Activity Introduction

storm-lightningQuick summary: Students look at information reliability on the Internet. They begin by assessing the motivations and opinions of a range of websites that appear in response to a general search term, and then they research and categorise website extensions according to reliability. They are then asked to compare information found in books to internet-based information. Finally, they create a checklist for website validity.

These activities “… are an invaluable tool for teachers to address climate change in an educationally relevant, scientifically sound, and action-­based way.” – Tim Flannery (Read more)

Learning goals:

  • Students understand the variety of website extensions and are able to evaluate websites according to self generated criteria.
  • Students are capable of critical analysis of web-based information.

General capabilities: Critical and creative thinking, ICT capability.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.1, OI.5.

Australian Curriculum content description:

Year 7 & 8 Digital Technologies

  • Acquire data from a range of sources and evaluate authenticity, accuracy and timeliness (ACTDIP025)

Topic: We Are the Weather Makers

Time required: 60 mins

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – oversee activity and facilitate discussion

Resources required: Internet access, student worksheets.

Digital technology opportunities: Internet searching and analysis, digital sharing capabilities.

Homework and extension opportunities: Includes opportunities for homework or extension.

Key reading from We Are the Weather Makers: Chapter 14 – Extreme Weather

Keywords: Internet, website, information, reliability, validity, website extensions.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.

Cool Australia would like to acknowledge:

  • Tim Flannery
  • David Harding, Rose Iser, Sally Stevens
  • Text Publishing and Purves Environmental Fund
  • Climate Council



Teacher Worksheet

storm-lightningTeacher preparation

Overarching learning goal: By participating in this activity students will understand a variety of website extensions and are able to evaluate website according to self generated criteria. They will also participate in a critical analysis of web-based information.

Teacher content information: How can you find reliable information on climate change on the Internet? Start with these steps:

1. Understand the meaning of climate change. The term climate change is generally used to refer to ‘anthropogenic climate change’ (changes in climate due to human activity). Although this issue was first referred to as ‘global warming’, the term climate change has effectively come to incorporate both global warming and the greenhouse effect, mainly because climate change reflects the unfortunate reality that a changing climate means all sorts of variations in climate across the globe, such as hotter or colder or wetter or drier or stormier.

2. Keep your eyes on the science. Alth

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: Which websites do you trust?

Part 1. In 25 words or less, summarise the class discussion around the following points:

Where did people get information before the Internet? Are these sources still available and do you use them?
How reliable do you think information on the Internet is and why?


Part 2. Read the quote from We Are the Weather Makers. How do you think the effects humans have had on the atmosphere are changing our weather patterns? Log onto Google and enter the following phrase: ‘climate change versus weather’.

How many results did you get?

Read through the top 10 sites and summarise them below. Include what line of argument these websites represent e.g. that climate change is the result of human activity or that it’s just part of the natural cycle of weather and climate. Also consider such things as how opinions are expressed, agencies and organisations represented, use of science, and is it a personal blog or a website from an institution?

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