Free K-6 Kit Teaches Cybersecurity

Clean_Up and DangerBots teach elementary students about phishing, malware, firewalls, defenses and passwords.The same organization that challenges students to compete in cyber-security competitions now wants to help younger students learn cyber-security. The Air Force Association's CyberPatriot program office has put together a free kit to teach K-6 students how to stay safe online.

The new Elementary School Cyber Education Initiative has three modules:

  • "Security Showdown," available in English and Spanish, introduces personal security practices to K-3 students;
  • "Clean_Up" has students in grades 4-6 run a virus removal program to protect a virtual system from viruses, worms and Trojan horses; and
  • "DangerBots" is a game for students in grades 4-6 where participants put their cybersecurity skills to the test to defeat imminent threats in a simulated city.

The kit also includes an instructor's guide, curriculum slides, cover letters for teachers and parents, materials for publicizing the use of the content and templates for certificates to award students when they complete the modules. The kit is available as a digital download and as a hard-copy version that includes a DVD and a printed copy of the instructor guide.

"The Elementary School Cyber Education Initiative will equip educators and parents to teach students about cybersecurity at a young age," says Bernie Skoch, CyberPatriot national commissioner. "Students are active online at increasingly younger ages, and [the Air Force Association] sees a need to equip them with the skills critical to their online safety. We are delighted to offer this opportunity at no cost to the schools and other organizations."

The software will be available for download starting on July 31. It runs on any system with Windows XP SP2 or newer.

Development of the materials was funded through a special grant from Riverside Research, a not-for-profit organization that does scientific research, including in cyber security, and Northrop Grumman Foundation, the non-profit arm of the global security company.

CyberPatriot is a national youth cyber education program that hosts cyber defense competitions each year. Teams compete at the state and regional level; top teams head to Baltimore for national finals where they can win scholarships along with national recognition.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.