Mrs. Loeffler and Ms. Wyssenbach have had their classes doing some research on various planets. The classes have either divided up in groups or done the research individually, but in both cases, the class reconvened toward the end of class time to discuss and share their findings.
As part of this exercise, we started discussions about credibility of information sources. Is ask.com a better source about the surface material of Mars than NASA’s Mars rover site? Is a newspaper article about a research project more credible than a report from the researchers themselves? At first, this seemed to be a new idea to many students, but when we framed it in terms of everyday life… for example, who would you trust more for directions to get some place? Someone who goes there every day, or someone who went there once a long time ago? When they put it in the context of their day-to-day experience, this seemed to really click.
It was apparent that most students do not inherently consider the credibility of the sources of their information, so I think this kind of practice is great training in logical/scientific thinking.