In this sequence of introductory lessons, we present students with an imagined scenario: their school board is weighing whether to make Saturday school mandatory for everyone, and they want to hear students’ opinions on the proposed policy. When students share their opinions with the board, they should have trustworthy sources and strong evidence to support them. To this end, students complete a series of structured activities to evaluate online sources and evidence about Saturday school. Each lesson in the sequence introduces students to a new Civic Online Reasoning question (Who’s behind the information? What’s the evidence? What do other sources say?), helps students understand why the question is important, and gives students practice using it.
The sources included in these three lessons are fictional accounts that we have created, often citing real sources and evidence. We’ve done this to help students zero in on the most salient aspects of evaluating each source. In this way, we can support students to develop new reasoning skills without overburdening them with complicated content that requires background knowledge. This approach should be familiar to teachers who have used the Reading Like a Historian Lunchroom Fight lesson.
Intro to Who's Behind the Information? Saturday School
Intro to What's the Evidence? Saturday School
Intro to What Do Other Sources Say? Saturday School
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