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HomeClassroom ResourcesLesson Plans

Lesson Plan

Copyright Infringement or Not? The Debate over Downloading Music

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Copyright Infringement or Not? The Debate over Downloading Music

Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Unit
Estimated Time Ten 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Suzanne Taylor

Frostburg, Maryland

Publisher

National Council of Teachers of English

 

Student Objectives

Session One

Session Two

Session Three

Session Four

Session Five

Session Six

Session Seven

Session Eight

Sessions Nine and Ten

Extensions

Student Assessment/Reflections

 

STUDENT OBJECTIVES

Students will

  • evaluate Websites and online information.

  • extract main ideas and supporting details from online resources.

  • analyze arguments for and against a position, paying particular attention to the role of point of view.

  • take a stance on a controversial issue, based on their research.

  • defend their positions in classroom debate, providing supporting facts and details for their arguments.

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Session One

  1. Ask students to respond to the following questions in their journals:

    • What do you know about downloading music on the Internet?

    • Have you ever downloaded music? What Web resources have you used?

    • What do fans, artists, and companies think about this practice?

    • Do you feel it is okay to download music? Why or why not?

    • Why would some people call it piracy?
  2. After about 15–20 minutes, ask students to discuss their responses with the rest of the class.

  3. Through the discussion, identify some class experts, students who frequently use downloading technology.

  4. Invite the class experts to share what they know about the ways that the technology works and how they use it.

  5. Ask students to record their questions about the legalities of downloading in their journals.

  6. Explain that during the following sessions, the class will complete Internet research on these questions and related issues.

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Session Two

  1. Ask students to use the Debating Music Downloads Travelogue to explore four Websites on the subject of downloading music.

  2. Encourage students to take notes in the Travelogue as they examine the sites.

  3. If students need additional practice evaluating Web resources, conduct a mini-lesson using the resources from the Inquiry on the Internet: Evaluating Web Pages for a Class Collection lesson plan.

  4. At the end of the session, ask students to share some of the information they have discovered.

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Session Three

  1. Arrange students in small groups or partners for the next stage of research in the computer lab.

  2. Ask students to complete Analyzing Opinions on Music Downloads chart with partners or group members in order to explore information on music downloads further.

  3. At the end of the session, ask students to share some of the information they discovered.

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Session Four

  1. Ask students to respond to the following questions in their journals:

    • What makes a source reliable?

    • What biases did you encounter during your research?

    • How did the audience and purpose for the site relate to the information included?
  2. Allow students to share their journal entries, if desired.

  3. Based on the information they've gathered, ask groups of students to compile their information, using the online or print point of view chart.

  4. Remind students to print the charts, and bring the notes to the next session.

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Session Five

  1. Ask students to compile their research, notes, and printouts to prepare for further examination of the related issues.

  2. As a full class, in small groups, or in their journals, ask students to share their opinions on the controversy surrounding music downloads, using the following questions to guide discussion:

    • Do they agree with record companies, artists, or fans?

    • What are the arguments for downloading?

    • What are the arguments against downloading?

  3. Explain the final project to students: Students will join teams of 3 or 4 students. Working together, teams decide whether to take a pro or con stance with regard to music downloading. Using the Persuasion Map, teams will outline their main arguments and supporting facts and details.

  4. Present information on debate roles and rules. Point to the information on the site on organizing arguments for debate and planning strategies.

  5. Pass out and discuss the Debate Rubric, so they know what they are aiming towards with their debate.

  6. Allow the rest of the session for students to choose a project and stance, join groups, make plans, and gather ideas.

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Session Six

  1. Remind students of the assignment, and answer any questions.

  2. Demonstrate the Persuasion Map for the class, and answer any questions students have about the final project options.

  3. Allow students the remainder of the session to complete the Persuasion Map and work on their debates.

  4. Circulate through the room, and assist them as they work on the pros and cons of downloading music.

  5. Encourage students to refer all of their collected information as they make points and structure their arguments.

  6. Remind students to print out their Persuasion Map by the end of the session.

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Session Seven

  1. Remind students of the project criteria, pointing to the Debate Rubric.

  2. Answer any questions students have about the project and the criteria.

  3. Discuss the importance of structuring debates with the information from Taking Sides Debates or Lincoln/Douglas and Team Debate Format.

  4. Allow students the reminder of the session to structure and prepare their debates using index cards (where they can record notes and key points).

  5. Provide assistance and feedback as necessary. Encourage students to share questions with peers for feedback and support as well.

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Session Eight

  1. Remind students of the project criteria, and answer any questions students have about the project and the criteria.

  2. Allow students to work on their arguments and notes for the majority of the session.

  3. With approximately 30 minutes remaining in the session, gather the class and assign groups to debate each other.

  4. Present the debate guidelines, and encourage students to use the list to assess and clarify their positions.

  5. Answer any questions and assign groups to different areas of the classroom where they can practice their debates.

  6. Provide assistance and feedback as necessary.

  7. Remind students to come to the next session ready to present their arguments.

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Sessions Nine and Ten

  1. Remind students of the criteria for their presentations, and allow a few minutes at the beginning of the session for students to make last minute preparation.

  2. Structure student debates so that students turn-taking flows smoothly.

  3. As students present their positions, assess their work using the Debate Rubric.

  4. When the debates are completed, invite classmates to provide others with verbal feedback.

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EXTENSIONS

  • Instead of debating their positions, have students write persuasive papers summing up their positions on downloading music. The paper should include their main arguments for or against and to support their arguments with facts or details. Students will use the Persuasion Map, outline their main arguments and supporting facts and details. Pass out the example position statement and go over the persuasive writing scoring guide so they understand the criteria for the project.

  • Once students have completed the lesson and their debates, the class can periodically revisit this topic and any updates or changes in the legal status of music downloads.

  • Students can give multimedia presentations on downloading, including some of the programs they use and the music they download.
  • The EconEdLink lesson plan Online Mayhem I: Metallica Versus Napster presents additional information on copyright infringement and music downloads. The information provides a useful supplement to the debate process.

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STUDENT ASSESSMENT/REFLECTIONS

This lesson lends itself to a great deal of teacher observation during each session. Take notes on students’ progress, comments, and work habits throughout the research and composing process. If desired, respond informally to the ideas that students gather in their journals. Use the Debate Rubric to assess the final presentation formally.

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