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Paper: Teaching 21st Century Science and Media Literacy
Volume: 531, ASP2020: Embracing the Future: Astronomy Teaching and Public Engagement
Page: 191
Authors: Duncan, D.
Abstract: What are your goals for teaching non-science majors? What are your college's science requirement goals? For many of us an important goal is that students learn critical thinking and understand science well enough to use it when making choices in their own lives. Alas, just teaching about Galileo or the scientific method isn't enough for students to reach those goals. They need practice! For 20 years, I've added "Real vs. Fake Science" assignments to my intro astronomy class. We contrast fake or pseudoscience with authentic. Students are assigned web sites or YouTube videos and must decide what is real and what is fake. As they practice and talk with each other, they improve their ability to detect falsehood, often dramatically. I'll demonstrate many of the most successful activities and you are welcome to use any of them; they are posted at Hundreds of students have told me this is the most valuable thing they've learned in a science course. Some, however, complain that this isn't in the astronomy book; it's in their regular life! Today there is an extraordinary need to teach students how to tell real vs. fake in general, not just in science, especially on their social media feeds. Real vs. fake science is an excellent start. I have broadened the curriculum to go beyond science, and am teaching that as a full freshmen seminar. Many of those materials are also on my website and will be briefly discussed.
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