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Teacher-Created Lesson Plan

Let's Go Phishing!

In this lesson students will be introduced to the concept of Internet Scams, with a focus on Phishing, and will identify some of the red-flags they should look for in their digital encounters.
Andrew M.
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My Subjects Science

Students will be able to...

  • learn to recognize strategies that scam artists use to access private information.

  • understand what Phishing is and why it is important to guard against it.

  • identify red-flags that may indicate they are being targeted by a scam

Social Studies
Grades 6 – 8
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 HOOK: This is what happens when you reply to spam email

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While phishing and scams are a SERIOUSLY big deal online, sometimes it is good to start off by looking at the lighter side.

In this, our opening hook, we will be showing all or part of the TED Talk This is what happens when you reply to spam email by British Comedian James Veitch to open our discussion on Scams.

Once students have watched the video, start a conversation with them by asking some of the following questions which both assess prior knowledge and help to guide the lesson:

  • Have you ever received an email like this before?
  • Do you think James did the right thing by responding to the Scammer?
  • What could be some consequences of his actions?
  • What do you think James should have done in this situation?
Student Instructions

For todays lesson we are going to be looking at internet scams and ways we can identify red-flags to ensure that we don't get caught.

To get started we are going to watch a fun video talking about Internet Scams, and then will be having a discussion on your thoughts about what happened in the video.

While the video is having a bit of fun with scams, remember they are very serious and we need to make sure to take steps to avoid getting caught up in them.

2 GUIDED PRACTICE: Scams in the News

Now that students have been introduced to the concept of scams, it is time to open up a discussion on different types of scams and their purpose.

Break students into groups using Stick Pick, or your own classroom grouping tool, and provide them with a laptop or tablet. In this activity we are going to be having students work together to find news article on internet scams and then creating a Google Document outlining the types of scams they found and what the consequences were for the victim.

If you are concerned about the type of news articles they will be finding,  perhaps head over to Newsela and have at least one of the students in the group sign up for a student account.

Once the students have identified at least a few scams and consequences, come back together as a group and have a discussion around the following questions:

  • What kind of scams did you find and what were the results for the victims?
  • What were the scammers ultimately after?
  • What information did the scammers use to get what they were after? 
Student Instructions

In this activity we are going to be working as a group to find news articles and reports on Internet Scams.

In your groups, use the provided laptop/tablet to find news articles which are either reports on victims of internet scams or are discussing the topic of internet scams. After you have read the article, create a Google Doc where you will record the type of scam and what happened to the victim (i.e. what were the consequences).

3 GUIDED PRACTICE: Becoming the Phisherman

In this activity, students will be using the knowledge that they gained from the first two activities to try their hand at creating their own Phishing email.

Perform a quick Google Image search to identify an example phishing email from a major company such as Paypal. Present this image to the students on a main projector and explain that today's challenge will be to attempt to recreate this email using only their GMail Web Client. 

Once students have completed their scam email, have them send it to you and then open a discussion with the following questions:

  • What was the most difficult part about creating the scam email?
  • What type of information were you attempting to retrieve from the recipient?
  • What was the purpose of obtaining this information?
  • Having created these fake emails, what are some things you would now look for in emails you receive to see if they are legitimate?
Student Instructions

Alright class, we have been looking at things from the perspective of the victims but it is time to start looking at things a different way.

In this activity, you are going to become the scammer: seeking to obtain information for the recipient (your teacher) using some of the same techniques used by Phisherman. 

To do this, take a look at the example of a fraudulent Paypal email being presented by your teacher. Using your own skills, and knowledge gained through previous activities, attempt to create a similar phishing email that would obtain secure information from the recipient. Keep in mind some of the red-flags you have identified in other activities and try and reduce them in your email.

While you are creating your email, think about the types of information your are looking to gather and how you might need to change what is in the spam email in order to obtain that information.

4 WRAP-UP: Phishing Prezi-ntation

In this wrap-up activity, students will be working with their groups from today's lesson to create a Prezi presentation for other students about the dangers of scammers.

The goal of this activity is for students to demonstrate an understanding of the purpose of scams, some of the different types of scams and steps that can be taken by others in order to avoid them (i.e. red-flags). 

Student Instructions

It is time to share your scam knowledge with the world!

In your groups, please create a Prezi-ntation that will help prepare others for the risks of internet scams and how to avoid them.

Some topics that you want to cover in the presentation include:

  • What is an internet scam?
  • What is the purpose of an internet scam?
  • What should you look for in identifying an internet scam?