Common Core Standards: ELA
SL.11-12.2. Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) in order to make informed decisions and solve problems, evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source and noting any discrepancies among the data.
Being bombarded by information on a constant basis can be stressful. In today’s world, the ability to sift through data and statistics can be daunting. Which material and evidence is reliable, credible, and accurate? With so much information and so many opposing viewpoints, it’s crucial that students be able to synthesize information delivered in a variety of ways, especially through multimedia.
The example that follows will get your students to warm up to the idea of being critical listeners. They will investigate an issue through the use of visual and oral media. They’ll collect information and make sense of it. In addition, they’ll determine which data is reliable, accurate, and credible.
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Global warming. Everyone’s talking about it. Everywhere you turn, in the newspaper, on the television, in documentaries, and in speeches, someone is spouting what they know and believe. Is what they say true? Or just a bunch of hogwash?
Collecting, understanding, and synthesizing all of the information out there on this timely subject is your task for today. You intend to make a “casebook”. This is a collection of information about global warming. It can take the form of statistics, examples, stories, comparisons, etc. As part of your research, you will listen to speeches and watch broadcasts and videos. You’ll determine what’s reliable, credible, and accurate. Then, you’ll have to make your own evaluation on where you stand. Yep, you’re the man! Or woman!
First, you watch a 2006 documentary by Al Gore entitled An Inconvenient Truth. As a lifelong environmental supporter, this former vice-president takes his work seriously. But is he an expert in the field? While not a scientist, Gore does use a variety of facts and statistics to support his beliefs. He argues that the earth is in crisis due to human behavior and consumption. Unfortunately, you further learn that several critics argue that Gore doesn’t seem to walk the talk. He lives on a vast estate and drives a gas-guzzler. Hmmm… something doesn’t add up here.
Second, you listen to a debate by two scientists, Dr. Scott Denning, expert and educator in the field of Atmospheric Science, and Dr. Roy Spencer, climatologist, author and former NASA scientist, about global warming. The video of their debate reveals that both men are knowledgeable about the subject. Each offers an opposing, but respectful, viewpoint, using fact, statistics, and anecdotes to support his theories. But, since they argue from differing perspectives, who can you trust?
Third, you view a 2009 60-Minute video segment on Global Warming by reporter Daniel Schorn. The news report offers compelling evidence that man is contributing to global warming, resulting in greenhouse gases. This, in turn, causes climate changes that result in astounding weather events such as Hurricane Katrina. Who knew? American scientist Bob Corell, who authored “Artic Climate Impact Assessment,” is the researcher interviewed for the report. Considering the reliability of this source, you note that a well-known scientist is used, the information is timely, and facts and statistics back up the claims. Seems to be a good source.
Finally, you must synthesize and evaluate the source and information provided. That means you will examine who is doing the talking, who is an expert in the field, what types of information are provided, how credible the information is, how current the work is, and which side of the global warming debate you are on. Do your sources offer solutions to the problem?
One thing you did notice was that there are many viewpoints to this issue and, since most of the sources are credible, it becomes complicated to decide whom you can really believe. Can global warming be stopped? Can the disastrous effects be fixed? That debate is still heating up!
Fill in the blanks:
When using resources, it is important that the information is _______________ and _______________________. In addition, the authors or publishers of those sources must be ____________ in their fields. Even when these guidelines are followed, very often information from sources can be __________________. While the written word is important, other types of media, such as ___________________ and _________________ can be used. Bringing together, or ____________, this information will help create a thesis and support that thesis with ____________ from the sources. Then, informed _____________ can be made and _____________ to problems can be found.
ANSWERS: credible, accurate, experts, conflicting, visual, oral, integrating, evidence, choices, solutions