I introduced my students to their research project, ‘Adopt a Pet,’ where they would choose an animal to research, collect two legitimate websites, take notes (in their own words) and write a short letter to their parents/guardians, convincing them to buy that animal as a pet!
To start, I did a short presentation on How Do I Research? helping them identify parts of a website, find good sources, and determine what made a good source or not.
Then I gave them one of their first worksheets, The C.R.A.P. Test, which they would fill out as they started finding websites, to make sure that the websites they chose were Current, Reliable, had good Authors, and a strong sense of Purpose.
I created the worksheets with one goal in mind–make sure the students were able to identify, on their own, websites that would be good to use for this project. I had them start with this, and circled the classroom to answer questions, help students who were stuck, and navigate students through parts of a website.
The CRAP Test worksheet looked something like the preview image to the left. I shared this document with the students and had them record the website name, URL, author, and other important information in the CRAP Test to prove that they had a good website.
This turned out to be an awesome teaching opportunity, as I was able to be very hands-on and help students see where things like copyright date or date of last update were, as well as the difference between author and organization (or how these could be one and the same sometimes!)
I even stopped the lesson at one time to do a spur-of-the-moment mini-lesson on Wikipedia, and how it isn’t considered a credible source. I really hope this helps my students as they move into high middle school and high school!
The next step after the CRAP Test? Adopt a Pet Activity Notes.
To read an evaluation on this lesson by my facilitator at Waldorf College, click here.