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OLD 2c. Digital Citizen | Math | Grades 9-12

This activity requires students to compare equations to algorithms in the context of copyright and patent law. To begin, teachers have students review the definitions and examples of algorithms and equations. Next, teachers have students look for famous examples of algorithms and equations, and they can share those examples on a collaborative board. Teachers can then facilitate a class discussion about the examples by asking:

  • What makes an algorithm and equation famous?
  • When do you, as a consumer, use these algorithms and equations?
  • If you were going to try to write the next famous algorithm or equation, what might you write it about?

In response, students can post their thoughts to the prompts on the collaborative board or express them verbally in the class. At this point, students can review information about copyright and post the following prompts to a collaborative board:

  • Is it possible to copyright an algorithm? Please explain your response.
  • Is it possible to copyright an equation? Please explain your response.

When finished, teachers can have students share their by posting them to the collaborative board and then discussing them.

EdTech Resources for Copyright Law

When learning about copyright law, teachers can direct students this website’s FAQ and video collection.

EdTech Resources for Reviewing Information about Algorithms and Equations

Students can visit Khan Academy videos on algorithms and equations to review them

As students explore algorithms and equations, they can use this glossary to review key terms.

EdTech Resource for Collaborative Boards

Teachers can add the prompts to this discussion board’s introduction and have students post responses to them. When ready, teachers can use the responses to facilitate a classroom conversation.

Teachers can create a board and then post the prompts as “sticky notes” on the board. Students can then respond to the prompts by adding their own thoughts using the sticky notes.

Student Objective


  1. Step 1
  2. Step 2
  3. Step 3
  4. Step 4


This instructional idea has students review the definitions algorithms and equations along with when they use them. They then apply copyright law to determine their rights and obligations for sharing algorithms and equations as long as when they can use them.

EdTech used in this activity:

Alternative Ed Tech you could use:

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