Lesson 12: Sources and Search Engines
This lesson encourages students to think more critically about how web searches work and how to find relevant and trustworthy information online. After viewing and discussion a video about how search engines work, students will search for information about several unlikely animals. They’ll need to analyze the sites they find for reliability in order to identify which of the animals is actually a hoax.
Students will be able to:
- Use basic web searching techniques to find relevant information online
- Identify elements that contribute to a website’s trustworthiness or untrustworthiness
- Algorithm – A precise sequence of instructions for processes that can be executed by a computer
- Relevant – Closely connected or appropriate to the matter at hand
- Search Engine – A program that searches for and identifies items in a database that correspond to keywords or characters specified by the user, used especially for finding particular sites on the World Wide Web.
- Trustworthy – Able to be relied on as honest or truthful
Warm Up (10 minutes)
Internet Scavenger Hunt
- Get with a partner
- Open this file & MAKE A COPY of it by clicking the FILE menu and choosing MAKE A COPY. Type you and your partner’s names in place of COPY OF and share it with me firstname.lastname@example.org Internet Scavenger Hunt activity guide RECORD YOUR RESPONSES IN THIS SHARED GOOGLE DOC.
- When I start the clock you will have exactly 7 minutes to complete as much of this scavenger hunt as you can. Your goal isn’t to answer every question on this list, but to find as much accurate information as possible in the time you’ve been given.
- Which things were hardest to find?
- Which were easiest to find?
- What strategies did you use to find things online?
- How did you know the information you found was correct?
Activity (30 minutes)
Relevant and Trustworthy Sites
- Watch the How Search Works – Video
- Now that we know a little bit more about how search engines work, we’re going to search for some information about some of the world’s strangest animals.
- Get with a partner
- Open this file & MAKE A COPY of it by clicking the FILE menu and choosing MAKE A COPY. Type you and your partner’s names in place of COPY OF and share it with me email@example.com Strange But True Animals activity guide. Read the directions & do it. RECORD YOUR RESPONSES IN THIS SHARED GOOGLE DOC.
- Share out your answers for each of animals.
- What does Trustworthy mean?
- You did a great job finding websites that were relevant to your search. You found a lot of interesting information about those strange animals, but is any of it real? You and your partner have five minutes to decide which of these animals are real, and which are made up. For each of your decisions you’ll need some supporting evidence that shows why your source websites are either trustworthy, or untrustworthy.
- Share out your assessment of trustworthy and untrustworthy sites. Provide detailed reasons for why you trust a site or not.
The Trustworthiness Checklist
- Get into groups of 4-5
- Now that we’ve identified some sites that are, and are not, trustworthy, work with your group to come up with a list of things to check for when trying to determine whether or not to believe a website.
Wrap Up (5 minutes)
Human versus Computer Searching
In an email message to firstname.lastname@example.org: Think about your own websites – do you think people would find your site trustworthy or untrustworthy? What changes could you make to your site to encourage users to trust your content? How did class go today?