In this unit, students will understand where “fake news” comes from, why it exists and how they can think like fact checkers to become fluent consumers, evaluators, and creators of information. They will apply this knowledge by selecting a controversial topic to evaluate, synthesize, and analyze all aspects before sharing with a local audience.
The Roadmap is a remix of Michigan Open Book, MC3 and GIANTS all in one place. This foundational lesson introduces students to historical reasoning through the analysis of primary sources, such as historical maps and photographs. They examine how historians are detectives of the past and use evidence from primary and secondary sources. Students then explore the chronology of the settlement of a village in Michigan and identify the causes and effects of the founding of the community.
In this unit students continue the exploration of factors that influence change by examining the events that led up to the American Revolution. Over the course of the unit, students will build a deeper understanding of the significant ideas and values at the heart of the American Revolution, what drove the colonists to seek independence, and how conflict between England and the colonists ultimately influenced change in our country. Students will see the American Revolution from multiple perspectives, starting with analyzing the difference in perspectives between the British and the colonists and how each side’s actions often instigated each other. Students will also explore how class structure influenced colonists perspectives. Later in the unit, students will think about the perspectives of black people, women and Native Americans who were forced to choose a side and why they may have had a different point of view of the events of the revolution.
An important part of this unit is pushing students to focus on seeing history from multiple different perspectives. The core text Liberty! How the Revolutionary War Began offers one perspective on events, however, the prespective is limited to that held by white elite colonists. Therefore, students also read excerpts from A Young People's History of the United States in order to build a deeper understanding of all sides of the Revolution.
In this unit students explore the rise and fall of the ancient Roman Empire. Over the course of the unit, students learn about different characteristics of the Roman Empire, what lead to the Empire’s growth and success, and what eventually lead to the Empire’s demise. Through learning about the daily routines, structures, and rituals of the Roman Empire, students will be challenged to draw conclusions about what the civilization valued and how those values compare to societal values today. This unit builds onto the 2nd grade nonfiction unit on ancient Greece, in which students began to think about how the daily routines, structures, and rituals of a civilization show what they value. This unit, in conjunction with the second grade unit on ancient Greece, will help students understand early influences in the world and the first republics.
The mentor texts for this unit, Ancient Rome and Pompeii: A Nonfiction Companion to Magic Tree House and Eye Wonder: Ancient Rome, allow students to practice multiple informational reading strategies in two very different text structures. In both texts, but predominately in Eye Wonder, students will practice using a multitude of text features and illustrations as a way of learning new information about a topic. Over the course of this unit, students will constantly be thinking about how the information from one text builds on and connects to the information in the other text. Then at the end of the unit, students will be asked to critically analyze the similarities and differences between the two texts.
This unit explores the various ways information and ideas about climate change are presented through a variety of media. This includes the evaluation of social media posts, research into climate change issues, and an exploration of contemporary art and artists. This was designed and taught in an honors 9th grade English Language Arts Classroom by Dr. Tavia Quaid in response to student interest in climate change and to reinforce key information literacy skills.
Before reading any online source, students need to ask a fundamental question: Who is the author? In this task, students examine the headline of an article about personal finance that is sponsored by a bank. The task assesses students’ ability to recognize the source of the article and explain why a sponsored post by a bank executive might not be a trustworthy source on this topic.
The internet provides access to information whose quality runs the full spectrum from bogus conspiracy theories to Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting. In order to judge where on this spectrum a given website falls, students must investigate who's behind it. To do this, they must not rely on what people behind a website have to say about the site, but what other trusted sources say about it. This open web search assesses whether students confronted with an article from an unknown site can determine who's behind it and, thus, whether it is trustworthy.
Social media sites, like Twitter, are filled with individuals and groups seeking to further their agendas. In order to navigate this sea of information, students need to be able to weigh the relative strengths and weaknesses of tweets as sources of information. This task assesses students’ ability to consider the source of a tweet and the information contained in it en route to describing what makes it both a useful and less useful source of information.
Social media is rife with specious claims, and students often struggle to decide whether such claims are sound. This task asks students to evaluate the merits of a tweet that makes a claim about gun ownership and provides a link to an article as evidence.
Videos are a powerful, popular, and increasingly easy way to make and spread arguments about policy topics. Compelling footage and authoritative narration may make students tempted to trust such videos. In this task, students watch a short video and explain why they might not trust a video that makes a contentious claim.
As news websites have proliferated, their comments sections have emerged as forums for civic discourse. This task presents students with an online comment from "Joe Smith" and taps their ability to reason about the factors that make a comment more or less trustworthy.
As native advertisements proliferate, students need to look beyond surface features like vivid graphics and learn to carefully evaluate sources of information. In this task, students are presented with links to two articles from the same online news outlet and asked which is a more reliable source. Students must identify who is behind the articles and consider potential conflicts of interest in order to successfully evaluate the articles.
Given the vast amount of information available online, students need to be able to distinguish between legitimate and dubious evidence. This assessment measures whether students can evaluate evidence when it takes the form of a vivid photograph.
In this task, students are asked whether a doctored video posted on Facebook provides strong evidence for a political claim. Rather than take the video at face value, students should interrogate where it came from and who posted it.
Wikipedia contains a vast supply of information and is the 5th most trafficked website in the world. Still, students often draw overly broad generalizations about the site. This task asks students to evaluate the trustworthiness of an article on Wikipedia, assessing whether they can reason about the specific features that make a Wikipedia article more or less reliable.
Social media has become a forum for discussions about politics and public policy. These conversations often include links to news articles, videos, and other sources, but the quality of this evidence varies tremendously. In this task, students are presented with two posts from a Facebook conversation and asked to explain which contains better evidence.
Many news organizations have turned to native advertising as a source of revenue. By definition, native advertising tries to sell or promote a product in the guise of a news story. This makes it difficult for unsuspecting readers to know if and when there is an ulterior motive behind the information they encounter. This task assesses students’ ability to distinguish between an article and an advertisement.
In order for students to effectively navigate the news, they need to understand the differences between news stories and opinion columns. This task assesses a student’s ability to recognize and differentiate news and opinion articles in an online format.
Social media outlets have become go-to places for news organizations to disseminate their stories. However, for every journalist posting on Twitter or Facebook, there are imposters uploading bogus messages in that person’s name. Identifying fake accounts is a critical skill for successfully navigating social media.
This task assesses students’ knowledge of an important symbol on Twitter and Facebook—the blue checkmark, which indicates a verified account. Students are asked which of two Facebook posts is a more trustworthy source about Donald Trump’s decision to run for president. Although both posts claim to represent Fox News, only one is verified.
When young people want to find out more about a topic or question, they often turn to Google. But open Internet searches routinely turn up contradictory results that mix fact with falsehood. Making sense of search results is even more challenging with politically loaded topics. This task asks students to perform an open search about a controversial figure in order to assess their ability to wade through information to find sources, evidence, and arguments that they trust.