Introducing Academic Integrity
Berlin Community School

This lesson helps students understand what academic integrity is and why it is important. Students work together to develop a definition and then they create examples of academic integrity in action resulting in a wall display.

  • Students will be able to define academic integrity and develop a rationale for its importance.
  • Students will be able to develop examples of academic integrity in action
  • Academic Integrity Quotes handout
  • SmartBoard slides or paper copies
  • Integrity Neutralizers handout and Dinner Dilemma handout (from Creating a Culture of Academic Integrity: A Toolkit for Secondary Schools by Wangaard and Stephens
  • Construction paper and markers
Guiding Question: Why is academic integrity important?

  1. Do Now/Warm Up: Read the quotations on the Academic Integrity handout. Can you think of a real-life example for one of these quotations?
  2. Discuss what each of the quotations mean and how they might be important in our daily lives. Then, share student examples of real-life situations relating to the quotes.
  3. Teacher offers a definition of academic (relating to school or schoolwork) and integrity (living by a set of principles or moral standards).
  4. As a class, discuss why it is wrong to steal. Is this the same as stealing someone's work? (Offer example of a photographer selling his pictures online. Is it stealing to copy them for a school project?)
  5. Working in small groups, students develop a definition of academic integrity.
  6. Once definition is completed, ask student groups to explore how we might behave if we have academic integrity. What kind of actions would we take?
  7. Groups share results with class and discuss, modifying definitions as necessary.
  8. Students create wall displays for their definitions using construction paper and markers.
  9. After discussing examples as a class, students work individually to create petals for flowering academic integrity (examples of academic integrity in action, e.g. I won't copy my friend's homework even though I am running late, or I will properly cite my sources for anything I quote in my projects.) Students initial their petals.
  10. These petals are put together to form flowers that blossom on the stems of honesty and integrity. (Make flower stems that are labeled integrity and honesty for various finished flowers.) Each flower becomes part of a wall display. A possible heading would be "Because we're honest, our academic integrity blooms!"
  11. Once petals have been created, class will discuss possible integrity neutralizers (excuses we use instead of maintaining our academic integrity). Use the Integrity Neutralizers chart to guide discussion.
  12. Working in small groups, students will develop neutralizers or "comebacks" to counter these excuses.
  13. Share results with class and discuss possible action plans for various scenarios.
  14. Exit Questions: What is a comeback you could use when someone asks to share your homework? What is a comeback you could use when you feel pressure to copy work?
  15. Homework: send home the Dinner Dilemma handout for students to discuss with their families. (A teacher's test questions have been posted on Facebook. Do you use them?)

Teacher and Student Handouts
Academic Integrity Lesson Notebook pages.pdf
Assessments include class discussions, written definitions of academic integrity, and written student examples of academic integrity for wall display.