Back to School Critical Thinking Activity: Did I cheat? Round 1

Grade Levels
6th - 10th, Homeschool
Formats Included
  • Zip
  • Google Apps™
  • Webquests
10 slides + 1 cover slide
Includes Google Apps™
The Teacher-Author indicated this resource includes assets from Google Workspace (e.g. docs, slides, etc.).

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Back to school activities are a great time to teach critical thinking.

Plus, you could win a $100 TpT gift card (grand prize) !!!

The current $500 in TpT gift card giveaway is ROUND 2: Psst. I'm lying.

There is a NEW VERSION:

CLICK HERE to go to the current challenge.

This product page is for the original Did I Cheat slideshow lesson (Round 1). You can still teach this critical thinking lesson for free. Read more:


ABOUT THE Educircles "DID I CHEAT" challenge

Did I Cheat is a series of high-interest, real-world critical thinking activities designed for grades 6 and up.

The free slideshow lessons can be taught at any time. The lesson focuses on slightly different critical thinking examples.

Each new round of the Did I Cheat challenge is launched with a TpT gift card giveaway to make the lesson "more real". Read this post for more information about the current Did I Cheat TpT gift card giveaway.

There are currently 2 rounds of the "Did I Cheat?" challenge

The current $500 TpT gift card giveaway is for ROUND 2 and ends on September 30, 2021.

ROUND 1 (APR - JUN 2021)

  • The original “Did I Cheat?” slideshow lesson is available here: educircles.org/tpt/did-i-cheat-round-1
  • The critical thinking lesson focuses on “cheating
  • how can we create a way to 1) cheat and get away with it or to 2) be more honest and transparent.

ROUND 2 Psst I’m Lying update (NOW - September 30, 2021)

  • This version is available here: educircles.org/tpt/did-i-cheat-round-2
  • The critical thinking lesson looks at the criteria for “lying” (instead of cheating)
  • What additional info do we need to know to figure out if someone is lying?


Did I Cheat Round 1

High interest Critical Thinking activity.

EASY PREP: Watch video. Class discussion.

  • Can your class figure out if / how I cheated?

  • Then, show them THIS VIDEO that explains one way I could have cheated!

Students need to think critically to prove if I did or didn't cheat...

3 critical thinking strategies:

  • USE CRITERIA to analyze and evaluate whether cheating occurred.

  • Become more FULL MINDED to see how cheating can occur in live streamed online random draws.

  • Try to be more OPEN MINDED and wonder how the other point of view might be correct.

Once students have analyzed the random draw and evaluated whether cheating may have occurred, students are asked to CREATE ways

  • to make the online gift card giveaway more honest, fair and transparent
  • to make the online gift card giveaway more dishonest and cheat

Things to know

  • Distance Learning friendly: You can edit the Microsoft Powerpoint™ and Google Slides™ files (included in the zipped file.)

  • Answer key intentionally NOT provided. This is an open-ended real world problem. Sample answers are not provided so that students are not guided towards the "right" answer.

IMPORTANT: Clear steps for students NOT provided.

I know. That's weird, right?

Why would I not provide clear step-by-step instructions for students on how to solve this problem?

You can see a view-only version of the complete 10 slide presentation here: https://educircles.org/did-i-cheat/

It just ends abruptly:

  • How could I have cheated?
  • How I could make this online contest more honest?

Afterwards, your students may ask if you made a mistake. Is that it?

Yup, that's it.

And figuring out HOW to solve this problem... is part of the problem.

(If you're stuck and looking for more specific guiding questions, email me at Mike@educircles.org and let's work together to figure out something for your class!)

The original Did I cheat CONTEST: $500 in TpT Gift Cards

  • Ran from April to June 30, 2021

  • Congratulations to Emily who won a $100 TpT gift card and Nadia who won a $50 TpT gift card

  • For more information about the Round 1 Did I Cheat challenge, please read this blog post.


  1. $100 gift card: Emily (Ceredigion, UK)
  2. $50 gift card: Nadia (Sierra Vista, USA)
  3. $50 gift card: Not enough participation
  4. $25 gift card: Not enough participation
  5. $25 gift card: Not enough participation
  6. $25 gift card: Not enough participation
  7. $25 gift card: Not enough participation
  8. $25 gift card: Not enough participation
  9. $25 gift card: Not enough participation
  10. $25 gift card: Not enough participation
  11. $25 gift card: Not enough participation
  12. $10 gift card: Not enough participation
  13. $10 gift card: Not enough participation
  14. $10 gift card: Not enough participation
  15. $10 gift card: Not enough participation
  16. $10 gift card: Not enough participation
  17. $10 gift card: Not enough participation
  18. $10 gift card: Not enough participation
  19. $10 gift card: Not enough participation
  20. $10 gift card: Not enough participation
  21. $10 gift card: Not enough participation


This is intended to be an authentic, meaningful, open-ended 21st Century Learning task for classes to engage with - where problems and solutions aren't always handed to us on a silver platter.

