A Website Review

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SWBAT evaluate diagrams of the rock cycle for accurate, reliable information.

Big Idea

When students evaluate, they use higher order thinking skills. Evaluating is assessing the validity or quality of work based on criteria. Provide criteria. Ask students to evaluate. Have students justify their position.

Bell Ringer - Our World: The Rock Cycle

10 minutes

Our World: The Rock Cycle

Before viewing the video:

I give students a pre-printed foldable for the three rocks in The Rock Cycle and ask them to take notes on each type of rock: igneous, sedimentary, metamorphic. Students could write bullet points (with information), questions, or draw diagrams. Students should fold, cut, and glue the Foldable into their Science Journal (Notebook). Keeping the foldable in the Science Journal helps to keep students organized and have all the information in one place.

After viewing the video:

I ask students to take 1 minute to share with their partner and discuss what they have learned. This allows time for students to process the information and add notes to their Foldable. Then I take 2 minutes and ask students to share 1-2 concepts about each type of rock with the class. I draw students into the conversation (popsicle sticks) and ask them to identify one fact from the video. I am looking for student responses such as: igneous is formed from lava, sedimentary is formed from sediment, metamorphic is formed under heat and pressure.

A Website Review

25 minutes

For students to evaluate something, they must gather information to see the validity of the information and/or ideas based on a set of criteria. To evaluate something is a higher level thinking skill (refer to Bloom's Taxonomy). Some synonyms for evaluate could be conclude, defend, or support.

In this lesson, I ask students to evaluate the validity of a variety of websites that contain information about the rock cycle versus the information found in a textbook. I ask students to evaluate diagrams of the rock cycle from a variety of websites for accurate, reliable information, then complete A Website Review Form to evaluate and rate the websites. Students google the term "rock cycle" and view websites with this information. Then students judge or evaluate each website for criteria such as: 

  • Does the diagram have the right amount of information?
  • Is the diagram accurate?
  • Does it have the same information as diagrams found in reliable sources such as the textbook or encyclopedia?


I ask students to give a rating (1 - 4) to the website based on evidence from the criteria questions and then justify their position. Four stars is the best, while 1 star is the worst. When students justify their position they must include why (because). For example: I think that this website is good because it has lots of information and a nice interactive diagram.

This lesson focuses on working towards a variety of standards. Students work towards mastery of each standard because later in the unit they develop a model of the rock cycle. SP#2 states that students can develop a model to test ideas about phenomena in natural systems and use a model to describe unobservable mechanisms (rock cycle). Cross Cutting Concept #4 Systems & Models states that students can understand that systems may interact with other systems and use models to represent systems and their interactions. Students will also work towards NGSS MS-ESS 2-1 Earth's System which states that students develop a model to describe the cycling of Earth's materials and the flow of energy that drives this process.

A Website Review (lesson) is an opportunity for students to CCSS ELA.Literacy.W.6.8 develop skills gathering information from multiple sources, assess the credibility of each source, and provide basic bibliographic information for sources. 

Wrap It Up

5 minutes

What did you learn by reviewing the websites?

Do a quick check for understanding. I call this strategy, Wrap It Up, because it provides an opportunity for me to assess student understanding. This formative assessment strategy will provide information for me to structure my next lesson. Did students "get it" ?

I ask the question (What did you learn by reviewing the websites?) and then facilitate the class discussion. This discussion can vary in length, but a 3-5 minute discussion will provide enough information. As I start the discussion, I encourage students to use Discussion Moves, which is a strategy they have learned and practice in class often. At this point in the year, students understand the protocols and procedures for Discussion Moves.

 Some answers to the question could include:

  • I learned that some website have good pictures, but not really good information.
  • I learned that the pictures are important because some students are visual learners.
  • I learned that not all websites have good pictures or good information.