Reflection: Complex Tasks Assessing the Validity of Facts - Section 3: The Big Idea


Months ago, the English department collaborated with the history department on the National History Day project. This was the first year that we'd collaborated, and I believe that in spite of all the kinks, it was a beneficial collaboration.  It was so beneficial that I'd love to collaborate again next year and I'm talking to science teachers to see if we can do the same type of collaboration with them.

One of the skills that I didn't cover too much for the National History Day project was assessing the validity of sources and facts. Part of this was because we start the year off with literature, not nonfiction, but next year, we've been talking about switching that around.  If we teach the structure of nonfiction early in the year, there will be benefits for the National History Day collaboration as well as giving students the tools to read nonfiction in other content areas.

And as students start researching for their National History Day Project, we can have students practice nonfiction reading by reading about how to conduct searches using Google and EBSCO, and evaluating the credibility of both sources and facts.  The Purdue OWL website, of course, has tons of information that can be used.  They've got articles on what research is, primary research, evaluating sources of information, searching the web, and more. 

  Assessing the Credibility of Sources
  Complex Tasks: Assessing the Credibility of Sources
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Assessing the Validity of Facts

Unit 9: What Happened to Emmett Till?: Analyzing Multiple Sources to Discover History
Lesson 6 of 10

Objective: Students will be able to assess the validity of facts by comparing and contrasting the facts that three different authors use to tell Emmett Till's story.

Big Idea: Three authors, three interpretations, one truth.

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