Are You For Real?
Students will become critical consumers of web resources. They will consider what elements to evaluate when using websites for research. Students learn strategies to determine the credibility of web resources.
This card can also be adapted for third and sixth grades.
- Understand the structure and function of a URL.
- Be able to apply different strategies to determine the credibility and accuracy of websites.
- Be able to evaluate resources and determine if it would be a resource they would trust or not.
- URL: A Uniform Resource Locator is a webpage's unique address.
- Browser: A browser is an application that locates and displays websites (Ex. Chrome, Safari, Edge, Firefox, etc.).
- Domain: The domain is the part of the URL naming the website as a whole (google.com, espn.com, usa.gov, etc.)
- Extension: An extension is the last part of the domain (.com, .net, .org, .gov, etc.)
- Credible: A credible resource is reliable and trustworthy.
- Accuracy: The accuracy of a resource describes it’s correctness and validity.
- Bias: Bias describes being in favor of or against an idea, person, or group. e.g., I believe Michigan is one of the best states. (I grew up in Michigan so I have stronger favoritism towards it than other states.)
To prepare for this lesson:
Teachers should check all websites before using them with students.
View and copy the slideshow presentation “Are You For Real?”
Students will need access to an internet-enabled device (1 per student or 1 per group).
Copy The Website Evaluation Checklist for students.
Check out Search Literacy Lesson Plans by Google. There may be resources and/or lessons you may be interested in using as extensions, differentiation, and/or reinforcement.
See Accommodations Page and Charts on the 21things4students.net site in the Teacher Resources.
Directions for this activity:
- The teacher will start by asking “is everything on the Internet true?” If not, how do you decipher what is true (credible) or not?
- Have students work in pairs. Have them search “endangered octopus.” The Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus will be in the top three results.
- Give students 10 minutes to look through the site and come to a consensus with their partner if it is credible or not. Ask them to provide evidence to support their claim.
- Have students share their findings.
- As a whole group, use the provided slide presentation “Are you for Real?” with the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus site as an example.
- Go through the slide show and then demonstrate with the Tree Octopus site. For example, hover over links (FAQ) to demonstrate the domain is the same for many links, meaning it was created by the same group. Make sure to talk about using your common sense as a guide as well.
- After going through the slideshow and demonstrating the different strategies to determine credibility with the Tree Octopus site, pass out the Website Evaluation guide.
- Have students work in groups to analyze the sites provided using the guide. Have groups report their findings and their decision to trust the site or not. (You may want to add 1-2 credible websites as well).
- Reinforce that they should always triangulate their sources to ensure accuracy.
Optional: Show how the Tree Octopus site and the All About Explorers site are listed (usually) in the top five results after advertisements. The first links may not be the most relevant or reliable.
Extension Lessons: Searching strategies. Talk about wording, advanced search features, and boolean language. Have them compare the number of results for different searches around the same topic.
Extension Lessons: Share different types of resources that can be used for research. Discuss the importance of using a variety of sources and the benefits of the different types (websites, journals, blogs, online encyclopedias, forums, and databases).
Different options for assessing the students:
- Check for understanding
- Use the Website evaluation check-list
- Create a Kahoot game as a formative assessment
- Have students use the checklist while researching and hand-in with their final projects.
- Have students create their own presentation for younger students.
MITECS Competencies & ISTE Standards
MITECS: Michigan adopted the "ISTE Standards for Students" called MITECS (Michigan Integrated Technology Competencies for Students) in 2018.
3a. Students plan and employ effective research strategies to locate information and other resources for their intellectual or creative pursuits.
3b. Students evaluate the accuracy, perspective, credibility and relevance of information, media, data or other resources.
3c. Students curate information from digital resources using a variety of tools and methods to create collections of artifacts that demonstrate meaningful connections or conclusions.
Devices and Resources
Device: PC, Chromebook, Mac, iPad
Browser: Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge, ALL
App, Extension, or Add-on:
Optional resources for more lessons and differentiation:
Fact checking sites:
Articles to determine credibility and bias game:
CONTENT AREA RESOURCES
Any research unit. Discuss fact vs opinion. Discuss the author’s purpose (persuade, inform, sell, mislead..).
Any research unit
Discuss the number of results and compare when searches use specific terminology and advanced settings.
Any research unit
Any research unit
This task card was created by Ann Llewellyn, Birmingham Public Schools. August 2019. Updated November 2022.