Posts filed under ‘Inquiry and critical thinking’
Here’s what we did today in the wake of this:
And also, let’s be honest, because trying to get across the importance of using reliable sources and evidence is one of the hardest concepts and skills to teach. Something that might help keep democracy working.
Here’s what worked so well today that we were stunned when the bell went. So interesting to hear their thoughts about all this.
1. What is ‘truth’? Are there different kinds of truth? Why does truth matter? How is science related to truth? Similies? Opposites? Is it good or bad? When? Examples of useful truths and destructive lies. Write on your whiteboard. Share out in a ‘Socrates Seminar’
2. Write about truth for 5 minutes in your journal.
3. Look up ‘truth’ on Wikipedia. Translate to simple English. How does it compare to what you wrote?
4. Read about fake news. Pick any of these:
- Snopes.com list of fake sites and definition of ‘click-bait‘.
- SF Chronicle Students and Fake News article.
- Why Fake News is written – NY Times article about the election.
- Here is a fact-checking site – Snopes.com or FactCheck.org Find something that surprised you.
- And a NYTimes article about the effect of social media and our grip on the fact-checked truth.
- Fake news compared to real news in the run up to the election. Vox article and graph.
- The effect of fake news on international elections NYTimes article
- Ways to spot fake news from USAToday
5. Answer at least a couple of these questions in your journal:
- What is ‘fake news’? Why is it created?
- What was the most surprising ‘fake news’ you found? What was so surprising?
- Why do people write, believe and spread fake news?
- How can you tell if news or information is fake or reliable?
- Why is fake news such an important issue in society right now? What are hallmarks of reliable, evidence-based information?
- What can you and your friends do to improve the amount of real news shared on social media?
6. Discuss what you learned about the importance of evidence-based information in science and in society. (And therefore why it’s important to use and cite reliable sources!)
Noticing patterns in data is a story – the initial ‘set’ is the experimental question. The data has hidden in it the resolution, at least partially. Like a joke with a set, an expected outcome and the sudden switch to something that is incongruous and yet makes sense. Unexpected truth looked at in a different way: why scientists are so fascinated is at least in a way, similar to reading a compelling and complex story that in science, never really ends.
How wrap up the cool shoe box competition: data collection and analysis with a minimum of time wasting frustration…
Conclusions have always been a boring minefield. What did you find out? How sure are you? And kids always say either ‘very sure (because can’t be bothered to think too hard and don’t want to admit to playing with their cell phones under the desk the whole period) or some kind of pat answer like ‘we could have made sure to time it better’. But most really don’t get that analyzing an experiment for uncontrolled variables is an application of the sibling rivalry keen “It’s not fair!” And it’s usually not. Remember when you got to stay up later than I ever did at your age, Diana? Let’s not get into who sits by the window on car trips…
So Dr. Stupid came in today to drop rulers through children’s hands to find the effect of light level on reaction times as a practice run to remind students how to identify the experimental and responding variables, and how to spot the unfairness aka the uncontrolled variables and other bad practice. Then I assessed them on “Who has faster reaction times – boys or girls?” using the “A Grading Policy”. And that’s working out okay too – I get a quick snapshot of who gets it without getting mired in a point for this and not for that tedium. The repairs and redos will be on Monday after coaching while the kids who pass do science news activity.
At the end, they wrote “The ice cube experiment we did was unfair because….”
Seriously better than previous years. Really cool to point out how naturally they are scientists. And much more fun, especially sharing unfair sibling stories, some of which are at least perceived as wildly unfair. Justice: let’s play that forward too.
This mini-project within a project showed the benefit of giving kids more freedom to design and do their own experiments.
Let’s do launch… of the first proper PBL project this school year. Lots of ‘failing forward’ going on as we attempt to get kids to ‘Cool the School’.
What’s on offer at the BIE conference including resources for PBL successfully implemented.