Sunday, October 6, 2013

Determining Accuracy and Validity of Online Information - Algebra I

Determining the Accuracy and Validity of Online Information - Algebra I

Online reading comprehension can be integrated at any level of math.  The following is a unit that can be used for upper middle school and high school Algebra I.  This unit is designed to not only teach students how to determine if information they find online is accurate and valid, but also to provide a different instructional strategy for teaching math content.

Algebra I Unit - Scatter Plots, Trend Lines, and Online Reading Comprehension

Overview and Day 1:
This unit will focus primarily on scatter plots and trend lines.  The students will be required to complete online research using online reading comprehension strategies.  Prior to beginning the actual math portion of the lesson, students will spend one day completing an online reading comprehension activity that teaches them how to conduct basic searches online and determine the validity of a resource.

Students will watch the PowerPoint presentation titled “Wading Through the Web”.  This PowerPoint and lesson is from the Read Think Write website and can be found at the following link: Wading Through the Web

While they are watching the presentation, students will each have a laptop that has Internet access so they can follow along during the presentation and conduct searches.  They will complete the worksheet that goes with the PowerPoint as well.

At the end of class, the teacher will discuss with the students how it will relate to tomorrow’s lesson where they will need to conduct research online.

Throughout the unit, students will be required to keep a journal on either their own blog or the class blog. 

Day 1 Homework:  Students will complete a blog entry on the class blog and discuss one strategy they learned about researching information on the Internet.

Day 1 Homework Rubric

Material Need for Day 1:
-  Laptops with Internet for all students
-  Wading Through the Web PowerPoint presentation
-  Wading Through the Web worksheet

Day 2:
After day one, students will then begin the math lesson where they will be asked to collect data on bone measurements of a skeleton and foot and height measurements of themselves and their partner.  They will then conduct research on the Tunxis Indians and Will Warren from Farmington, Connecticut.  In addition, they will gather information using the Internet on historical heights of human from different time periods.

Students will work in cooperative pairs to complete today’s activity.  They will be handed the following worksheet to receive an introduction to the lesson: Day 2 - Get Ready Worksheet

After reading through the introduction worksheet, students will begin working on the data collection portion of the activity.  Day 2 - Data Collection Worksheet

Stations will be set up around the room to allow each group to complete the worksheet.  There will be seven stations, three which will require Internet access, two that will have skeleton bones to measure, one where they will measure themselves, and the final station will be based on the introduction worksheet.

Once the students have rotated around to all of the stations, they will compare their results with another cooperative group.  If time permits, the students will work on converting the height units from station 7.

Day 2 Homework:  Students will blog about the process they used to complete the online research.  They will need to discuss what process they used to find the necessary information.  Did they use specific keywords?  How they did decide which sites to use for what information?  Did they notice anything different on any sites that told them they should or should not use the site as a reliable source?

Day 2 Homework Rubric

Material Need for Day 2:
-  At least 3 laptops/computers with Internet access
-  Two separate bone pieces of a skeleton
-  Measuring tapes at three stations
-  Data Collection Worksheet
- Calculators

Day 3:
Students will complete data collection from the whole class and use computer to enter the data on a spreadsheet.  They will then create graphs, analyze the data and create algebraic equations to represent the relationship between two variables.  In addition, they will find the mean of the classes’ measurements.

Students will work with their cooperative pairs again to complete today’s activity.  Each group member will receive the data analysis worksheet and a measuring tape. Day 3 - Data Analysis Worksheet

Each group will measure their femur and tibia bones and provide the information to the teacher who will type the results into a spreadsheet which will be projected on the board.  (If there is not projection available, a table can be constructed on the board which students can fill in their information)

Students will then work in cooperative pairs to create scatter plots of the information.  After all the data is placed on the scatter plots, students will draw lines of best fit for both sets of data.  They will then create separate equations for the two scatter plots by using two points from each line.  With the equation they will be able to answer the remaining questions on the worksheet.

Day 3 Homework: Students will comment on at least one other student's blog entry that they found similar to their own experience when conducting the online research.

Day 3 Homework Rubric

Material Need for Day 3:
-  Teacher needs access to a computer with a spreadsheet program and projection capabilities for the entire class to see the information on the spreadsheet.
-  Data Analysis Worksheet
-  Calculators
-  Rulers
-  Measuring Tapes

Day 4:
Students will make predictions on bone lengths and circumferences of bones from the data collected the previous classes.  They will create algebraic equations to relate the year and the height of both men and women throughout multiple time periods.

Students will continue to work in cooperative pairs to complete today’s worksheet.  Day 4 - Prediction Worksheet

They will use information gathered from days 2 and 3 to complete the worksheet and make predictions.  In addition, students will create algebraic equations to demonstrate the relationship between the year and a person’s height based on gender.  If time permits at the end of class, students will share with the entire class the solutions they found. They will also share what resources they used to find the information.

Day 4 Homework: Students will work with their group partners and look up one of the websites that another group used to conduct the research. They will use the ORC strategies that they learned on Day 1 to determine if the site had valid information. After they have reviewed the site, they will collaborate with their partner and write a reflection on the class blog about whether or not the site was valid using the ORC strategies to justify their reflection.

Day 4 Homework Rubric

Materials Needed for Day 4:
-  Data Prediction Worksheet
-  Worksheets from days 2 and 3

Day 5:
Students will create a slide presentation documenting their finding.  They will also provide a reflection piece in the presentation that will address the strategies they used when conducting the online research.

To conclude the unit, students will work in their cooperative pairs to create a slide show presentation.  The presentation will be based on a scenario similar to the Will Warren situation.  They will need to address all of the areas in the rubric and provide a reflection on what they found was useful when conducting research online and any strategies they learned from Day 1 that they applied to their project.

Day 5 - Presentation Grading Rubric

Homework Day 5: Students will complete a final blog entry on the entire ORC process that they used when completing their project. In addition, they will reflect on working with their group partner on the project and what they found helpful when working with another individual when conducting an assignment that requires online reading comprehension.
Day 5 Homework Rubric

Materials Needed For Day 5:
- Computer for each cooperative pair with Internet access
- Worksheets from the previous classes

Day 6:
Students will present their presentation to the class.

Materials Needed for Day 6:
-  Individual group presentations
-  Computer with projection capabilities

Common Core
The following 8th Grade Algebra I Common Core standards will be addressed within this lesson:

Linear, Quadratic and Exponential Models
HSF-LE.A.1 - Distinguish and compare linear, quadratic, and exponential models and solve problems.

HSF-LE.A.2 - Construct linear and exponential functions, including arithmetic and geometric sequences, given a graph, a description of a relationship, or two input-output pairs.

Interpreting Categorical and Quantitative Data
HSS-ID.B.6 - Represent data on two quantitative variables on a scatter plot, and describe how the variables are related.
HSS-ID.C.8 - Compute (using technology) and interpret the correlation coefficient of a linear fit.

Statistics and Probability
8.SP.A.1 - Construct and interpret scatter plots for bivariate measurement data to investigate patterns of association between two quantities.
8.SP.A.2 - Know that straight lines are widely used to model relationships between two quantitative variables.

Works Cited:

- Day 1's lesson is from, a wonderful website that provides classroom resources and lesson plans to assist teachers.

- The worksheets from Days 2-5 are from the Connecticut State Department of Education Algebra I curriculum. Some of the worksheets were modified to focus on the online reading comprehension strategies used in the unit.


  1. Hi, I think this looks great. I especially like how you take the online resources and bring it right back to real-world experiences by having students think about specific aspects that they can relate bone density and height. I'd be excited to see their reactions as they work across this information.

    I'd also suggest having students journal, or document their learning process as they work across these texts. It would be interesting to see the strategies they use as they try to make sense of all of this information and work.

    Great job!!!!

    1. Thank you for the feedback. I wanted to make sure I was on the right track. I like the idea of having them document the learning process. I will incorporate it into the unit, maybe as homework for each night. I will brainstorm a few ideas, but you will see it added by the time it is official due. Thank you again.