Summer Research Program for Science Teachers

Steven Oszust

August 2003


How can we determine the reliability of an internet resource?


IO:                 1. Students will access information via the internet.

2. Students will be able to summarize and categorize the types of information available on any given website.

3. Students will use critical thinking to develop questions to pose in order to evaluate any given website.

4.      Students will make written and oral reports to the class on their group’s findings.


Do Now:  Ask students to read the headlines from The Inquirer or some such “newspaper”, and to comment on how true or realistic they are.  Ask them why they believe or disbelieve what they read.



Copy of the most outrageous article from The Inquirer or Globe, etc.

Computers with internet access, or print-outs of websites to be assessed (see print-out on “classification of snakes” from, or Powerpoint slides of same.       

Formatted worksheets for directed responses.

Reliability Worksheet #1

Reliability Worksheet #2

Reliability Worksheet #3

Procedure: Ask students to key in the term “classification of snakes”  on the internet or review a hardcopy of the listing for the key phrase.  (Teacher’s note: use the first listing offered by Yahoo, or Google.  It should be by BJ Herbison)    

Students should work in groups of 3-4 and review the information on the document.  They should be able to come up with at least 10 bits of information from the site.  This list is to be ranked by order of importance and the reasons for the listing written in the worksheets provided.  The groups can “jigsaw” the information with other groups and a class list generated from all of the groups.

The students will continue in their groups and now create a list of questions they have regarding the site, or it validity.  Again, they will rank and give reasons for their rankings.

Finally, the students will assess the reliability of the source based on what information is given and what is not.  They will rank their reasons and give an explanation of their ranking.

Summary:  Students will write 1-2 paragraphs on what makes a reliable source.


Standards:      S4a   Demonstrates an understanding of big ideas and unifying concepts.

                        S4d   Demonstrates an understanding of the impact of technology.

S5c   Uses evidence from reliable sources to develop descriptions, explanations; and distinguishes between fact and opinion.

S5f   Works individually and in teams to collect and share information and ideas.

S6b   Records and stores data using a variety of formats.

S6d   Acquires information from multiple sources.

S6e   Recognizes and limits sources of bias in data.

S7a   Represents data and results in multiple ways.

S7b   Argues from evidence.

S7c   Critiques published materials.

S7e   Communicates in a form suited to the purpose and the audience.


Return to General Science Lesson Plan Menu