Lesson 1 – Critical and Systems Evaluation of News Articles

Course:  Life Science, Integrated Science, STEM, BioChem, Marine Science

Unit:  Ocean Acidification, Ecology, Biogeochemical Cycling


See Standards Addressed for all NGSS, WA State (Science, Math and Literacy), and NOAA Ocean Literacy Education Standards Connections.  In addition to the aligned objectives linked above, for this lesson, here is a breakdown of:

What Students Learn:

  • There are many real case studies demonstrating dramatic and subtle changes in the Earth's carbon cycle.
  • Scientific news articles are written for a variety of purposes. Critically assessing what you read is an important skill.
  • Concept maps are a useful tool to understand news articles.  Nodes are the parts of a network map, and edges are the relationships between those parts of the network.
  • Studying a real-world complex problem is possible in the classroom.
  • When studying complexity
    • collaboration is essential,
    • a big picture view is necessary as is the ability to analyze subnetworks within a system.

What Students Do:

  • Students focus on reading one news piece to critically assess the
    • content (what is correct, incorrect, supported by evidence, not supported, etc.)
    • authors' motivation,
    • misconceptions and/or preconceived notions.
  • Students begin internalizing the practices of systems thinking by recognizing the indirect and direct connections between abiotic and biotic components in our world.
  • Students develop and demonstrate the habits of open-minded, metacognitive dialogue.
  • Students develop the skills of collaboration.