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 reveal dihydrogen monoxide as an obscure name for water.

Learning goal

To understand the importance of evaluating information and comparing sources.

Support materials


  1. Photocopy evaluation form or put questions on board or overhead for students to answer on their own paper.
  2. Form pairs and distribute assignment to form a position on whether or not dihydrogen monoxide should be banned. Discuss as needed to check for understanding. Distribute evaluation pages or direct attention to the questions on board or overhead and discuss as needed. Help students to access the website and begin their assessment of it. Instruct students to spend 10 minutes reviewing the site and completing the evaluation.
  3. After 10 minutes, discuss their reactions to dihydrogen monoxide, directing students to add to their evaluation sheets as needed.
  4. Instruct students to continue their research to locate other sites discussing dihydrogen monoxide. After students discover the true identity of dihydrogen monoxide, discuss their reactions to the website.
  5. Distribute an article from the "press kit" section of http://www.dhmo.org/ or play NPR commentator Robert Siegel's interview with the site's creator, Professor Tom Way, http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1791960 (approximately 4 minutes).
  6. Discuss what features of the website convinced them that the information was true. In pairs or as a class, generate a list of steps to take in evaluating information.


Students may be graded on their participation in the website evaluation, the discussions, and the list of steps to take in evaluating information. If a written assessment is desired, students might reflect on the experience.

Think a reference page is in order?? What else?? Did you get my note about not knowing what I'm doing with the 2 aspects of the buILder tool? Its 4:30, and i think i need a nap!

Looks good. I would throw in a reference page for good measure. I sent you an email about the buILder site. It looks like we need to create a "web based lesson" that uses buILder as the html editor. Apparently, just creating a lesson plan is not what we need to do. I think we can definitely keep it on our wiki. I imagine we could tweak it and put it in buILder. I think I will need a little time to play with it some more. I started putting something together based on what we did but it is a little confusing still. We create a lesson that can be seen by the students and used by them or is it simply for the teachers to see? Follow the path I sent you and then let me know.