New STEM-Aligned Lessons Released on Checkology®

Updates


Educators asked, and we’ve answered! In response to requests for STEM-aligned lessons on Checkology®️, the News Literacy Project’s free, browser-based virtual classroom, we’ve added a trio of new lessons: “Evaluating Science-Based Claims,” “Be Health Informed” and “Making Sense of Data.”

These lessons support students’ understanding of science and math principles, such as evaluating methods and evidence. They also incorporate real-world issues such as climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccines, medical and scientific misinformation, pseudoscience and conspiratorial thinking.

Educators in the sciences, mathematics and social studies will find these new lessons particularly useful for drawing connections to current events and information students encounter online. The lessons also make valuable additions to subjects such as journalism and history, providing or enhancing foundational understandings of science and data literacy.

Learn more about each of the lessons below.

“Evaluating Science-Based Claims” boosts students’ science literacy 

Evaluating science-based claims

Scientific findings have shaped our entire world, from our methods of transportation to how we communicate with one another. Most people don’t question the science behind everyday conveniences such as cars and cell phones, but topics such as climate change – which can disrupt our worldview and previous beliefs – can lead some to question the validity of science, regardless of the evidence and scientific consensus. In addition, some people use pseudoscience to support beliefs that have no scientific accuracy.

“Evaluating Science-Based Claims” teaches students how to evaluate science-based claims using an easy acronym, FLOATER (Falsifiability, Logic, Objectivity, Alternative explanations, Tentative conclusions, Evidence and Replicability), developed by the lesson’s host, Melanie Trecek-King. Trecek-King is a scientist and a teacher at Massasoit Community College in Brockton, Massachusetts. She advocates for science literacy on her website, thinkingispower.com.

“Be Health Informed” empowers students to evaluate health and wellness information 

Be health informed

We make decisions about our health and well-being all the time – from how much we sleep to which treatments we seek out when we get sick. The stakes couldn’t be higher where our health is concerned. The new Checkology lesson “Be Health Informed” teaches students how to spot health misinformation and discern which sources are credible and based on quality evidence, so they can avoid being misled.

Students learn to watch out for red flags when encountering misinformation. They also get a glimpse into why certain groups are vulnerable to health misinformation.

“Be Health Informed” is hosted by Dr. Melissa Clarke, the former assistant dean of the Howard University College of Medicine and CEO of the Be Health Empowered Group.

“Making Sense of Data” teaches students to be data savvy

Making sense of data

Data is all around us, whether we know it or not. When we pick up our phones, “like” something on social media or do a simple internet search, we are generating and being influenced by data.

In “Making Sense of Data,” students learn how to better understand and analyze the accuracy and credibility of data. Students discover how credible data is produced, why no data is objective or infallible, and what makes some data more valid than others. They also learn to recognize and avoid common pitfalls in how data is interpreted and visualized.

The lesson is hosted by Sisi Wei, a data journalist and the editor-in-chief of the nonprofit newsroom The Markup. Previously, she was the co-executive founder of OpenNews.

NLP’s new STEM-aligned lessons on Checkology were created with the generous support of our funders. Additional funding was provided by The Science Literacy Foundation and Smart Family Fund. 

Free educator event!

Explore all three new lessons in an educator webinar, “STEM-aligned media and news literacy lessons for your classroom,” on Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT. Melanie Trecek-King (host of “Evaluating Science-Based Claims”) and News Literacy Project staff will introduce the lessons and share how you can use them with your students. Register now.

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