Evaluating Science-Based Claims
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Average Duration
>60 min.
Difficulty Level
Lesson Host
Melanie Trecek-King

Learn how to recognize science-based claims and assess their credibility; explore why people resist and deny science; and gain the skills to evaluate science journalism.

News literacy topics

Bias; Conspiratorial thinking; Evaluating evidence; Fact-checking and verification; Investigative journalism/ watchdog role; Misinformation; Science and data reporting; Standards of quality journalism

Learning objectives

  • I can differentiate between science-based claims and nonscience claims.
  • I can explain why science is never 100% certain about anything and why this is one of its strengths.
  • I can differentiate between a scientific hypothesis and a scientific theory.
  • I can explain what makes people vulnerable to pseudoscience and why some people doubt, resist and deny the scientific consensus about some topics.
  • I can evaluate science-based claims using plausibility judgments, evidence and the scientific consensus.
  • I can recognize common problems with science news coverage.

Essential questions

  • How can people know which science-based claims are worthy of acceptance?
  • What is science? Why is it a reliable way of knowing things about the natural world?
  • What makes people doubt or resist science? Or What makes science misinformation seem “right”?
  • How should I decide which claims and pieces of information about science topics to trust?
  • Why do people sometimes believe hypotheses that are not supported by evidence?
  • How do scientists attempt to identify real associations/causes without falling for false associations/causes?
  • Can scientists ever avoid error entirely?