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Evaluating Web Sites



  • Educational Technology


  • 6-8

Brief Description

Students learn the six criteria for evaluating Web sites and then use those criteria to locate three sites that provide good information and three that do not.


Students will

  • Understand the six criteria for evaluating Web sites
  • Identify Web sites with accurate, relevant, and current information on a given topic


Internet research, Web site evaluation, information literacy

Materials Needed

  • Computer access
  • Access to a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word or AppleWorks, or materials students can use to write their work.

Lesson Plan

To prepare for this lesson, review the Education World techtorial Improving Media Literacy, which explains the six criteria for evaluating a Web site: coverage, objectivity, currency, origin, accuracy, and purpose. You might want to use the techtorial as the basis for your opening discussion of this activity with students.

Begin the lesson by asking students if they think everything on the Internet is accurate. Ask them to share how they decide whether information on the Web is accurate. You might want to display Save the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus and ask students to evaluate the site based on their own criteria.

Then, walk students through the six criteria in Improving Media Literacy. Encourage students to take notes, or have a handout available to them. (A printed version of the techtorial is available.)

Ask students to choose an appropriate -- and fun -- topic (such as skateboarding), or assign a topic to them. Then have them (working individually or with a partner):

  • Type or handwrite a list of the six criteria, and explain what a good site might include to fulfill each criterion. For example, a student researching skateboarding may write:
    • Coverage: A good Web site would include information on the top skateboarders in the world, as well as links to manufacturers, competitions, and hints/tips for skateboarding.
    • Objectivity: A good Web site would provide both sides of the debate on whether skateboarders should be allowed on such public areas as sidewalks, plazas, parks, and so on.
    • Currency: A good Web site would provide the results from the most recent major skateboarding competitions.
  • Open the Internet on the computer.
  • Use a search engine to find six Web sites related to their chosen topic; three sites that are useful for doing research and three that are not. (Note: If students have not searched the Internet before, you might want to walk them through this step.)
  • Write or type the URL and site name for each.
  • Explain in writing and in complete sentences why the site is a good or poor choice for research, including the criteria used to make those decisions. For example: Bob' is NOT a good choice for research because Bob, who is 9 years old, only has copied and pasted pictures of his favorite skateboarders. There's not much information (coverage) and Bob is not an expert (origin) on skateboarding.
  • Turn in their work or share their work with their classmates, perhaps displaying one good and one poor Web site.
As each student or student pair share their work, encourage other students to discuss whether they agree or disagree with the choices made.


Students will be evaluated on
  • their understanding and application of the six criteria for evaluating Web sites as demonstrated in their written work
  • their interpersonal skills and teamwork (if working with a partner)

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Lorrie Jackson

National Standards

NT.K-12.2 Social, Ethical, and Human Issues
NT.K-12.5 Technology Research tools
NT.K-12.6 Technology Problem-Solving and Decision-Making tools