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Teacher-Created Lesson Plan

Evaluating Legitimate Sources

Students will be able to address the issues surrounding finding sources on the Internet that are credible. Students will be able to identify this by focusing on items such as the author, the date it was written, and if the information can be proven.
Andrew D.
Classroom teacher
Saint Joachim Catholic School
Costa Mesa, United States
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My Subjects Math, Science

I can accurately identify credibly internet sources.

I can describe several philosophies when calculating the dependability of a website.

I can apply guiding principles to evaluate the reliability of a website’s information and determine reliable and unreliable information sources.

Health & Wellness
Grades 5 – 12
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Engage

1) The teacher has the students look up at the Smartboard, which has the following YouTube video open:



2) The teacher then opens the following link:



3) Explain to the students that both the YouTube video and the DHMO.org are both unreliable sources. They both look credible and are filled will great information. However, it is important to dig deeper and find that dihydrogen monoxide is actually water.

Student Instructions

1)  Little do the students know that the spaghetti tree hoax is a famous 3-minute hoax report broadcast on April Fools' Day 1957 by the BBC. It told a tale of a family in southern Switzerland harvesting spaghetti from the fictitious spaghetti tree, broadcast at a time when this Italian dish was not widely eaten in the UK and some Britons were unaware that spaghetti is a pasta made from wheat flour and water. 


2) This website aims to ban dihydrogen monoxide and talks in detail about its dangers.

2 Explore

Student Instructions

While the students are going through each of the listed websites, they are to complete the following web page credibility checklist:



For this specific checklist, students are to use the checklist as a guideline to help decide whether an online source is reliable. If the URL receives 7 or more points, the source is probably reliable. If 4-6 points, it might be a good source (try to find out more about it before using it). If 3 or less, it is not reliable.

3 Explain

Make a class set of copies of the handout “Evaluating Internet Sources.” Before distributing it, show and read the top paragraph only on a document camera or overhead. Explain that this handout will be a resource for them as they consider credible sources to use for their tasks. It is not a checklist, but rather a set of ideas to get them started. No website will meet all these criteria, and some websites that do may have other factors that make students suspect them. Then uncover the whole sheet and show them that they have already focused on the top four rows.

Explain that sometimes content seems so amazing that it makes a reader wonder if it’s true or not. Ask students which of the examples – A or B – seems too good to be true. Tell them to beware of this type of writing as it can indicate unreliability and inaccuracy. They should ask themselves these questions to help determine if the writing might be largely untrue: Does this information seem unbelievable? Does it make sense to you or others? Does what you read conflict with something you already know to be true? Does the writing seem like hyperbole where something is exaggerated? Is there a way to check this information out so you know whether it is true or not?

Student Instructions

A copy of this handout can be found at: http://www.library.illinois.edu/ugl/howdoi/evaluate_internet.pdf

4 Elaborate

Teacher instructs students to investigate several websites. To do this, the teacher will have students work in pairs and give the pair a specific topic. The topics can be from a variety of subjects. I would recommend that the topics relate to the current subjects that the students are studying (example: for physical science, have the student research information on the atomic theory). For these topics, students are responsible for finding information that is both reputable and non-reputable. Students are to explain how they determined which source could be trusted and which could not be trusted. To do this, students are to create a Google Slide. In each slide, students are to explain why each bit of information was deemed either reputable or non-reputable.


5 Evaluate

Students will present their findings to the class. To evaluate each piece of information, the teacher will use the same checklist provided in the Explore section.