Where Exactly Am I?


Students learn about how to decode a URL and that it is the address for locating a web page. They also learn how to begin evaluating a site based on the top level domain (e.g. .com, .org, or .edu), as well as a few other tricks for determining the quality of the site.


After this lesson, students will


Hard copy of this lesson plan PowerPoint slides Now You Try It #4 (PDF) Now You Try It #4 (Word)



Time Activity


  • Review Lessons #2 & #3, using subscription databases, subject directories and search engines

Knowing Where You Are

  • Direct students to the lesson 4 student page
  • Where are you now? (School name)
  • How do you tell someone else? (School address)
  • A Web site has an address, too: Uniform Resource Locator (URL)
  • Tells the computer where the site is located.

Top-Level Domains

  • URLs can tell you a great deal about what is at a site
  • Assign students to one of the groups: North, South, East, or West. Have them click on the appropriate link on the student page and follow the instructions there to explore several web sites.
  • Have each group share out what they learned.
  • Top-level domains (.com, .org, .net, .edu, .gov) tell you what kind of person or organization runs the site:
    1. .com = commercial
    2. .org = organization (usually non-profit)
    3. .edu = educational institution (usually college)
    4. .gov = government agency
  • .edu and .gov are restricted; others are available to anyone who wants to use them
  • Personal web pages: the tilde (~)
  • What can you trust and why?
    1. www.amazon.com has good information about books. Why? (Better info will sell more books and keep more customers.)
    2. www.fi.edu (Franklin Institute) had to prove they were educational to get a “.edu” address
    3. www.nasa.gov (space program)

Brief Intro to Evaluation

  • Author and/or organization name
  • Date
  • Factual information

Now You Try It!

  • Student pairs do a Google search for their explorer and select 5 sites to read in more detail based on analysis of the URL and the site summary.
  • Choose two high-quality sites from your search and tell why you believe they will have useful and accurate information—use what you have learned in all of our lessons to support your choices.

Summary & Review

  • Review of all four lessons
  • Discussion of key points