Evaluating Online Sources Lesson Plan: Is Everything on the Internet True?

Submitted by: Elise Millette

Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8, K-3

In this online sources lesson plan, which is adaptable for grades K-8, students use BrainPOP resources to learn how to conduct effective internet research. Students will analyze research on the internet and explore how they can determine what is not true and what is factual online.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Learn how to do internet research
  2. Analyze research on the internet
  3. Understand not everything that is on the internet is real and/or factual

Materials:

  • Computer lab or multiple computers
  • Access to BrainPOP
  • Photocopies of BrainPOP Activity Pages to go with each movie
  • Paper with questions about the Tree Octopus and URL
  • Pencils

Vocabulary:

web address, internet, internet search, search engines, network, data

Preparation:

Explore the site http://www.zapatopi.net/treeoctopus and establish what a "tree octopus" is. Prepare 1/2 sheet of 4-5 questions about the tree octopus. Preview the recommended BrainPOP movies for this lesson to determine which is most appropriate for your students' levels and your goals.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Watch the BrainPOP movies Online Safety and Internet Search and/or the BrainPOP Jr. movie Internet Safety.
  2. Facilitate discussion, taking the review quizzes and completing the related activities/features for your chosen movie(s). Keep in mind that these can be done before, during, and after the movies - whatever works for you!
  3. Tell the students they will be researching an unusual animal you found on the web called the tree octopus.
  4. Hand out the sheet with zapatopi URL and questions on it and have students connect to the site.
  5. Go over the site with the class and look at the pictures and information on different pages.
  6. Let the students research by looking at different online resources (i.e. Wikipedia) to find more information about the tree octopus. Talk with students about their discoveries.
  7. Ask students their opinions on this unusual animal and see if they think it is real on fake, based on the research they have done.
  8. Tell them the real reason for the assignment was to see if anyone noticed this was a fake animal and that many things you encounter on the internet are not real, and it is important to do your own research to figure out what is real and what isn't.
  9. Talk about sites that are better for research such as online encyclopedias and trusted magazines/newspapers, as well as the importance of books and printed materials as a resource.

Extension Activity:

Have students take the sheet home and look at it with their parents. Tell them not to tell their parents it is not real until after they have explored the website for a while and see what their parents think.