Lesson 2: Password Power-Up

Overview

This lesson was originally created by Common Sense Education.

Stronger, more secure online passwords are a good idea for everyone. But how can we help kids create better passwords and actually remember them? Use the tips in this lesson to help kids make passwords that are both secure and memorable.

Purpose

Common Sense Education created this lesson to teach students about how strong passwords can help protect their privacy.

Agenda

Warm Up: Pssst ... What's a Password? (10 min)

Evaluate: Uh-Oh! If ... Then ... (20 min)

Create: Power Up Your Password (10 min)

Wrap Up: Password Tips Notes (5 min)

Extended Learning

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Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • Define the term "password" and describe a password's purpose.
  • Understand why a strong password is important.
  • Practice creating a memorable and strong password.

Preparation

  • Review instructional materials.
  • Print handout(s) for each student.
  • Prepare writing paper or notebooks for students.

Links

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

For the Teachers

For the Students

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Teaching Guide

Warm Up: Pssst ... What's a Password? (10 min)

Key Vocabulary

  • password: a secret string of letters, symbols, and numbers that you can use to restrict who can access something digital
  • phrase: a group of words that go together and are easy to remember
  • symbol: a character other than a number or letter, such as #, !, or @.
  • username: a name you create to sign into a website, app, or game

Before the lesson: As an optional activity before the lesson, have students play the Password Protect game in Digital Passport™ by Common Sense Education. This will help introduce key concepts of this lesson. To see more, check out the Digital Passport Educator Guide.

Ask: What is something in your life that you take steps to protect? Why and how do you protect it? (Slide 4)

Have students think-pair-share, and then call on students to share out. Examples might include hiding a diary, using a bike lock, keeping a toy in a safe place, etc. Clarify that one of the ways people protect something is by restricting who can access it.

Ask: Let's think about when we use devices, like a phone or computer. How do you limit who can access something that you want to protect, and why would you limit access?

Examples might include password-protection, device-lock, fingerprint scanner, not letting others use the device.

Say: One of the most common ways to protect your devices and information online is by using a password. A password is a secret string of letters, symbols, and numbers that you can use to restrict who can access something digital. Some passwords, however, are stronger than others because they are harder for someone to figure out. Let's investigate why strong passwords are important and how you can make sure yours are strong. (Slide 5)

Evaluate: Uh-Oh! If ... Then ... (20 min)

Distribute If ... Then Scenarios Student Handout. Tell students that they will be doing a jigsaw activity to understand WHY passwords are important.

Divide the class into five groups and tell students this is their "home" group. Call on a student to read the handout directions aloud. (Slide 6)

Assign each group one of the scenarios from the handout. Allow groups to work for five to seven minutes.

Re-divide the class into new groups so that each group includes at least one student from each scenario (1, 2, 3, 4, and 5). If necessary, there can be more than one person from a particular "home" group in an "expert" group. Allow five to seven minutes for each "expert" to present while the rest of the group takes notes. (Slide 6)

Reconvene and ask: Based on these scenarios, why do you think it's important to have a strong password? Take turns sharing your idea with your partner. Allow one minute to pair-share.

Invite students to share out their answers. If necessary, prompt students to refer directly to the scenarios and to the consequences that would happen if someone's password was compromised. Examples could include loss of money, people knowing your private information, identity theft, and other unknown future consequences.

Create: Power Up Your Password (10 min)

Say: The consequences we just talked about might seem scary. But there is something you can do to make sure no one can ever guess your password. Here are some important steps to power up your password.

Distribute and project the Power Up Your Password Student Handout. Say: One way to make a strong password is to start with a memorable phrase. A phrase is a group of words that go together and are easy to remember. We're going to do a practice round together using the phrase "There's no way I'm kissing a frog." So we've already completed step one, which is to come up with a phrase. (Slide 7)

Invite a student to read step two. Ask: What word would our example phrase make? Invite a student to answer and add "tnwikaf" on the projected handout.

Repeat steps three through five: reading the step aloud, calling on students to answer, and completing the "Practice Round" section of the handout. Student answers will vary as students will choose to capitalize different letters and insert different numbers. If necessary, clarify that students can insert numbers anywhere in the password.

Say: Now you will follow these steps to come up with a password of your own. Work independently to complete the "Your Turn" section of the handout. Allow students five minutes to complete the handout.

Wrap Up: Password Tips Notes (5 min)

Project the Password Tips and read each one aloud. Direct students to fill in the blanks on their handout as you read them. For the last tip, clarify that a symbol is a character other than a number or letter, such as #, !, or @. (Slide 8)

Say: As you get older, having a strong password will become even more important. Passwords will help you protect your social networking profiles when you are in high school, keep your grades private when you are in college, and protect your bank accounts and online store accounts when you are an adult.

Have students complete the Lesson Quiz.

Extended Learning

Here are additional resources you can provide students to enhance their learning:

  • Family Activity 
  • Family Tips
  • Facilitate a related BeakoutEDU game that was co-created with Common Sense Education, called Lip Sync Revenge! You will need to create a free account in order to access the game and related resources.
  • Levels
  • 1
  • (click tabs to see student view)
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Student Instructions

Power Up Your Password

Password Tips to Remember

  • Start with a memorable phrase.
  • Only your parents should know your password.
  • Never use any private identity information in your password.
  • Create passwords with at least eight characters.
  • Use letters, numbers, and symbols in your password.

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.
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.