Science teachers have an obligation to instill critical thinking and skepticism in their students. If my students can calculate kinetic energy as (1/2)mv^2 but also buy a Power Balance bracelet or accept media reports of paranormal activity, I feel I have failed them.
So I insert explicit lessons in skepticism and critical thinking into the curriculum throughout the school year. My hope is that such lessons strengthen students' thinking skills I'm the classroom and (more importantly) beyond. I developed these activities for use with my own students.
P R O G R A M S
1. SECRETS OF THE PSYCHICS
Can psychics predict the future? Many people seem to think so. Others argue that, in most cases, so-called psychic experiences are really misinterpretations of events. In this episode of NOVA, magician and confirmed skeptic James Randi challenges viewers to weigh the evidence for and against the existence of psychic phenomena.
2. MERCHANTS OF DOUBT
A documentary that looks at pundits-for-hire who present themselves as scientific authorities as they speak about topics like toxic chemicals, pharmaceuticals and climate change.