Activities

1.  Practicing and understanding skepticism

 

a.  Show students this website, which argues that the Holocaust never happened. 

 

b.  Then, show students the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Web page about holocaust denial. 

 

c.  Discuss, asking students the following questions:

 

  • What are some of the clues that the claims on the Holocaust denial page are false, based on the claims themselves?

  • What seems to be the motivation behind those claims?

  • What, if anything, do you know about the authors of the Holocaust denial website?

  • What about the Holocaust Memorial Museum Web page—what clues are there that this information is more legitimate?  What seems to be the motivation behind this Web page?  What can you tell about the authors of this website?

  • Does one site deserve a different kind of skepticism than the other?  Why?

 

2.  Practicing and understanding skepticism #2

 

a.  Show students this website, which claims that President Obama’s birth certificate is not real.  

 

b.  Next, show students the Snopes.com Web page debunking the idea that Obama’s birth certificate is a forgery.

 

c.  Discuss, asking students the following questions:

 

  • What clues do you see that the claims on the “birther” Web page are false, based on the claims themselves?

  • What seems to be the motivation behind those claims?

  • What, if anything, can you tell about the author(s) behind this site?

  • What about the Snopes.com Web page and counter claims—what indications do you have that these are more trustworthy?

  • Does one of these sites deserve more skepticism than the other?  Why?

 

3.  Identifying logical fallacies

 

Show the following commercials.  After each, pause and ask students the list of questions after the links.

 

 

Questions after each commercial:

 

  • What is the logical fallacy or fallacies at work?

  • In what ways does identifying the fallacies make the commercial less convincing—does the commercial’s message still work, or not?

  • Could the commercial have made the statement without using that logical fallacy?

 

4.  Analyzing a logical fallacy (This exercise is built on Interactive Workbook Exercise WH5-3.)

 

Ask students to read aloud the statements with logical fallacies that they created for the Interactive Workbook exercise.  For each, have the rest of the class do the following:

 

  • Identify the logical fallacy.

  • Explain how the statement illustrates that fallacy.

  • Suggest a way to rework the statement to eliminate that fallacy.

Habits of Mind Unit 5
 

STORYTELLING IN OTHER FORMS

 

Activities

Test questions & PDF

SYNOPSIS

 

This section discusses a journalist’s skepticism, and teaches logical fallacies, asking students to listen and look for these, especially in statements from sources and in commentary.