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Save the Tree Octopus!
Content Topic:
Using technology to access information; evaluating information
Students explore a website while trying to
answer a short question sheet about the Pacific
Northwest Tree Octopus. When the questions have been answered they are asked to evaluate the website itself. This leads to the realization that the website is a well-known hoax and that it’s difficult to evaluate the truthfulness of Internet resources.
Collaboration Potential:
Classroom teachers
Total Estimated Time:
45 minutes
Suggested Number Of Sessions:
Instruction / Activities:

Direct Instruction

·         TL informs the students that they will be taking a timed test to measure how well they can search an Internet site for answers to given questions.

·         TL directs students to enter the computer lab, log onto a computer, and activate Internet Explorer as quickly and quietly as possible.

·         TL projects the URL and the five questions the students are expected to answer:

1.      Where does the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus live?

2.      How large is the Tree Octopus?

3.      How does it communicate?

4.      Where does it spawn?

5.      Name two natural predators of the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus.

·         TL informs the students that they have five minutes to find all of the answers, and if they finish early they should feel free to fully explore the site.  TL begins timing.


Independent Practice

·         Students read through the website trying to find the answers to the five “test” questions.


Sharing and Reflecting

·         At the end of the timed “test” period the TL directs all students to take their hands off their keyboards and solicits answers to the questions.  Students with the correct answer are encouraged to show the class where they got the answer.


Modeling and Guided Practice

·         TL leads the class in a discussion of their impressions of the website.  Students are encouraged to describe the website using one or two words. 

·         If students have not used words like “fake” or “hoax,” TL should do so and explain that nothing in the website is true.  It’s all made up.

·         TL leads the class in a discussion of what is easier to fake – information on the Internet or information in a book.

·         Extension activities include the search for other hoax websites (many are available).

·         This lesson serves as an excellent introduction to a unit on evaluating Internet sites (Kathy Schrock’s 5 W’s and or similar) and/or a unit on subscription databases available at the school.

Print this Lesson Plan
Presented By: Steven Nabinger
Website by Data Momentum, Inc.