Module 1 -> Lesson 1

Rich discussions and active listening

Essential Question

What applications are powered by facial recognition technology?

Anchor Text(s) for this Lesson

Supporting Text(s)/ Resources for this Lesson

Lesson Overview

In this lesson, students will discuss the question "Who owns your face?". Then, key vocabulary terms are presented (see below) and students are asked to take note of those terms in their notebooks. They then actively watch and listen to a video called Is Facial Recognition Invading Your Privacy? Students work in pairs or small groups to generate a list of pros and cons for facial recognition technology, which are presented in a whole class share.

Nota Bene

You know your students best! Some (or many) may need guided notes or additional time to take note of vocabulary. Adjust all lessons to suit your students' needs and the routines you have established in your classroom.

Intentionally use the highlighted vocabulary as you facilitate whole class discussions and continuously nudge students to do the same. The more they hear, read, and use the terms in speaking and writing, the more likely they are to learn them.


Students will be able to...

  • Actively participate in conversation with their peers.

    • State their opinion on a particular topic.

    • Actively listen to other's opinions.

    • Ask clarifying questions to better understand another's position.

  • Use precise vocabulary to discuss facial recognition technology.

  • Take note of important information presented during the lesson.

Suggested duration

45 minutes (adjust according to your students' needs)

NYS Next Generation ELA Standards

  • W1c: Use precise language and content-specific vocabulary to express the appropriate complexity of the topic.

  • WHST1: Write arguments based on discipline-specific content.

  • SL1: Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on complex topics, texts, and issues; express ideas clearly and persuasively, and build on those of others.

NYS Computer Science & Digital Fluency Standards

  • 9-12.IC.3 Debate issues of ethics related to real world computing technologies.

  • 9-12.IC.1 Evaluate the impact of computing technologies on equity, access, and influence in a global society.


  • electronic surveillance: the act of using electronic devices to watch people or things

  • surveillance footage: recordings of people, actions, and events captured by surveillance cameras

  • ubiquitous: seeming to be seen everywhere

  • facial recognition a way of identifying or confirming an individual's identity using their face--does NOT always work

  • scan: to use a special machine to read or copy (something, such as a photograph or a page of text) into a computer. Facial recognition technology scans people's faces.

  • database: an organized collection of data (pieces of information) held in a computer, especially one that is accessible in many ways.


This is an extended segment in which you will present students with the following prompts, one at a time. Give students five minutes to discuss each prompt in groups of four then bring the class back together for whole class discussion. Repeat this sequence with the second prompt.

Prompt one: Who owns your face? How do you know? Explain your reasoning.

Prompt two: Do you have the right to walk down the street without the government scanning your face? Why or why not? Explain your reasoning.

Mini Lesson

Present a slide to students with the above-listed vocabulary and have them take note of these terms and their definitions in their notebooks. Consider making guided notes available for students who need added support with note-taking. Let students know that they will be using these terms to discuss the video you are about to watch and when they are discussing the pros and cons of facial recognition technology.

Provide students with a purpose for viewing the video: How is facial recognition technology being used around the world? Let students know that they will be discussing the uses of this technology with their peers and determining which applications they think are positive and which they think are potentially dangerous or concerning.

After screening the video, ask students to answer the purpose for viewing in small groups. Once they have had a couple minutes to recall those applications of FRT, ask them to share as a whole class.


Ask students to consider these applications of facial recognition technologies--and any others they are aware of OR can IMAGINE. Are these applications mostly beneficial? Mostly harmful? Ask students to provide a written artifact (digital or text, according to teacher discretion) that shows how they have categorized these applications. For example, students might draft a t-chart and write examples of "beneficial" applications of FRT on one side and "harmful" or "concerning" applications on the other. Emphasize that students will be actively use their list in tomorrow's lesson.

Wrap Up

Invite one or two groups to share one application of facial recognition technology that they believe is largely beneficial along with one that they find most concerning.

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