Steve Hoven, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, On the Cutting Edge
This activity takes at least one class period depending on the capabilities of the students, nature of the event, whether activity serves as homework or is done in class.Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»
See how this Activity supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
High School: 4 Science and Engineering Practices
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Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy |
- This activity can be used in conjunction with almost any climate or energy topic and helps students apply scientific concepts to topics in the media. This can be an effective way to engage students with the topics, and help them see how climate and energy are closely tied to current events and news stories.
- This activity can be helpful for dislodging misconceptions and for arming students with the skills needed to defend scientific thinking. However, educators should be sensitive to the idea that some students hold onto ideas due to values and ideology, and science may not be the only factor in influencing people's opinions. Care should be taken to be considerate of students' personal values.
- It is very important to guide students toward credible sources of information, especially at the high school level, otherwise students' Internet searches may unwittingly reinforce a misconception.
- Guidelines for assessing what is "true" would be helpful, especially at the high school level.
About the Science
- This activity gives students practice in an essential part of scientific thinking: using science to weigh in on a claim made in the media.
- This activity is consistent with recommendations in the climate literature that students be taught media literacy skills, and scientists should engage more often in public discourse about climate change.
- Comments from expert scientist:
This is a GREAT assignment for students to begin to understand how real-world research operates. As stated in the description of the assignment, it might be helpful to direct students to where they can gather their sources from.
- lots of freedom for students to navigate their own research
- data management skills required
- researching for reliable information
- experimental design (problem --> data --> conclusion)
- real-world, concrete issues addressed
- Requires learning of the scientific principles AND data behind hurricanes and sea ice
About the Pedagogy
- This short activity presents students with an excerpt from a media source about a particular current event (i.e., global warming and Antarctic sea ice extent; global warming and Hurricane Sandy) related to climate change and asks them to answer to the question "Is This True?" with a documented and data-supported response.
- Activity is flexible in that it can be applied to any issue and the degree of sophistication required can be tailored to fit a given classroom. The exact format is intentionally left flexible so that the idea can be adopted for current events and topics of the day.
- This resource engages students in using scientific data.
See other data-rich activities
Next Generation Science Standards See how this Activity supports:
Science and Engineering Practices: 4
HS-P4.1:Analyze data using tools, technologies, and/or models (e.g., computational, mathematical) in order to make valid and reliable scientific claims or determine an optimal design solution.
HS-P7.2:Evaluate the claims, evidence, and/or reasoning behind currently accepted explanations or solutions to determine the merits of arguments.
HS-P7.3:Respectfully provide and/or receive critiques on scientific arguments by probing reasoning and evidence, challenging ideas and conclusions, responding thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, and determining additional information required to resolve contradictions.
HS-P8.4: Evaluate the validity and reliability of and/or synthesize multiple claims, methods, and/or designs that appear in scientific and technical texts or media reports, verifying the data when possible.