Lesson 1: Your Digital Footprint


In collaboration with Common Sense Education, this lesson helps students learn about the similarities of staying safe in the real world and when visiting websites. Students will also learn that the information they put online leaves a digital footprint or “trail.” This trail can be big or small, helpful or hurtful, depending on how they manage it.


Common Sense Education has created this lesson to teach kids the importance of understanding the permanence of something posted on the internet. By relating footprints on a map to what a student might post online, students will make important connections between being tracked by a physical footprint on a path and being tracked based on information posted online.


Warm Up (20 min)

Main Activity (20 min)

Wrap Up (15 min)

Assessment (5 min)

Extended Learning

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Students will be able to:

  • Understand that being safe when they visit websites is similar to staying safe in real life.
  • Learn to recognize websites that are safe for them to visit.
  • Recognize if they should ask an adult they trust before they visit a particular website.
  • Explore what information is appropriate to be put online.


  • Print at least one copy of Your Digital Footprint - Digital Trail Squares and Your Digital Footprint - Worksheet per group of three or four.
  • Print one copy of Your Digital Footprint - Assessment per student.
  • Prepare to show Your Digital Footprint - Lesson Video to students.


Heads Up! Please make a copy of any documents you plan to share with students.

For the Teachers

For the Students


  • Digital Footprint - The collected information about an individual across multiple websites on the Internet.


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Teaching Guide

Warm Up (20 min)


Say: This lesson has one new and important phrase:

  • Digital Footprint - Say it with me: Dih-jih-tal Foot-print

"The information about someone on the internet."

Prompt: Engage students on the topic of internet safety. What does it mean to be safe? When you walk down the street or play in your neighborhood without a trusted adult there, how do you stay safe?

Say: Tell students that just as they should stay safe in the real world, they should stay safe when they go into the online world (visiting websites). Make parallels between the answers students gave you about their neighborhood and the online world.

Display: Play the Your Digital Footprint - Lesson Video.

Lesson Tip

If you have access to a computer, feel free to navigate to sites that might showcase each of these types (using extreme caution with your RED selection).

Discuss: Introduce the idea that there are three different kinds of websites that students may have the opportunity to visit.

  • Green: A “green” website...
    • ...is good for kids your age to visit.
    • ...fun, with things for you to do and see.
    • ...has appropriate words.
    • ...doesn’t let you talk to people you don’t know.
  • Yellow: A “yellow” website...
    • ...is a site you are not sure is right for you.
    • ...asks for information such as who you are, where you live, your phone number, email address, etc.
    • ...a site where you are allowed to communicate freely with others
  • Red: A “red” website...
    • ...is not right for kids your age to visit.
    • ...is a place you might have gone to by accident.
    • ...is filled with things that are for older kids or adults.

Where appropriate, discuss examples of each kind of website.

Transition: Tell students that they will now learn what they can do to keep themselves safe.

Main Activity (20 min)

For more in-depth modules, you can find additions to this curriculum at the Common Sense Media webpage on Scope and Sequence.

Follow the Digital Trail

Lesson Tip

If your students have trouble writing, feel free to do this activity as a group and have students raise their hand when they find clues. This will allow you (or a teacher aide) to help communicate and record the information being shared.

Display: Place the Your Digital Footprint - Digital Trail Squares on the ground, face down, in two different trails, keeping Mizzle the Mouse and Electra the Elephant’s trails separate from one another.

Say: Share the stories of Mizzle and Electra.

  • These animals decided it would be fun to put some information about themselves online.
  • They went onto www.wildkingdom.com and posted information.
  • The only problem is that they forgot to ask their parents if it was okay first!
  • You are from the “Things Big and Small” Detective Agency. A hunter has hired you to find out as much as possible about Mizzle the Mouse and Electra the Elephant. The more you learn, the better the agency's plan to take over the animal kingdom!

Group: Divide students into groups of three or four four. Tell them that each group should have a detective that will keep detailed notes.

Distribute: Pass out one copy of Your Digital Footprint - Worksheet to each group. Optionally, each student can have their own worksheet to take their own notes.

Activity: Invite students to go on a hunt for information. Let them know that the information that Mizzle and Electra post can be seen by anyone, including the detectives. Each group should follow the digital trail of both animals, starting with the mouse and then the elephant. Stagger the groups so they are on the trail at slightly different times. Students should fill out their worksheet as they go.

Wrap Up (15 min)


Lesson Tip

These questions are intended to spark big-picture thinking about how the lesson relates to the greater world and the students' greater future. Use your knowledge of your classroom to decide if you want to discuss these as a class, in groups, or with an elbow-partner.

Discuss: Ask students to reflect on what they have learned through the following prompts:

  • Who can the detectives find out more about, and why?
  • Which animal has a bigger digital footprint?
  • Mizzle says some interesting things about himself on the Internet. What are they?
  • Is there anything that Electra posted on the Internet that could become a problem for her? If so, what and why?

Take the time to discuss what is safe information to share on the Internet, and what is not:

Interests Address
Hobbies Full Name
First Name Information that would hurt others

Journal: In their Think Spot Journals, ask students to write and draw with the following questions in mind:

  • What was today’s lesson about?
  • Draw one of the Feeling Faces - Emotion Images that shows how you felt about today's lesson in the corner of your journal page.
  • Draw some things that you should never talk to a stranger about on the internet. For example, draw your house to represent your address, draw your school, or draw your family.

Assessment (5 min)

Distribute: Hand out one Your Digital Footprint - Assessment to each student and allow them to complete it independently after the instructions have been well explained. This should feel familiar, thanks to the previous activities.

Extended Learning

Use these activities to enhance student learning. They can be used as outside of class activities or other enrichment.

Common Sense Education

  • Levels
  • 1
  • (click tabs to see student view)
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Student Instructions

Standards Alignment

View full course alignment

CSTA K-12 Computer Science Standards (2017)

IC - Impacts of Computing
  • 1A-IC-17 - Work respectfully and responsibly with others online.
  • 1A-IC-18 - Keep login information private, and log off of devices appropriately.
  • 1B-IC-18 - Discuss computing technologies that have changed the world and express how those technologies influence, and are influenced by, cultural practices.
NI - Networks & the Internet
  • 1A-NI-04 - Explain what passwords are and why we use them, and use strong passwords to protect devices and information from unauthorized access.

Cross-curricular Opportunities

This list represents opportunities in this lesson to support standards in other content areas.

Common Core English Language Arts Standards

L - Language
  • 1.L.6 - Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts, including using frequently occurring conjunctions to signal simple relationships (e.g., because).
SL - Speaking & Listening
  • 1.SL.1 - Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 1 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
  • 1.SL.1.b - Build on others’ talk in conversations by responding to the comments of others through multiple exchanges.
  • 1.SL.2 - Ask and answer questions about key details in a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.

Common Core Math Standards

MD - Measurement And Data
  • 1.MD.4 - Organize, represent, and interpret data with up to three categories; ask and answer questions about the total number of data points, how many in each category, and how many more or less are in one category than in another.
MP - Math Practices
  • MP.1 - Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them

Next Generation Science Standards

ETS - Engineering in the Sciences
ETS1 - Engineering Design
  • K-2-ETS1-1 - Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to change to define a simple problem that can be solved through the development of a new or improved object or tool.