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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Great White Sharks

by
 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

3.75 stars
Content Quality: 3.5 stars
Effectiveness: 3.5 stars
Ease of Use: 4 stars
Reviewed: Mar 30, 2014 by Biology Editorial Board
Overview: This is a website dedicated to some basic information on great white sharks. The website is geared towards students with little knowledge about sharks, including K-4 grades. The site also has links to information on sharks in general and other shark species.This site is a single species page out of a much larger site dedicated to all sharks and rays. This site takes any interested person into the world of the shark, into their domain, and really helps us to appreciate how the sharks see us. The visual aids are detailed enough to see the make-up of the shark’s anatomy. This really caters to smaller children who like marine life, this would provide help if they were to receive a project that deals with marine life. It also explains topics such as the sharks diet, distribution even their senses. If more information or images are required there are links to higher level sites.
Learning Goals: No specific goals are listed on the site. It is clearly aimed at middle and high school students interested in sharks who want general information on the Great White Shark.
Target Student Population: The target student population includes upper elementary school grades and middle school students.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: No prerequisites needed for content other than basic reading skills. Basic math skills are needed for activity.
Type of Material: This is a reference material page with one related math activity.
Recommended Uses: This site can be used as an in-class supplement or homework assignment.
Technical Requirements: The site is html based with no flash or other requirements that opens in Safari, IE, and Firefox.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 3.5 stars
Strengths:
  • The material is of some interest to young students curious about marine life
  • The site contains specific information about great white sharks: size, coloration, fit and feeding, habitat, distribution, and other interesting topics about sharks
  • Diagrams are clear, simple, and accurate
  • There is a link to a much more detailed site at the UCMP Berkeley
Concerns:
  • The information provided is not completely accurate and is sometimes not well explained or integrated; this includes problems with the explanation of the role of countershading, some errors in the way white sharks sense the environment, and problems with the habitat description
  • Links to videos or animations would enhance the site

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 3.5 stars
Strengths:
  • The site would be very useful for elementary and possibly middle school assignments as homework
  • Site could be used as an in-class supplement
  • Site will engage students' interest
  • Information is organized by topics
  • Site also contains coloring printouts and a first grade activity
  • Site has references to books and another web site
Concerns:
  • Site information is limited to lower grades although link could be used for more advanced levels
  • The information is not easily integrated in a cohesive activity

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths:
  • Information is organized under logical, informative headings
  • Text is written at an appropriate level for lower grades
  • Information is presented in short bits
Concerns: There is a lack of instruction or ways in which the material could be applied. The visuals could be more appealing. The font is hard to read, small and some of the colors are distracting.