Inquiry on the Internet: Evaluating Web Pages for a Class Collection

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. Students stuggle with choosing appropriate, valid internet materials. This lesson facilitates choosing effective Web sources as students apply the concepts presented in the lesson to evaluate and eliminate sources.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.8.3
Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.8.6
Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases; gather vocabulary knowledge when considering a...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.8.6
Determine an author's point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how the author acknowledges and responds to conflicting evidence or viewpoints.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.8.8
Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.8.9
Analyze a case in which two or more texts provide conflicting information on the same topic and identify where the texts disagree on matters of fact...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.8.1
Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 8 topics, texts,...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.8.3
Delineate a speaker's argument and specific claims, evaluating the soundness of the reasoning and relevance and sufficiency of the evidence and...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.8.4
Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with relevant evidence, sound valid reasoning, and well-chosen...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.8.6
Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate. (See grade 8 Language...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.1
Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.2
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.3
Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.4
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.7
Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.8
Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each...
GLE 0801.2.7
Participate in work teams and group discussions.
GLE 0801.3.3
Organize ideas into an essay with an introduction, developing paragraphs, conclusion, and appropriate transitions.
GLE 0801.4.2
Gather relevant information from a variety of print and electronic sources, as well as from direct observation, interviews, and surveys.
GLE 0801.4.3
Make distinctions about the credibility, reliability, consistency, strengths, and limitations of resources, including information gathered from websites.
GLE 0801.5.5
Explore the concept of premises, including false premises.
SPI 0801.1.19
Recognize and use grade appropriate and/or content specific vocabulary.
SPI 0801.1.2
Identify the correct use of verbs (i.e., action/linking, regular/irregular, agreement, perfect tenses, verb phrases) within context.
SPI 0801.2.4
Determine the most effective methods of engaging an audience during an oral presentation (e.g., making eye contact, adjusting speaking rate).
SPI 0801.2.7
Select the most appropriate strategies for participating productively in a team (e.g., gain the floor in orderly ways, meet or set deadlines for completing each...
SPI 0801.2.8
Identify the functions and responsibilities of individuals within an organized group (i.e., reporter, recorder, information gatherer, leader, timekeeper).
SPI 0801.3.11
Identify individual written selections as technical, narrative, persuasive, and/or descriptive in mode.
SPI 0801.3.5
Select appropriate time-order or transitional words/phrases to enhance the flow of a writing sample.
SPI 0801.3.8
Select vivid words to strengthen a description (adjective or adverb) within a writing sample or passage.
SPI 0801.3.9
Select illustrations, explanations, anecdotes, descriptions and/or facts to support key ideas.
SPI 0801.4.2
Identify levels of reliability among resources (e.g., eyewitness account, newspaper account, supermarket tabloid account, Internet source).
SPI 0801.8.14
Identify the authors purpose for writing.
TSS.ELA.8.L.KL.3
When writing and speaking, adjust style and tone to a variety of contexts; when reading or listening, analyze stylistic choices to determine context.
TSS.ELA.8.L.VAU.6
Acquire and accurately use grade-appropriate general academic and domainspecific words and phrases; develop vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or...
TSS.ELA.8.RI.CS.6
Determine an author's point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how the author acknowledges and responds to conflicting evidence or viewpoints.
TSS.ELA.8.RI.IKI.8
Delineate and evaluate the rgument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether evidence is relevant and sufficient to support the claims and the...
TSS.ELA.8.RL.CS.6
Analyze how similarities and differences in the points of view of the audience and the characters create effects such as suspense, humor, or dramatic irony.
TSS.ELA.8.SL.CC.1
Prepare for collaborative discussions on 8th grade level topics and texts; engage effectively with varied partners, building on others' ideas and...
TSS.ELA.8.SL.CC.3
Delineate a speaker's argument and specific claims, evaluating the soundness of the reasoning and relevance and sufficiency of the evidence; identify...
TSS.ELA.8.SL.PKI.4
Present claims and findings in a focused, coherent manner with relevant evidence; sound, valid reasoning, and well-chosen details; use appropriate eye...
TSS.ELA.8.SL.PKI.6
Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.
TSS.ELA.8.W.PDW.4
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
TSS.ELA.8.W.RBPK.7
Conduct research to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on multiple sources and generating additional related, focused...
TSS.ELA.8.W.RBPK.8
Use search terms effectively; integrate relevant and credible information from print and digital sources; quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of...
TSS.ELA.8.W.TTP.1
Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
TSS.ELA.8.W.TTP.2
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of...
TSS.ELA.8.W.TTP.3
Write narratives (fiction and nonfiction) to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective techniques, relevant descriptive details, and...
 
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.
 
Learning objectives: 

Student Objectives:

Students will

  • explore the criteria for effective Websites.
  • search for and evaluate Websites for a particular class collection
  • evaluate the effectiveness of the collection and criteria.

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Understanding
Extension suggestions: 

Extensions:

Follow this activity with the Picture Books as Framing Texts: Research Paper Strategies for Struggling Writers lesson plan. An ideal unit might begin with sharing the framing book from this lesson then collecting Web resources as a class before students write their own contributions to the class book.

Helpful Hints

Preparation:

  • Check that you have parent or guardian permission for all students to participate in Internet searches, and obtain a copy of your school or district’s acceptable use policy. If desired, make an overhead of the policy to share with students. 
  • Familiarize yourself with the resources on the Writing Guides site from Colorado State University, and choose the demos that best fit your students’ needs. 
  • Choose a method for students to share the Web Resources that they find in the course of their research. The following options can work:
  • Computer-based systems such as electronic bulletin boards or e-mail discussion lists, with category headings as subject or thread titles.
  • A handout, developed by creating a form with shared category headings.
  • A class Web page, on which you list the URLs, can be added to your school Website. Students might e-mail their recommendations to you or complete a form with shared categories
  • Choose the topic for your students’ research and brainstorm a list of essential subject areas that students should cover. Keep your list for reference. 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 and works well to supplement major units of study across the curriculum, as outlined in this list of additional collection ideas. Customize the lists as appropriate for your class. For an extended unit on science, technology, and society, for instance, you might use the complete list. For a more focused collection, you might narrow the list of categories to one area (e.g., transformations through science and technology). 
  • If desired, make copies of the Website Evaluation Form. 
  • For background information and information to share with students, refer to the Eduscapes resource Evaluating Internet Resources.
  • Test the Website Evaluation Process student interactive and the Website Evaluation Form student interactive on your computers to familiarize yourself with the tools and ensure that you have the Flash plug-in installed. You can download the plug-in from the technical support page.


Printouts:

  • Possible Categories for Class Web Collections
  • Website Evaluation Form

 
Websites:

  • Website Evaluation Process
  • Website Evaluation Form
  • Writing Guides
  • Evaluating Internet Resources
  • Conducting Simple Searches of the World Wide Web
  • Refining Searches by Adding Keywords
  • Conducting Boolean Searches
  • Ask Kids

 

References

Contributors: