Online Privacy Lesson Plan: Spam Subject Line Recognition

Submitted by: Kate Dowdie

Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8

In this online privacy lesson plan, which is adaptable for grades 3-8, students use BrainPOP resources to gain a greater understanding of the importance of safety online. Students play a game to learn about recognizing spam, and collaborate to determine the differences perceived in subject lines of e-mail messages.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Play a game to learn about recognizing spam
  2. Collaborate to determine the differences perceived in subject lines of e-mail messages
  3. Gain a greater understanding of the importance of online privacy


  • Interactive whiteboard
  • 3 x 5 index cards, prepared in advance as outlined below
  • Class set of the Activity
  • Computer with internet access for BrainPOP


spam, e-mail, internet, information, safety, privacy


Make up examples of e-mail message subject lines, both regular and spam. Put one example on each 3 x 5 card. Make one set of these cards for each team of three or four students in your class.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Show the Information Privacy movie to the class.
  2. Summarize as a class what to do when you receive a spam message, as well as why your personal privacy is so important - especially on the internet!
  3. Show the Information Privacy Q&A and talk about it together.
  4. Split the students up into teams of three or four. Provide each team with a set of the 3 x 5 cards. Have each team identify which subject lines indicate spam e-mail and which ones do not.
  5. Project the Graphic Organizer. Talk about the possible outcomes for each example and record student responses by typing directly into the form.
  6. Have the teams report back to the class and then discuss as a larger group how the subject line of an e-mail message can be an excellent indicator of whether or not the message is spam or not.
  7. For assessment, have students complete the Activity independently or as a group.

Extension Activity:

You might also want to use other resources from out Computers and Internet Unit, including Digital Etiquette and Online Safety.