‘Facts’ aren’t always facts

Good morning everyone and happy post-halfterm Monday.

Doing a little reading over the weekend, I was amazed at this article on How Stuff Works. There were several items in there that really surprised me! Like how everyone says the Great Wall of China is visible from space- well, it’s NOT. And how old windowpanes look so uneven because glass behaves like a slow-moving liquid over hundreds of years. Apparently nonsense.

The Great Wall of China

It's Great, but it's not visible from space... image greatwallchina.info

I thought it was interesting because it points out a misconceptions that a lot of people share, and spread, confident that the information is genuine and interesting. It’s exactly the same with your students: they may have heard, read or been told something inaccurate and have it stored away as ‘fact’. Classroom discussions around scientific issues can sometimes bring these inaccuracies to the surface, and this gives you a chance to correct them, sensitively.

If your students are piping up about an issue, you definitely want to encourage their contribution, but perhaps if the ‘facts’ arent straight you can start with ‘a lot of people think this too’ and find out where they got the information, because chances are, their peers might also share that same idea (especially if the info comes from somewhere on the internet!). This then gives you the chance to provide the correct information, and point out that some sources are just more reliable than others, so your students should use a critical eye when evaluating where their ‘facts’ come from!

Good luck :)

 

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