Check the Facts - Wiki-based Editing and Writing
District: Capital Region BOCES, NERIC
School District Representative: Steven Janover
SLO Project Name: Check the Facts - Wiki-based  Editing and Writing
Authored by: Steven Janover
Homepage address:
Grade Levels: 9
Subject Areas: Social Studies, English
Learning Context:

   Actual Learning Standards Referenced:


Students will be assessed on:

  • their ability to work together with other students in a collaborative authoring environment (wiki).
  • discussion and active listening skills.
  • writing skills - proper spelling and grammatical conventions and maintain consistent style, formatting, and tone.
  • the use of wiki conventions: document summaries, table of contents, and correct source citations in the article's organizational structure.
  • the number of factual errors.

Student Outcomes (Exemplars):

1) Student is able to use a wiki for collaborative document authoring.
2) The student is able to correctly cite Internet and book-based sources.
3) Student is able to participate in the Summary and Wrap-up activity.
4) Students should be able to apply some of the procedures and methodology learned in this project to other topics in history and in other subject areas.


The objective of this wiki-based exercise is to have students collaboratively make factual corrections and additions to a sample wiki article. The class will be divided into four groups with no more than five students in each group. The topic is Ancient Sumer. The article has some factual errors and mistakes. Students need to use credible Internet and book-based sources to correct the factual mistakes. Additionally, the student groups will be assigned to complete empty and short sections of the article.

All submissions must include citations in MLA format. Students should use the Citation Machine website to cite the sources which need to be entered in the Sources area of the article.

The class should be divided into four or five groups, with no more than five students in a group. Give each group a name, i.e., Akkadians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Elamites, etc.

(Instructions for Students)

  1. Logon to the wiki website with your assigned username and password.
  2. Click on the Check the Facts link.
  3. Read the article, “Wiki Etiquette.”
  4. Locate your group’s folder in the article, Ancient Sumer. This will be your workspace.
  5. Read the entire article - Meet with your classmates via the wiki or in person and decide which section of the article you wish to correct, complete or append.
  6. Every content addition you make must be cited in the Sources area in MLA format.
  7. After the end of the exercise, your submissions and participation level will be reviewed and evaluated by your instructor. (See Grading Rubric)
Note: Everyone must correct, complete or append at least one section. Use correct spelling and proper grammar in your submissions.
Use the Discussion area (discussion tab) to conference with your fellow group members. You may share a section with a classmate, but both group members need to make changes to the section.
Note: If you cannot mutually agree on what sections to correct and complete, please contact your instructor and you will be assigned an area.

Periods 1 and 2: Introduction to Topic - The instructor introduces the topic and explains the objectives, terminology, and rationale for exploring the topic. Information listed above can be used. Students are introduced to the functions and features of a wiki and given practice time in the Wiki Sandbox.  Instructor also introduces information on citing sources. Homework: Watch Videos.

Period 3: Students read the article, “Wiki Etiquette.”  Collaborative group assignments and meetings begin.  Students decide which part of the article they will complete. Homework: Read articles online.

Period 4: Exploration and research time.

Period 5: Article completion time.

Period 6: Summary and Wrap-up -  Grades for the exercise based on the Grading Rubric

Instructional Modifications: large typeface display for visually impaired students may be used.

Time Required: Six forty minute class periods.

Resources (materials):
   Watch these Videos:
          Ancient Sumer
            Sumer, The First Civilization from Wikipedia

   Web sites utilized:

Ancient Civilizations -
Ancient Sumer History in Mesopotamia -
Citation Machine
Hammurabi's Code -
Mesopotamia - The British Museum -
Mr. Dowling's Mesopotamia Page -
NERIC Wiki -
Wikipedia -


This project can be adapted to other topics in history, such as U.S. History and Geography, and for elementary and middle school students.