How Dangerous is Dihydrogen Monoxide?
Research Question
Project Task
Information Search Process


Students evaluate a very real-looking website on the dangers of dihydrogen monoxide as part of an assignment to take a position on whether or not dihydrogen monoxide should be banned as a dangerous substance. Subsequent comparison to other sources reveals dihydrogen monoxide as an obscure name for water. 


Learning goals

To understand the importance of evaluating information and comparing sources.

McRel Standards connections:
Language arts
Standard 5.  Uses the general skills and strategies of the reading process
    Benchmark 5.  Understands specific devices an author uses to accomplish his or her purpose

   (e.g., persuasive techniques, style, word choice, language structure)

 Standard 7.  Uses reading skills and strategies to understand and interpret a variety of informational texts
    Benchmark 5.
Draws conclusions and makes inferences based on explicit and implicit information in texts

Support materials






  1. Photocopy evaluation questions or put questions from Instructions on board or overhead for students to answer on their own paper, if desired.  Discuss as needed to check for understanding.
  2. Form pairs and direct students to begin the lesson at the home page.
    After students complete instructions you might ask for a show of hands on their positions on whether or not to ban DHMO and discuss their reactions to dihydrogen monoxide, directing students to add to their evaluation sheets as needed.
  3. Play NPR commentator Robert Siegel's interview with the site's creator, Professor Tom Way, (approximately 4 minutes).
  4. Discuss with help of Powerpoint what features of the website should have demonstrated these were unreliable sites. Individually, in pairs or as a class, generate a list of steps to take in evaluating information.



Questions or comments? Contact DataMomentum team for general information.