that we discussed "Rings of Responsibility" last week, and that keeping your information private is a way to be responsible to yourself. One way people sometimes give away info is by including it in their passwords (date of birth, pet name, etc.). Tell them that today, we'll learn some tips for creating strong passwords that are not too hard to remember.
  • Discussion: This lesson is based on the Common Sense Media "Strong Passwords" lesson materials, which has been updated to "Password Power-Up." "Ask the students to list examples of non-electronic security devices that people use to protect their possessions from being stolen or used by others (ex. locks). Then ask for examples of when you use passwords for electronic devices (ex. logging on to a computer). Finally, ask for examples of what could happen if someone got hold of your passwords."

    You can use these scenarios to spur discussion if your students just stare at you. However, I have found that they LOVE to share anecdotes about terrible things that happened to their / their friends' / their parents' accounts. Some may be fabricated, but they serve to illustrate the point.

    Go over the following tips: 
    • Don't share your passwords with anyone but your grownups.
    • Don't use easy-to-guess words, like your nickname or favorite number.
    • Don't include any info like where you live or your birthday in the password.
    • Don't use dictionary words.
    • Use at least 8 characters, with a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. 

One way to pick a hard password is to come up with a phrase and then use the first letter of each word in that phrase. For example: My family likes to hike in the fall: mfl2hitF

  • Activity/assessment: Hand out the assignment below, which asks students to come up with a famous person or character and create a weak password for them and then a strong one. Do several together on the whiteboard.

    Example: Rumpelstiltskin - weak = strawgold; strong = CYGMN?sqiu333 ["can you guess my name?," the word "spin" with the p flipped into a q and the n turned upside-down into a u, the number of times he spun the wheel each time he showed up). Remind them not to use an example that you already discussed as their assignment.

    • 4 = super creative PWs related to the details shared about the chosen person
    • 3 = strong PW has at least 8 characters with a combination of letters, numbers, and/or symbols
    • 2 = not enough differentiation between week/strong and/or strong PW does not meet the stated requirements
    • 1 = student does not demonstrate any understanding of how to construct a strong PW


Lesson 2 - Evaluation

  • Review: Ask the kids to share tips for creating strong passwords.
  • Discussion: Go over examples of weak and strong passwords created by students in another class ... which are which? Then ask the kids to make changes to the weak passwords so they end up strong. This can be done on the board or on paper.
  • Assessment: Track participation. 

Use Common Sense!

Standards Addressed

AASL I.B.3 - Generate products that illustrate learning; III.A.2 - Develop new understandings through engagement in a learning group; III.D.1 - Actively contribute to group discussions; V.B.1 - Problem solving through cycles of design, implementation, and reflection.

Rhode Island Core: SL4.1 - Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions.

Rhode Island Cross-Curricular Proficiencies: Communication - Communicate understanding and interpretation of information; Practice responsible digital citizenship as a community member; Problem Solving and Critical Thinking - Generate options and provide reasoning for a plan or approach to solve a problem.

Rhode Island School Library Curriculum Priority Skills3.2Actively contributes to group discussions; 3.3 - Demonstrates basic cybersafety.