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  • Subject: Technology
  • |
  • Grade(s): 9-12
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  • Duration: Two class periods

Lesson Plan Sections


Students will understand the following:
1. While one of the many advantages of the Internet is to make music and art more readily available to the public, the Internet also creates ethical and aesthetic issues for the creative artist.
2. Both displaying and viewing a work of art are dynamic processes that affect the viewer, the artist, and possibly even the work itself.


For this lesson, you will need:
Art supplies
Musical instrument
Computer with Internet access and e-mail account
Scanning or recording equipment
Web site


1. Tell students that they are going to create original works of art, such as pictures, songs, or poems. Then they will upload their works to a Web site, e-mail as many people as possible to view it, and then compare the experience with that of simply posting the work in the classroom or performing it for a small group.
2. Allow time for individual students, partners, or small groups to create their works of art. Musical works should be recorded.
3. Have students post their works on a Web site and e-mail friends and relatives to view them, asking viewers to offer comments and criticisms about the works and inviting them to suggest both interpretations and changes.
4. Allow several days for the works to be viewed, critiqued, and modified, while students monitor the reactions of viewers to their works.
5. Invite each student or group to talk about the different ways in which the works were interpreted, criticized, or altered.
6. Hold a class discussion in which students discuss their feelings about having their works viewed by so many people, ignored, criticized, or even modified. Have students compare the experience with that of creating a work of art that will be viewed by only a few people. Discuss how contemporary artists who do not wish to have their works altered can protect them. What about artists who feel the public should pay to view or purchase their works?

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Rather than posting original works on a Web site, have students share them with the class and other classes in the school, inviting criticisms, comments, and suggestions for modification.

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Discussion Questions

1. Imagine you have labored to create an original work of art. Explain how you would feel about placing such a work on the Internet where it could be modified, viewed by millions, ignored and critiqued. Discuss how contemporary artists, who do not wish to have their works altered, can protect their works.
2. Debate whether or not the United States government or other decision-making body should exercise censorship of the Internet. What are the benefits and problems of censoring communication? Explain how you would justify censoring or not censoring a particular website to your local school board. Discuss appropriate and inappropriate uses for the Internet.
3. List the adjectives that come to mind when you hear the word cyberspace. Discuss what cyberspace meant 20 years ago, what it means today, and what you think it will mean 20 years from now.
4. How has the language we use changed to include descriptors for the events occurring in cyberspace? What are some common terms and phrases used by people to describe cyberspace? How have words like e-mail, online, and home page affected our perception of our world?
5. In your own words, explain the mechanism of the Internet and describe a use for cyberspace, either fictional or already in existence, which serves to benefit humankind. For example, will the Internet eventually encourage more cooperation between feuding nations by providing an open forum between individual citizens and governments? Is there a connection between Cyberspace access and prosperity?
6. Describe the profile of a typical hacker. What consequences are in place for those who commit crimes in cyberspace? How can people protect themselves from hackers? If you were in charge of rehabilitating a group of incarcerated hackers, what behaviors/values would you try to convey to them?
7. Years ago, Andrew Carnegie established a foundation for the construction and advancement of libraries all across America in an effort to bring literacy to the masses. Now, in a similar fashion, Bill Gates is contributing millions of dollars in order to provide libraries in lower income areas with the equipment they need to get connected to the web. Discuss what you think of this plan. Is it a good idea or could another method be implemented? Does Mr. Gates have a hidden agenda or is he simply being altruistic?

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You can evaluate groups on their activities using the following three-point rubric:
  • Three points: careful monitoring of reactions to the work, meaningful contributions to the discussion
  • Two points: adequate monitoring of reactions to the work, some contribution to the discussion
  • One point: inadequate monitoring of reactions to the work, very little contribution to the discussion
You can ask your students to contribute to the assessment rubric by determining criteria for meaningful contribution to a discussion.

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Virtual Pancakes
Share with students the true story of Joseph Paul Jernigen, a convicted murderer who willed his body to science to be frozen, sliced, and photographed in order to compile a complete anatomical library of a male human being. Tell students that the images are available to hospitals and academic research institutes via the Internet. Then discuss with the class what scientists can learn from studying images from The Visible Human Project? (They can perform anatomy experiments without actually cutting into a cadaver; The Visible Human can be reassembled, experiments can be repeated and new surgical techniques can be tested without risking lives; scientists can run computer simulations tostudy a disease; The Visible Human, unlike a cadaver, can be reassembled.) Students can discover the complexity of preparing and assembling the virtual human by performing this activity. Prepare a mixture of pancake batter layered with nuts, raisins, cherries and M&Ms in a large shallow cake pan. Slowly add drizzles of red and green food coloring without completely mixing them. Freeze the mixture overnight and cut the frozen batter into thin lateral slices with a saw. Quickly photograph each slice in order before it melts. Store the images in a flip-book, or scan them into a computer to be stored digitally. Show the images to others, and have them attempt to identify the objects pictured. Shuffle the images and attempt to reconstruct the order.

