Grade 6 Research Skills Workshop

February 2018

When I met with Rabbi Rottenberg’s Grade 6s we examined a fake website and used a critical checklist to determine if the site was or was not credible. This is such a fun exercise and really forces students to develop their critical thinking abilities as well as do some supplemental research to see what they can discover elsewhere about the author or the purported “tree octopus.”

It was incredible how many kids could be so easily duped.

Luckily a few web saavy students knew it was a fake right away.

The checklist was a really great tool because it forced students to examine areas of the site that they might not otherwise have even thought twice about.

Is this website credible or not?

Web Evaluation Checklist

Authority YES NO
Is it clear who wrote the content?
Is the author an expert on the subject?  Does he have a good reputation?
Is there contact information that can be verified?
Do you believe that the content is true?
Does the information use correct grammar, spelling and sentence structure?
Are the photos real or potentially altered in some way?
Is the information presented in a balanced way?
Is all the information included? Have some things been intentionally left out?
If there are ads on the page, do they have anything to do with then content of the page?
Is there any date to show when the content was created?
Is there any date to show when the content was last updated?
Do all the links work?
Is the subject discussed in depth?
Do the links on the page lead to trustworthy sites?
Run a search on this topic.  Can you find two other credible websites?

I can’t recommend this Tree Octopus exercise enough for teachers of media and digital literacy!

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