Web Evaluation Rubric
(Thanks to: Tammy Payton tpayton@dmrtc.net)

Name of Site: The Great Plant Escape
URL:  http://www.urbanext.uiuc.edu//gpe/index.html
Browser Used:  Netscape Navigator
Connection: 56K modem

                                  Ratings:  1 = Poor 5 =Exceptional

Navigability is good.  Links are clearly labeled. 
Can move from page to page easily.
  1   2   3   4   5
This site offers interactivity. The visitor 
engages with the site. 
  1   2   3   4   5
 This site uses appropriate page format.
 Pages are not inordinately long. 
  1   2   3   4   5
 Can easily find information.   1   2   3   4   5
This site is aesthetically appealing.
Good use of graphics and color. 
  1   2   3   4   5
This site is aesthetically courteous.
Text and background colors do not clash.
   1   2   3   4   5

Has a proper title.   1   2   3   4   5
Additional resource links are included.  1   2   3   4   5
 Information is useful.  1   2   3   4   5
 Rich content and will likely be revisited.  1   2   3   4   5
 How this website compares in content to 
 similar websites. 
 1   2   3   4   5

 Technical Elements 
All links work.   1   2   3   4   5
Thumbnail graphics used. Graphics download quickly.  1   2   3  4   5
Alternative text page is offered when heavy
graphics or frames are used. 
 1   2   3   4   5
Image links and image maps have a text alternative.  1   2   3   4   5
Can see meaningful information within 30 seconds.  1   2   3   4   5

Contact person is stated with their e-mail address.   1   2   3   4   5
Announces when this page was last updated. 
Links have been kept current. 
 1   2   3   4   5
Resource links used to develop content are included.  1   2   3   4   5
States the name of the host school or institution.  1   2   3   4   5
                                                 Total Possible Points = 100         Score = 99

Comments:  The Great Plant Escape, is an elementary program for 4th and 5th grade students, who solve mystery cases by developing an understanding of all the information presented in the unit.  The cases cover the basics of plants, for instance, Case #1 introduces the parts of the plant and what plants need to grow.  Each of the lessons in this program is interdisciplinary, designed to introduce students to plant science and increase their understanding of how foods grow. An added feature, students  have the opportunity to ask Detective LePlant a question.  Activities enhance student's math, science, language arts, social studies, music and art.

The teacher has many options in this program. Any or all of the suggested activities may be used for the class.  Many activities are for students to        work independently and some are for group work.  Each case begins with a "Before You Begin" section for the teacher.  The "Background" section provides the teacher with all the information shared in the lesson.  Also included are diagrams and illustrations.  Particularly helpful in the "Glossary" which is "consulted" if a student does not know the meaning of a linked term.  The "Green Links" section not only provides websites and books but also grants and gardening supplies.

While the site is aimed at fourth and fifth grade, I feel the site could be adapted for a lower grade, third, which is where plants are taught in my school district.  If nothing else, while utilizing a large screen projection device, the teacher could read the information from the screen and assist the students in understanding the material. I plan to share this with my third grade team who has been searching for up-to-date materials for their plant unit!

This excellent site is sponsored by the Urban Programs Resource network, University of Illinois Extension.  Also sponsored by this network is the Adventures of Herman, an earthworm site, and Walk in My Shoes, a lesson what happens to our bodies as we age, and last, A Guide to the Babysitting Business