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April 12, 2011 / Sarah Ludwig

Wikipedia and Presearch Resources

Both of these lessons can easily be used with middle schoolers. We’re focusing on information literacy skills this spring with 6th grade.

The Pros and Cons of Wikipedia

This has been a fabulous lesson so far: the students are really getting into learning about the ins and outs of Wikipedia. Most of them have no idea where the information in a Wikipedia article comes from. The best part of this lesson, in my opinion, was the discussion we had about authority. What does the word “authority” mean and how does that word apply to information you’re finding online? How would someone have the authority to talk about a subject?

We also had great conversations about bias (including cultural bias), primary and secondary sources, and point of view. The debates are coming up… I can’t wait. (Note: this project was adapted from this fabulous unit at the Castilleja School Library)

Sixth Grade Presearch

This unit has not yet begun, but I’m really excited to get started. We begin tomorrow. The social studies teacher wants her students to really explore more than one topic before they even choose which one they will research for their spring project. They are all going to be writing about the environment and working on thesis statements, so they need to find topics that can be argued one way or the other. So I found some resources for them to start with, and we will spend time going over how to use each one. Then they can fill out the worksheet for at least two topics. This will really help them prepare for their in-depth research, and it will also help avoid the “I can’t find anything!” trap too late in the project.

I’ll report back…

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