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Inquiry on the Internet: Evaluating Web Pages for a Class Collection
|Grades||6 – 8|
|Lesson Plan Type||Standard Lesson|
|Estimated Time||Four 50-minute sessions|
In this lesson plan, students explore a class inquiry project, collecting Web-based resources that can be used for further study during the course of the class or for more in-depth projects. Students begin by brainstorming a list of kinds of information they will need to know. They then help set criteria for the lesson by thinking about characteristics of effective Web resources. Next, students use an online tool to evaluate three Websites and then locate and evaluate Websites based on the criteria they defined earlier. Finally, students discuss whether their predictions about the characteristics that would describe useful resources were effective, and revise the list as needed. This lesson can be completed individually or in groups. For demonstration purposes, this lesson plan focuses on researching a specific country or several countries; however, this activity can be completed with any inquiry topic in the classroom.
Website Evaluation Process: Using this online tool, students evaluate three Websites to determine if they would be useful resources for a class project.
Website Evaluation Form: Using this online tool, students evaluate whether up to three Websites they have found would be useful resources for a class project.
In "Inquiring Minds Use Technology!" Jeff Wilhelm explains that "From the literature teacher who uses inquiry to ponder big questions like ‘What is courage?' to the science teacher who asks, ‘What is the connection between land development and ecology?' inquiry allows students not only to consider thoughtful questions, but to use Web quests and electronic scrapbooks as they research their topic" (45). One of the most important steps in any inquiry project that uses Web resources is determining whether the resources and information one finds not only address the inquiry topic but also provide high-quality information. Nancy Patterson tells us, "When research took place down the school hall, under the watchful eye of the librarian, we had the illusion, at least, that the information students were reading was reliable. Now, suddenly, it seems, we have a huge buffet of information available at the click of a mouse." As a result, Patterson urges us to help our students "become literate in the ways of the Web" by analyzing and evaluating each Web page closely, using techniques such as those explored in this lesson plan, before including it as a resource in any project.
Patterson, Nancy. "Becoming Literate in the Ways of the Web: Evaluating Internet Resources." Voices from the Middle 10.3 (March 2003): 58-59.
Wilhelm, Jeffrey D. "Inquiring Minds Use Technology!" Voices from the Middle 11.3 (March 2004): 45-46.