Virtual Summit
Have students investigate the complexity of international trade relations by researching and representing a country in a mock trade summit, via the Internet, with other classes or schools representing various countries, such as Canada, Mexico, Russia, China, and Japan. Have students select a country to represent. Coordinate with other teachers to select an individual from each class to act as a liaison to the conference. Develop a protocol for e-mail discussions, and select a group of individuals to enforce this protocol. Based on the latest information on the Internet, formulate statements and arguments from your country's point of view. Close the talks by holding a reception in which a mock treaty or trade agreement is signed.

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Suggested Readings

"Talking Headers: E-mail at the Beginning"
Katie Hafner & Matthew Lyon, The Washington Post Magazine, August 4, 1996
With the assertion that "E-mail was to ARPANET what the Louisiana Purchase was to the young United States," this article explains who the e-mail pioneers were and how they transformed the Internet.

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The Cornell Theory Center's science book Explorations
This site from the Cornell Theory Center offers students in advanced science programs an opportunity to explore a variety of projects that combine cutting edge computer programs and research.

What will be the future of cyberspace, the web and society? Compare and contrast how individuals regard cyberspace and how the author of this site sees the future.

Welcome to CyberCity...
Younger students should check out "Cybercity," a clever links setup that is structured around the idea of a city.

Welcome to Our BEV-Seniors Information Page

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Click on any of the vocabulary words below to hear them pronounced and used in a sentence.

speaker    cyberspace
Definition: The online world of computer networks.
Context: Science fiction writer William Gibson used the word cyberspace for the intense place where we're dodging demons in video games, or exchanging masses of information electronically.

speaker    palette
Definition: A comparable range, quality, or use of available elements especially in another art (as music).
Context: It's a virtual palette of creativity, where musicians and audiences are redefining art.

speaker    counterculture
Definition: A group with values and mores that run counter to those of established society.
Context: Counterculture figure Stewart Brand was one of the first to discover that his generation was also programming the universities' computers.

speaker    video feed
Definition: Video input which is transmitted to a designated location.
Context: Essentially, what we're doing here is picking up a live video feed from our cameras here.

speaker    download
Definition: To transfer (data) from a usually large computer to the memory of another device (such as a smaller computer).
Context: Fans can download concerts for free.

speaker    logged-on
Definition: Established communication and initiated interaction with a time-shared computer or network.
Context: His computer is one of over 250 logged-on to the show.

speaker    home page
Definition: A designated file or set of linked files accessible by browsers on the Internet, labeled with a unique URL (Uniform Resource Locator), and stored on a computer known as a server.
Context: She has constructed her own home page on the Internet.

speaker    hackers
Definition: People who illegally gain access to and sometimes tamper with information in a computer system (typically, via the Internet).
Context: Cyberspace has its cowboys too, the hackers.

speaker    encryption
Definition: A set of codes designed to protect a system of computer files.
Context: Encryption, sophisticated codes based on hardware and software, help keep electronic communications secure, but they are still cumbersome to use.

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This lesson plan may be used to address the academic standards listed below. These standards are drawn from Content Knowledge: A Compendium of Standards and Benchmarks for K-12 Education: 2nd Edition and have been provided courtesy of theMid-continent Research for Education and Learningin Aurora, Colorado.
Grade level: 9-12
Subject area: technology
Understands the nature of scientific knowledge.
Knows that from time to time, major shifts occur in the scientific view of how the world works, but usually the changes that take place in the body of scientific knowledge are small modifications of prior knowledge; change and continuity are persistent features of science.

Grade level: 9-12
Subject area: technology
Understands the nature of scientific inquiry.
Formulates a testable hypothesis.

Grade level: 9-12
Subject area: technology
Understands the nature of scientific inquiry.
Knows that results of scientific inquiry--new knowledge and methods--emerge from different types of investigations and public communication among scientists; the nature of communicating and defending the results of scientific inquiry is guided by criteria of being logical and empirical and by connections between natural phenomena, investigations and the historical body of scientific knowledge.

Grade level: 9-12
Subject area: technology
Understands the scientific enterprise.
Knows that Western as well as non-Western cultures (e.g., Egyptian, Chinese, Hindu, Arabic) have developed scientific ideas and solved human problems through technology.

Grade level: 9-12
Subject area: technology
Understands the interactions of science, technology and society.
Knows that science often advances with the introduction of new technologies and solving technological problems often results in new scientific knowledge; new technologies often extend the current levels of scientific understanding and introduce new arenas of research.

Grade level: 9-12
Subject area: language arts
Demonstrates an understanding of the nature and function of the English language.
Carries out investigations of unanswered questions regarding language.

Grade level: 9-12
Subject area: the arts
Understands the relationship between music and history and culture.
Knows various roles that musicians perform (e.g., entertainer, teacher, transmitter of cultural tradition) and representative individuals who have functioned in these roles.

Grade level: 9-12
Subject area: math
Understands the general nature and uses of mathematics.
Understands that mathematics often stimulates innovations in science and technology.

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Chuck Crabtree, a former math and science teacher and current web developer in Alexandria, Virginia.

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