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Science teachers have an obligation to instill critical thinking and skepticism in their students. If my students can calculate kinetic energy as (1/2)mv^2 but also buy a Power Balance bracelet or accept media reports of paranormal activity, I feel I have failed them.
So I insert explicit lessons in skepticism and critical thinking into the curriculum throughout the school year. This is one of them.
This activity engages students as they watch a 14-minute video on a so-called "Baloney Detection Kit" (YouTube v=aNSHZG9blQQ). It's a structured implementation of Carl Sagan's quote, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and acts as a filter when students are confronted with claims.
My hope is that such lessons strengthen students' thinking skills I'm the classroom and (more importantly) beyond. I developed this activity for use with my own students.
April 2020 UPDATE: In addition to the printable PDFs of the student blank and answer key, a Google Docs version of the student document now included for easier distance learning use.