I’m brainstorming for my summer class, and I’m thinking about creating an exercise or assignment in which students try to figure out whether a web site (or blog post, or whatever) is reliable. (I’m going to be teaching in a computer classroom, so I’ve got a choice of having students do a homework assignment or googling during class time. I don’t need to decide that quite yet.)
I’m thinking of splitting the class into several groups and having them google some common pseudoscience/conspiracy theories, and have them look for any kind of hint that the information isn’t reliable. I want to avoid things that they might already have strong opinions about, so I want to avoid topics like evolution, global warming, vaccination/autism, and so forth. More Grumbine Science has some good suggestions* in the 20 links game, but I’m trying to think of others.
Ideas I’ve got so far:
- Flat Earth
- Hollow Earth
- Elvis is alive
Other ideas? These are mostly non-science majors, so anything that requires knowing much about what geologists really think about the Earth probably would miss the point.
*More Grumbine Science also gives lots of hints about ways to evaluate sources, but I think I’m going to try to get the students to come up with their own ways. There’s a good chance that they’ll teach me something, too.