Teaching How to Read, Write, and Participate on the Web: Web Literacy for Educators

Perform the Net

Made by MOUSE and Mozilla Learning Networks (MLN) and remixed by the MLN and the National Writing Project.

Learners will summarize how the Internet works through improv performance and visualization, learning Web mechanics.

45 minutes

  • Preparation

    Do the activity on your own to become familiar with how information moves on the Internet.

    1. Watch the video "There and Back Again: A Packet's Tale" on YouTube.
    2. Write or draw the steps you would use to physically act out - or perform - how information travels across the Internet.
    3. Sketch a map - which can be symbolic or realistic - that shows how information moves around the Internet.
  • 10


    Ask learners “How do you get to the Internet?”

    Take a few ideas from the group, then explain the following:

    The "Internet" is a system of networks and the "Web" sits on top of the Internet and provides an interface for viewing and interacting with the information stored in various computers around the world. This short article from Skillcrush further explains the difference between the Internet and the Web

    Further explain that:

    Anytime you ask the Internet to do something, whether by entering a URL into a browser or watching a video on youtube, your internet request "hops" through several network devices, like routers and switches and servers, on its way from your computer to the website’s server.

    Watch "There and Back Again: A Packet's Tale" to give learners a little more context before starting the next step.

  • 20

    Perform the Net

    Form small improv groups of 4-5 actors. Get together and brainstorm a way to perform how the Internet works. Think about how to use your space - you can perform anywhere there's room in the space around you and spread out and move around as much as you'd like. Think about the materials around you and grab any props that might help you show the Net at work. Take 10 minutes to plan and rehearse.

    Perform your skits for the whole group. Applaud your heart out for the other improv artists. Laugh and cheer at especially great moments of Performing the Net history!

  • 10

    Map the Net

    Next, create a rough map with your group that lets you refine your understanding of the Net after seeing other groups’ performances. Make a poster (on a huge sheet of paper) that shows how the Internet works. Combine words and pictures to take us on a journey or tell the story of a packet traveling the Net.

    Pencil in your designs and then go crazy with the markers and colors.

  • 5


    Share your poster with the whole-group. Have a spokesperson describe the map and say the most important thing your group learned about the Net today.