The power of this challenge is to encourage digital literacy by getting students

  • to think about whether video or images are "facts"
  • consider how media is constructed or manipulated
  • create ways to manipulate "the truth" as a construct

On one level, the goal is digital literacy and media literacy.

  • Not everyone understands how screenshots and video screen captures can be manipulated as well. (Do your students think they're pretty good with technology? Have them try this digital literacy quiz!)

  • By understanding the process, we can become more FULL MINDED when we try to think critically about the images and video we see.

On a broader level, the goal is to encourage students to think critically about the changing world we live in.

Think about it this way:

  • It's easier to come up with the "right" answers during an anti-bullying lesson.
  • It's harder to walk the walk and apply those principles outside of the classroom.


  • It's easier to think more critically when we're in the classroom and we're asked to think critically.
  • It's harder to walk the walk and apply those principles outside of the classroom.

By thinking about how we create media texts, hopefully students will apply that personal knowledge in life:

  • We receive a text alert from Amazon or PayPal about a shipment or a payment. When we click the link in the text, we log into their website, but oops... it's a fake website and we just gave them our login info.

  • We receive a call from our bank and they know which branch we have our accounts at. There's suspicious activity in our account because our computer has been hacked. They need to help by having us clear our account. Don't worry, their computer technician can walk you through what you need to do to install remote access software. Then they can make sure you're protected.

  • A principal decides that a student should not be allowed to bring their service dog to class. The parents disagree but school board officials and specialists say that the student does not require this accommodation to learn. The parents feel this is discrimination because their child who has a recognized disability. So, the parents file a human rights complaint. The government human rights tribunal supports the school board's decision to deny the boy their service dog. Is this discrimination? Is this systemic discrimination? (Read this article)

  • Imagine 50 people voting for a representative. 20 support Blue. 30 support Green. A vote would have Green win every time. If we split the vote into districts, 5 districts with 10 people each, depending on how you group the voters, you can get different outcomes everytime. This is known as gerrymandering. Is this cheating? (video)

The hope is that students will start to use the skills from this challenge to think more critically about life and wonder about equities and inequities in other parts of their world.

Change Log:

Round 2: NOW to SEPTEMBER 30, 2021

Version 2.0: Did I Cheat Round 2: Psst I’m Lying update (July 20, 2021)

This version has been published as a separate FREE product: educircles.org/tpt/did-i-cheat-round-2

  • Looks at the criteria for “lying” (instead of cheating)
  • Asks what additional info we need to know to figure out if someone is lying.

The original “Did I Cheat?” slideshow lesson is still available here: educircles.org/tpt/did-i-cheat-round-1

  • Focuses on “cheating”
  • Asks how we can create a way to 1) cheat and get away with it or to 2) be more honest and transparent.

Round 1: Apr to June 2021

This version is available here:  educircles.org/tpt/did-i-cheat-round-1

Version 1.0a: updated change log (June 8, 2021)

Version 1.0: You Can Trust This Website episode 1 update (June 8, 2021)

Updated slideshow

  • Added a video link on slide 10 that shows how you could cheat in an online random draw: You Can Trust This Website Episode 1 timestamp 8:09 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9n2VAHtEc2I&t=489s
  • Changed colour of cover slide (slide 1) and full minded slide (slide 10) to make it obvious where changes have been made.
  • Using this version of the slideshow (1.0) or the previous version (0.9) does not change your odds of winning the Did I Cheat $500 TpT Gift Card challenge. Winners determined by random draw. Odds of winning based on number of entries received.

Updated READ ME FIRST pdf (Renumbered to FILE 1a)

  • Fixed some typos / copy & paste errors
  • Updated information about how to edit Theme Builder in Google Slides

Updated links to Google Slideshow (FILE 2a)

Put TpT gift card give away information into separate PDF (FILE 1b)

Version 0.9: Early Bird release of Did I Cheat Challenge (April 5, 2021)

  • This version does not include a link to a video where I show you how you can go into developer mode on a web browser to modify Random.org on your browser so it gives specific answers. Crazy, right? Coming soon! 
  • Using this version does not increase or decrease your chances of winning in the Did I Cheat $500 TpT gift card giveaway as prizes are determined by random draw using Random.org
  • FYI: Links to the original 0.9 Early Bird version of the Google Slideshow are in the change log

More details in the change log at the end of the READ ME FIRST PDF (FILE 1a)

Total Pages
10 slides + 1 cover slide
Answer Key
Not Included
Teaching Duration
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