Super Digital Citizen (3-5)

How can people help others to be good digital citizens?

Students explore what it means to be responsible and respectful to their offline and online communities as a step toward learning how to be good digital citizens.

Students create digital superheroes who exhibit exemplary attributes and are able to solve digital dilemmas in a responsible way.

Students will be able to ...

  • compare and contrast their responsibilities to their offline and online communities.
  • reflect on the characteristics that make someone an upstanding citizen.
  • devise resolutions to digital dilemmas.


Materials and Preparation

Teaching Plans


Warm-up (5 minutes)

INTRODUCE students to Spider-Man’s motto “With great power comes great responsibility.” (Optional: Show students the link to Spider-Man and his motto.)

ASK: What kind of power does the Internet give us?
Guide students to recognize that the things we read, see, and hear online can lead people to have all sorts of feelings (e.g., happy, hurt, excited, angry, curious). So what we do and say online can be powerful. The Internet also allows us to learn about anything, talk to people at any time (no matter where they are in the world), and share our knowledge and creative projects with other people.

DEFINE the Key Vocabulary term digital citizen. Emphasize that a “digital citizen” is more than just an Internet user. It’s someone who chooses to act in a safe, respectful, and responsible way online.

CREATE a three-column chart with the terms “Safe,” “Responsible,” and “Respectful” written at the top of each column. Invite students to shout out words or phrases that describe how people can act safely, responsibly, and respectfully online, and then write them in the appropriate column. (Alternatively, have students write their words or phrases on sticky notes and post them on the chart.)


teach 1

Create a Digital Superhero (15 minutes)

POINT OUT that Spider-Man is a superhero who uses his great powers to help other people.

EXPLAIN to students that they are going to create digital citizen superheroes who use their great powers to help people act safely, responsibly, and respectfully online.

DISTRIBUTE the Save the Day! Student Handout to each student. (Optional: Students can also create superheroes online using Marvel’s Create Your Own Superhero.)

TELL students to complete Step 1, which prompts them to create a superhero for the digital world. Encourage them to ask themselves the following:

  • What kind of superpowers would my digital citizen superhero use to help others act safely, responsibly, respectfully online? What is special about the way my superhero acts and thinks?
  • What kind of special costume would my superhero wear to help him or her do the job?
  • What would my superhero’s name be? (for example, “Dynamic Digital Dave” or “The Upstander”).

REMIND students to note some of their superhero’s unique qualities.

INVITE students to introduce their superheroes to one another.


teach 2

Create a Save the Day! Comic Strip (15 minutes)

REMIND students how good digital citizens can harness the power of digital media to make the world a better place.

TELL students to complete Step 2 of the Save the Day! Student Handout, which prompts them to create a short, three-frame comic strip. They should illustrate a problem in the digital world, and how their digital superhero helps resolve that digital dilemma. Students can create comic strips freehand on the handout using illustrations, speech bubbles, and captions. Or, alternatively, they can use an online tool, such as Make Beliefs Comix or Comic Life (Mac, must purchase).

SHARE one or two of the following examples, if students need guidance creating a scenario:

  • Someone spreads rumors about somebody else online.
  • Someone cheats on an assignment for school by copying information from a website and saying they wrote it.
  • Someone uses someone else’s password to pretend to be that person online.
  • Someone says mean things online.
  • Someone forwards a message containing private information to someone else.

DISPLAY your students’ comics around the classroom, like in an art gallery. Then have students take a “gallery walk,” whether as a class or in small groups. Allow each student the opportunity to describe his or her comic to others.



Wrap-up (5 minutes)

You can use these questions to assess your students’ understanding of the lesson objectives. You may want to ask students to reflect in writing on one of the questions, using a journal or an online blog/wiki.

ASK: What does it mean to be a digital citizen?
Acting safely, responsibly, and respectfully online.

ASK: What kinds of superpowers or qualities did your digital superheroes have in common?
Answers will vary, depending on the superheroes your students created. Help to point out the similarities between students’ stories. Did some of the superheroes stand up for people who were bullied or teased? Did some help guard people’s online privacy? Did some save people from making mistakes that would have jeopardized their online safety or security?

ASK: What does Spider-Man’s motto “With great power comes great responsibility" mean to you, as someone who uses the Internet?
Encourage students to reflect on the possibilities and perils associated with using the Internet, as well as the importance of acting mindfully online so that they and others will have positive experiences.


Have students design “super digital citizen” screensavers or wallpaper for the computers or tablets at your school. Their screensavers or wallpaper should describe being a good digital citizen, using words and phrases from the warm-up discussion. Students can prioritize and emphasize certain words by creating a word cloud online using a site such as ABCYa!. Have students save the word cloud as a JPG (.jpg) or a screen shot grab, and then upload the image as a screensaver or wallpaper.


Have students transform their comic strips into a story with a beginning, middle, and end. Encourage them to add dramatic details and flesh out their characters a bit more. Students can use an online story map or a plot diagram (for example) to help craft their story before writing it.


Alignment with Standards

Common Core & NETS•S
Common Core State Standards Initiative ©2012 & National Educational Technology Standards for Students ©2007, International Society for Technology in Education

Common Core:

  • grade 3: RI.1, RI.4, RI.10, RF.4a, W.3a, W.3b, W.4, W.10, SL.1a, SL.1b, SL.1c, SL.1d, SL.4, SL.6, L.3a, L.6
  • grade 4: RI.1, RI.4, RI.10, RF.4a, W.3a, W.3b, W.4, W.10, SL.1a, Sl.1b, SL.1c, SL.1d, SL.4, SL.6, L.3a, L.6
  • grade 5: RI.1, RI.4, RI.10, RF.4a, W.3a, W.3b, W.4, W.10, SL.1a, SL.1b, SL.1c, SL.1d, SL.4, SL.6, L.3a, L.6

NETS•S: 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 2d, 3b-d, 4b, 4c, 5a-d, 6a, 6b, 6d