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About

These free lessons fill a critical gap in the science curriculum. Too many students are unable to distinguish information from disinformation, anecdotal evidence from empirical evidence, science from pseudoscience, evidence-based medicine from alternative medicine, cures from quackery, and fact from conspiracy theories.

The Next Generation Science Standards do require students to learn the nature of science and evidence, but they do not specify enough detail. There are no requirements to learn about randomized control groups and placebos, and research data shows much more class-time is spent on specific facts like covalent bonds than on what qualifies as scientific evidence.

These lessons are part of the broader Critical Thinking Project — to teach beyond the facts and develop specific critical thinking skills across all subjects in K-12. I recommend students relearn these lessons every year from 8th to 12th grade. We know that teaching it once is not enough, since students habitually fall back from analytical thinking toward intuition.


Lessons & Quizzes

Lessons are slideshows with voiceover, and they include interactive questions to check for comprehension. Each lesson takes about 10-15 minutes. Anyone can access lessons from the home page. As a teacher, you can also login and assign lessons to your students so you can see their scores.

Quizzes are multiple-choice and multiple-answer, with under 20 questions. As a teacher you must login to assign quizzes to your students; they cannot access them on their own.


Student Access

Students do not need to login. If siblings or classmates share the same device, they can select their name from a list. Note: There is no password required, so if sharing the same device, mischievous students could turn in work as other students.


Teacher Login

As a teacher you can assign lessons and quizzes for your students, then you can see their scores, answers, and class averages. You can also load scores into your LMS.

Login using your email and a password.

You do not need to enter students or classes, and students do not need to login. Instead students access this site through your LMS, or you can give them a link.


LMS Integration

LMS integration is recommended so it automatically loads the scores into your gradebook. Otherwise you must manually enter scores.

See LMS Help


Assign a Lesson or Quiz

•  Login
•  Click New.
•  Optionally add a Label to help you distinguish assignments for different classes or dates.
•  Click Save.
•  If you accessed this from your LMS, it will put the assignment in your LMS. Otherwise click Copy Link and give it to your students. Each assignment has a different link.

Lessons always explain the correct answer after each question. Quizzes may optionally show the correct answers and explanations after the student completes it, but you may turn that off.

Select LMS access only to prevent students from accessing it in ways that do not send scores back to your LMS. Select Allow direct link if you just want to give your students a link without importing scores into your LMS. Each assignment can be different, so for example you could assign lessons without a grade then a quiz for a grade.

Your main dashboard lists all your assignments. Click one to view the status and responses of each student, and see class statistics.

Note: It does not know your class roster. It simply lists students who have started the assignment, using the name they provided. If you want different classes to be listed separately, create a separate assignment for each class.

Note: Students can always practices lessons on their own. They are labeled as “Practice” and their scores are not reported to you. Students can skip lesson questions when it’s just practice, but not when it’s your assignment.


Homework & Discussion

Suggestions to go beyond these lessons:

Design a Controlled Study assuming you had unlimited resources. What would you test to see if it works on people or not? What would you use as a placebo (if any)? How could you keep it blinded (if possible)? How would you measure it before and after?

Find a product with Misleading Labeling about how healthy it is. What do they want you to believe? What does its disclaimer say?

Find an ad for a Scam Product. What claims does it make that are false or at least unproven?

Find a product that says it is Natural, or implies something like farm-fresh, homemade, etc. Assess whether it really is more natural than other options or just a lie.

What is something Artificial that people should not be afraid of? Explain why.

Research a Pseudoscience or Alternative Medicine. What part of it sounds logical and appealing? Describe the studies that disprove it.

Make a poster about an Old Wives’ Tale showing that is incorrect.

Research some Health Advice that is commonly misunderstood. What part is correct, and what part is wrong?

Research a Conspiracy Theory. Evaluate 1) how hard it would be to keep a secret, and 2) how realistic is their reason for tricking everyone.


Troubleshooting

“Student listed twice for same assignment”

That happens when the student uses different browsers or deletes cookies. There is no login, so it creates a new student record. Just use the most recent score.

“How do I change/correct a student’s name?”

Names are not editable. Instead, ask the student to select “Someone Else” when prompted to created a new student record with their correct name.


Privacy Policy

I do not share user data with anyone or other websites. And there are no ads. The only personal information collected is teacher email and student name. The only email sent is password-reset links for teachers. It uses a cookie to remember student progress.


Credits

Curriculum, art, narration, and app developed by David Hundsness. This and other learning apps are part of my Critical Thinking Project for education reform, all provided for free.

Donate


Contact Me

Feedback welcome! This is a living draft. I don’t have a support staff, but I will try to answer your questions:

critical.thinking.proj@gmail.com
Beta Testing — To give feedback on specific questions and parts of the lesson, please add comments to this Google Doc:

Comment on Transcript