The Stink Test: Validating Resources
Louise Huffman, Ice Drilling Program Office Climate Expeditions
Even though this resource does not explicitly address CLEPs or ELEPs, it does fill the need for educational resources that teach students how to accurately assess if a source is scientifically valid or not. It also addresses NGSS Science and Engineering Practice standards ("engaging in an argument from evidence"; and "obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information").
This learning activity takes one 45 min class period.Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»
This Activity builds on the following concepts of Climate Literacy.
Click a topic below for supporting information, teaching ideas, and sample activities.
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Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy |
- The STINK rubric is student-friendly and can be used for assessing any source, not just scientific. The extension suggestions are useful and practical.
About the Science
- This activity allows students to follow a developed framework to test whether sources of information are reliable. It does not specifically teach about climate or scientific topics, but can be used with climate or science related topics and sources of information.
- Comments from expert scientist:
- The resource demonstrates how to recognize an author’s bias, prejudice and purpose, including examples such as: use of inflammatory language, an author that consistently makes claims not supported by the evidence, an author who consciously ignores information that might suggest a different conclusion, an author who manufactures or dishonestly cites evidence to shed a more positive light
- Provides a quantitative way to judge a source for its credibility ( 0-59 = Stinky! Don’t trust it! 60-79 = A bit smelly. Check other sources. 80-89% = Sweet! 90-100% = Smells like a rose— very trustworthy!)
- There are no scientific articles connected to this resource for students to review, the articles are selected based on the educator's preference. Might be helpful to provide one example of a stinky article and one example of a trustworthy article.
About the Pedagogy
- This activity equips students with a framework from which they can determine how reliable sources of scientific information are. This is applicable outside of this particular activity and will help students as they encounter information on the internet.
- The STINK Test is a simple and effective mnemonic device that steps students through a straightforward method in assessing the quality of sources: S= source of information, T= timely, I= important information, N= no bias, K= knowledge accuracy