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Is That A Fact?
It is a common, deceptively simple, question. This section should help you show your students some strategies for answering it well.
Skip to the list of assertions you can use with your students.
- Write out an assertion so all students can see it. Take a vote on whether or not the students believe it to be true. Record the vote, then allow your students to discuss their reasons for voting as they did. During the discussion, try to identify pieces of evidence as they are presented. If you like, present and discuss any relevant evidence you have.
- A bit more challenging is to present your students a factual assertion, then ask them to figure out if it can be validated. If they agree that it can, go on to help them find a consensus on how it might be done. When you've finished, you can present and discuss any relevant evidence you've previously collected. This approach is especially useful when your students are unable to distinguish potential fact from belief and opinion. In addition to helping them define those terms, you can use it to help them explore other concepts like truth, validate, affirm, assertion, data, evidence, and proof as they apply in your discipline.
- George Washington was born on February 22, 1732.
- Betsy Ross created the first U.S. flag.
- "Dorky" made its first recorded English appearance in 1983.
- Someone is likely to shoot at students in my school.
- The earliest humans lived at the same time as the dinosaurs.
- Christmas Day always falls in winter.
- NASA faked the Moon landings.
- Every year since 1950, the number of children gunned down has doubled.
- The U.S. Constitution's 2nd amendment protects the rights of Americans to own firearms of any sort.
- Voltaire wrote, "I may disagree with what you say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it."
- William Shakespeare authored a play titled "King Lear".
- Evolution is both a theory and a fact.
- Glaciers have been growing, not shrinking as Global Warming proponents claim.
- Truth : A History and a Guide for the Perplexed
by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto
Hardcover - 256 pages 1st US edition (November 1999)
St Martins Pr (Trade); ISBN: 0312242530
read an excerpt from the book
- The Truth About the Truth : De-Confusing and Re-Constructing the Postmodern World
by Walter Truett Anderson (Editor)
Paperback (August 1995)
J P Tarcher; ISBN: 0874778018
- An Uncritical Inference Test helps you take your students beyond fact checking to inference identification and checking.
- Logic to the Rescue shows your students how to identify the impossible.
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original web posting: Tuesday, February 22, 2000
last modified: Monday, August 26, 2013