Science in the News

August 14, 2020

First and foremost, thank you for all you do. Thank you for your commitment to educate our youth and help prepare them for their future. The classroom changed in the spring of 2020 thanks to Covid-19. The fall semester will bring more challenges of its own – you may be continuing to teach online or you may be returning to a hybrid/socially-distanced classroom. Either way, your commitment to educate our youth is to be commended!

With all of the contradicting news about Covid-19, it has been hard to know what we can trust. Just like with any science article, how do we know it is credible? I recently received an email from HHMI Biointeractive (Howard Hughes Medical Institute) featuring an "Evaluating Science in the News" activity for students. New ideas, discoveries, and research can all be learned from science news articles, but we have to be able to evaluate the credibility of our sources of information. This activity from HHMI Biointeractive will help students read and analyze a news article to determine if the article is trustworthy.

According to HHMI Biointeractive, this "Evaluating Science in the News" activity is designed for high school and college students and can be done in one to two 50-minute class periods, depending on which handout students will be working on. Student learning targets include:

  • Evaluate the currency, reliability, authority, and purpose of a source of information.
  • Justify the reasoning used to determine whether a source of information is trustworthy.
  • (extended handout only) Identify the main idea and supporting details of a science news article.
  • (extended handout only) Respond to the ideas presented in a science news article.

In the activity, you will also find online links to materials including a Resource Google Folder (link), Educator Materials (PDF), a Short Student Handout (PDF), an Extended Student Handout (PDF), and Criteria for Evaluating Sources (PDF). And you will find curriculum connections for NGSS (2013) SEP8; Common Core (2010) ELA.RST, ELA.WHST; and Vision and Change (2009) DP6.

HHMI BioInteractive has lots of other resources for educators, as well. “Scientist Role Models” is one of their newest activities where students select and research a scientist featured in their “Scientists at Work” videos. Two versions of the activity are available: one in which students outline a brief profile of the scientist and another in which they write a more extended essay.

If you’re teaching online, HHMI BioInteractive has playlists intended for undergraduate introductory biology labs that use case studies, multimedia, and interactive resources to engage students in data analysis and critical thinking. These playlists include resources for labs in ecology and evolution and cellular and molecular biology courses.

As you can see, HHMI BioInteractive offers real science, real stories, and real data to engage students in exploring the living world. To dig deeper into the many resources they have available for you, click here.

Stephanie Miller

With over 25 years experience, Stephanie serves as a senior copywriter, social media director, and senior editor for Science Scene. Stephanie is always on the lookout for new educational and STEM-related opportunities and technology.