Faux News: Energy

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Objective

SWBAT analyze, critique, and respond to a scientific conclusion in writing.

Big Idea

Students will read a (bogus) newspaper article and respond to the invalid scientific conclusions of Dr. Vonwisenhiemer.

Introduction

5 minutes

I told my class that I was reading the paper the other day, and I came across an interesting article.  I was kind of excited at first because of the conclusions they made, but something just seemed a little off about the article.  I told them I'd like to have them take a look at it, and I passed out the Faux News article to partners.  I had them read the article in partners because I did not want the decoding of the text to interfere with the comprehension, and my lowest readers all sit next to strong readers.

Discussion

5 minutes

I ask students to talk at their tables about what they thought about the letter.  Did the author's conclusions make sense?  I then called on just a few students to share their ideas with the class.  They shared the experiment was not a fair test, and offered alternative conclusions (He just hasn't practiced golf as much) as well as how the experiment could be corrected (Have the same person hit balls of both colors).  

Writing a Response

30 minutes

Next I pointed out that when I am reading the newspaper or magazines, I often see letters people write to the editor, telling them what they think of the article.  I told them as scientists they have a responsibility to help interpret and correct misinformation for people that may not understand it as well. I show them the address to reply, and tell them their assignment is to write a letter to the editor in which they explain what other conclusions could be made, and what errors Dr. Vonweisenhimer made.

From this point on, I treat this as a writing lesson, and expect that the letters are revised for clarity and edited for conventions.