Friday, November 08, 2013

The Baloney Detection Kit: new video question set

I've been showing Michael Shermer's 15-minute Baloney Detection Kit video to students in my physics classes for years. It's a great little gem about the methods of science that's much, much better than the tired old, fabricated "Scientific Method" lessons and posters that still seem to proliferate in science classrooms at schools.

And I've developed video question sets for countless episodes of Mechanical Universe and the whole set of Paul Hewitt's Conceptual Physics Alive!

But inspiration for a question set for the Baloney Detection Kit video eluded me. Until now. The information is delivered at a pretty rapid pace: to rapid for students to contemplate and write much while the video is in progress.

 So I went with a "matching" theme for the bulk of the content. A graphic interpretation for one, and a multi-correct for the third. I'm happy with how it turned out.

Baloney Detection Kit - student question set.
Baloney Detection Kit - teacher's answer key.

And, of course, the video: Baloney Detection Kit (Michael Shermer).

As with nearly all the video question sheets I produce for my own classroom use, the name-perdiod-date box appears as a strip of old-fashioned film (with sprocket holes). The video's YouTube video identification is also listed (hJmRbSX8Rqo). If you google that ID, the video is the first hit. And yes, I dressed up the title area to mimic a YouTube look and feel. If you've got substance, it's OK to flash a bit of style.

The point of all video question sets is to prevent the use of the video in the classroom from becoming a passive experience for students. Sometimes adults scoff at this notion and assume the children will sit quietly and reflect contemplatively—the way adults might—during a video presentation. I'm here to tell you that that is simply not the case.

For more quick, classroom-ready mini-lessons relating to skepticism, see my Skepticism in the Classroom page.

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