At the beginning of our science unit, "Human Body" we had an opportunity to share our ideas about products and services that claim to promote fitness. Students were asked to be skeptical of products and services that claim to promote fitness with or without exercise. To be skeptical students would need to critically analyze advertisements that promote fitness and changes to the body. Students worked in small groups to identify assertions made by selected advertisements. Each student could develop their own claim about what the advertisement represented, but the claims presented should be focused on specific evidence (support). The purpose of presenting the support was to be sure that students were not making a claim based on opinions, reactions or feelings.
Focus Question: Would you believe this ad if you read it in a magazine?
What makes you say that?
Students had a number of magazine ads to practice their CSQ activity. As the I observed the activity I realized that my focus question was not going to give me the results I was hoping for. I worked on generating what I thought were topical questions. My hope was that students would make claims based on the evidence rather than opinions.
What generalizations do these ads make?
What evidence supports your claim?
What would make someone question your claim?
Introducing these new questions allowed my students to begin asking questions and determining importance while discussing these advertisements. Making me feel like we were going in the right direction, but we need more practice analyzing direct and indirect evidence.I believe this thinking strategy is a great way to see if students can process information analytically.