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Lesson Plan

Wading Through the Web: Teaching Internet Research Strategies

E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)

Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Three 45-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Sarah Dennis-Shaw

Avon, Massachusetts


International Reading Association


Student Objectives

Session 1: The Nature of Internet Research

Session 2: Searching the Internet

Session 3: Citing Sources and Independent Research Time

Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will

  • Consider and discuss the nature of the Internet, comparing it with more traditional information sources

  • Explore and practice efficient ways to search on the Internet

  • Learn the importance of attributing Internet sources, and practice a format for citation of sources

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Session 1: The Nature of Internet Research

1. Conduct a class discussion about research and the Internet. Use the following focus questions:
  • Where do you go to find information for a research report?

  • How does the Internet differ from other sources of information?

  • What is your favorite place to find information and why?

  • Explain to students that for the next few days, they will be learning more effective ways to do research using the Internet.
2. Guide the class in creating a Venn diagram to compare the Internet with more traditional information sources. Write students' responses on the board and discuss. If you choose, you can use an LCD projector to display the interactive Venn Diagram tool. The text fields in this tool have a character limit of 10; so if you choose to use it, keep in mind that the entries need to be short and usually limited to one word. For example: convenient, timely, edited, current, portable, reviewed, fast, accessible.

Note: Another alternative would be to have students work with partners or in small groups to generate a list of similarities and differences between various types of research materials. This activity could include use of the online Venn Diagram tool if you have multiple classroom computers with Internet access.

3. Explain to students that they will be learning about different types of search engines available on the Internet, and about efficient ways to search for information and narrow down their search.

4. Introduce the terms bibliography and citation. If your students are already familiar with what a bibliography is, you can quickly review it. If not, explain to students that a bibliography is a list of citations that tell where you got your information. It includes all the books, encyclopedias, websites, and so on that you used to write your report. Explain to students that the format for citing a website on the Internet is different from the format for citing a book. Tell them that they will be learning how to cite an Internet resource.

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Session 2: Searching the Internet

1. Before students arrive, set up the classroom or lab for display of the Wading Through the Web PowerPoint presentation.

2. Begin by reviewing with students the ways in which the Internet differs from more traditional information sources. Display on a chart or transparency the notes that were generated in the previous session's discussion.

3. Explain to students that they will be viewing a presentation that will walk them through the process of researching on the Internet, and that this presentation is meant to serve as a jumping off point for their own research on an assigned topic. If you have already assigned a research topic to students, remind them to have their topic in mind as they view the presentation.

4. Pass out copies of the Wading Through the Web Student Handout. Make sure all students have access to the Wading Through the Web PowerPoint presentation. Ask them to view slides 1-21 and complete the associated activities on the handout. These slides introduce different types of search engines and demonstrate how to search "smarter" on the Internet. If you have chosen to show the presentation to the class on an LCD projector, you can discuss each slide as you go. Make sure students understand how to move through the presentation and navigate to the linked websites. Circulate and monitor to be sure students are staying on task and completing the handout as they go along.

5. When students have finished, discuss what they learned during the presentation. You can use the following questions to guide the discussion:
  • Which search engine did you find most helpful and why?

  • What about the other online resources? Which ones do you think you might use in the future?

  • What was the most surprising thing you learned?

  • What was the most helpful thing you learned?

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Session 3: Citing Sources and Independent Research Time

1. Begin by reviewing what students learned during the previous session. One way to do this might be to use the LCD projector to quickly flip through slides 1-21 of the PowerPoint presentation again and review as you go.

2. Briefly review the notion of citation of sources in a bibliography. Provide each student with a copy of the Internet Citation Organizer and the Internet Citation Checklist, and make sure students have their copies of the Wading Through the Web Student Handout, which they started in the previous session.

3. Direct students to view the remaining section of the PowerPoint presentation (slides 22-27), which covers citing Internet sources. If you have an adequate number of computers, students can do this independently. However, depending on the needs and abilities of your students, you may want to continue together as a class or have students work with partners. As they go through the presentation, students should complete the Wading Through the Web Student Handout.

4. When students have completed the presentation and handout, tell them to use the remaining time to begin independent research on their assigned topic. Remind them that they will need to record citation information for their bibliographies, and instruct them to use the Internet Citation Organizer for this purpose.

5. After all students in the class have finished with the PowerPoint presentation, quickly share and review what they have learned about effective Internet research.

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  • During Sessions 2 and 3, observe and question students as they interact with the PowerPoint presentation to determine if they are understanding the concepts.

  • Review the Wading Through the Web Student Handout completed by students during the Wading Through the Web PowerPoint presentation.

  • Review the information collected by students during Session 3 on their Internet Citation Organizer handouts.

  • If and when students complete independent research projects, check to see that they have correctly cited their Internet sources. Students can use the Internet Citation Checklist to self-assess for this purpose.

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