The lesson introduces students to primary and secondary resources, and how to identify and use the most credible and reliable resources available for research projects, general information, or other uses. The Internet has opened the world to everyone with a connection, and in many ways, this can be a positive for young learners. However, the Internet also includes many sites with untruths, baseless facts, inaccurate stories, and much worse, often passing themselves off as legitimate resources or sources for information. Students must be able to distinguish the difference and use resources that have been deemed credible. (It is recommended that teachers use easybib.com with the class as a resource for citing web sites and asking questions about credibility.)
Sample Classroom Procedure / Teacher Instruction:
- Ask students: What are some problems associated with doing research on the Internet? Why?
- Allow for responses and discussion. Ask students if they have ever used the Internet to learn something, but later found out the information was false. How did they feel?
- Allow for responses and discussion. Introduce Credibility of Sources.
- Distribute Credibility of Sources content pages. Read and review the information with the students. If possible, access and display various web sites for students to identify the credibility differences between each. Ask students to explain why a site is or is not credible. Save the final question for the lesson closing. Use the additional resources to enhance understanding.
- DIstribute Activity pages. Read and review the instructions. Pair students. Assign or allow students to choose two web sites to review and rate using the assigned questions. (Do not assign or allow e-commerce sites, selling products or services.) Allow students access to the Internet and time to complete the two questionnaires.
- When completed with both reviews, students will share their findings with the class. Encourage students to be specific about the reasons behind their credibility ratings. (Responses will vary.)
- Distribute Practice page. Check and review the students’ responses.
- Distribute the Homework page. The next day, check and review the students’ responses. Ratings will vary related to the credibility of sources for given topics.
- In closing, ask students: What do you think causes many people to rely on web sites that may not be credible or reliable? How can this be changed?
- Allow for responses and discussion.
Common Core State Standards:
Class Sessions (45 minutes): At least 3 class sessions.
Want more language arts resources? Check out our other Language Arts Lesson Plans!