Would you ban Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO)?

Presented by: Celeste-Marie Moore

Subject Area(s):

Grade Level(s):


Students evaluate two very real-looking websites 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 reveals dihydrogen monoxide as an obscure name for water.





Goals & Objectives:

Instructional Goals:

Students will:

-Conduct an internet research lesson using the buILder tool to access three websites on the internet. 

-Use the DUPED criterion to critically analyze the three websites.

-Gain skills on how to evaluate websites.

Learning Objectives: 

·        Student will be able to proceed through buILder.

·        Students will be able to locate and truncate a URL.

·        Student will be able to explain what a tilde in a URL means.

·        Students will be able to find a date when last updated on a webpage.

·        Students will be able to inspect a website and find an email address for contact purposes.

·        Students will be able to identify a pop up ad.

·        Students will be able to locate an author of a website.

·         Students will be able to evaluate a website using the DUPED criterion.


Laptop, LCD projector, computers, worksheet, PowerPoint http://www.informationliteracy.org/builder/builder.php?primaryid=255


American Association of School Librarians. (1998). Information Power: Building Partnerships for learning. Chicago: American Library Association.

Small, R.V. (2005) Designing Digital Literacy Programs with IM-PACT. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers.

McRel Standards Database: http://www.mcrel.com

The North American Bear Center: http://www.bear.org/Kids/KA_Home.html

Enchanted Learning Website: http://www.enchantedlearning.com/coloring/Hibernate.html

Teacher Files Website: http://www.teacherfiles.com

Mrs. Mary Sinclair, a Kindergarten teacher, who used a hibernating theme for one my daughter's classes. This sparked my interest in working with this lesson topic.


Introduction (5 minutes):  LMS will introduce the lesson.  Keep the introduction short so as not to tip off the students to the actual outcome of the lesson.

1.      Students will be using a new buILder tool similar to a webquest to do a mini research lesson.

2.      Direct student to website http://www.informationliteracy.org/builder/builder.php?primaryid=255

3.      Explain how the buILder works.  Ex.  Need to go to left bar and proceed through the steps in order.

 (methods, media, materials)Direct Instruction, hands on activity, computers, worksheet http://www.informationliteracy.org/builder/builder.php?primaryid=255



Body (30 minutes): Have students form pairs and begin the lesson at the home page.

  1. Have them read through Information challenge and Information task and then stop.

  2. Hand out photocopy of worksheet (available on the buILder site) or put questions on board or overhead for students to answer on their own paper. They must prove their sources are reliable so the mayor will listen to their advice.  Ask the students to decide if they want to ban DHMO. Explain the 5 components they will be looking for on each webpage.  Also explain not all of these items may be found on each page.

      D ate published or last updated

      URL of website

      Pop up ads on the webpage

      E –mail address to contact someone

      Who Designed and created the website

They may begin doing the tasks.  Allow about 5 minutes for each website. Reiterate that it would be beneficial if they read the text on the websites.

  1. After students complete the worksheet ask for a show of hands on their positions on whether or not to ban DHMO.   Some students will still not realize it is water. 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).

  2. Discuss their reactions to dihydrogen monoxide.

  3. After everyone realizes it is water.  Demonstrate with help of Powerpoint what features of the websites should have clued them to the fact these were unreliable sites.


(methods, media, materials)


Direct Instruction, Laptop, LCD projector, computers, PowerPoint, worksheet http://www.informationliteracy.org/builder/builder.php?primaryid=255





Learning Assessment Method(s): Worksheet asks the student to find date, email, url, pop up and ads.  The worksheet can be collected and graded by the collaborating teacher.  Also, teacher could ask students to demonstrate the skills learned such as truncate a URL.  It also could be a first grade in a larger project.

Supporting Files: