Fact or Fiction Iditarod

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BSSD Standards Addressed

WR.07.08 Research Paper-L7. Researches, writes and organizes one research paper (6-7 pages long) and cites information from four sources using MLA or APA format. (This can count as a proficient writing sample.) (GLE [9&10]4.1.1)

WR.08.05 Researches, writes, and organizes one formal research paper (8-10 pages) using a consistent format of citing (MLA or APA). (This can count as a proficient writing sample). (GLE[9&10]4.1.1)

WR.08.06 Determines appropriateness (credibility or validity) of information sources for a research topic.


2 Days

20-30 minute instructional mini-lessons each day

20-30 minute independent student activity each day

Completion of all activities may take students longer than 2 Days.

Materials Needed

Day One

Students will need to use a computer lab.


Day Two

Students will need to use a computer lab.


Day One

Students will begin a short webquest to learn how to determine the validity of a website. Students may take more than one class session to complete the webquest.

Day Two

Students will know how to analyze assertions as either facts, or opinions, and be able to list facts and opinions about their own research topic. They will then do an Internet search to check facts about their topic, and determine if opinions are credible and/or valid.


Day One

Step 1 Review the Terms section of the webquest. Explain to students the purpose of this "quest" is to know how to determine the validity of a website. Information students must find in this webquest will be needed for the Works Cited page of their research paper.

Step 2 Students will follow the webquest.

Step 3 Students will then find TWO websites related to their topic. They may begin by going to the BSSD Iditarod Thematic resources page at http://wiki.bssd.org/index.php/Iditarod_Thematic_Unit. In a word processing document, students will record these TWO websites in the correct MLA citation. Later, these citations will become part of their Works Cited page.

Students may go to the following TWO sites to help them with the correct citation of a webpage:

Day Two

Step 1 Begin this mini-lesson with an assertion that most students will find wildly untrue, such as: ALL high school students are lazy. Popcorn a discussion about whether this is a fact or an opinion.

Step 2 Ask students to define fact, and define opinion. (Use the online dictionary.)

Step 3 Have students create a "T" chart to determine criteria. (It may be necessary to define criteria.) On one side of the "T" they will write Fact, on the other side, Opinion. Criteria list for Fact may look like this: measurable, actual date, repeatable experiment, etc. Criteria list for Opinion may look like this: belief, unprovable, fallacy. Explain to students that factual information is often established by experts, and eyewitnesses (but that is not the only criteria). Opinions can be expressed by anyone.

Step 4 Ask students to read the first three samples (in MATERIALS above). If possible, break students into 3 groups and have each group read a different sample. Students will return to the whole group and discuss the different Facts and Opinions about what they have read. Then, share with the whole class reading sample #4. Do they agree that sample #4 is FACT?

Step 5 Students will then use the Fact/Opinion Graphic Organizer to write down (minimum 2) facts and opinions about their research topic. (At this point in the Research Iditarod UNIT, students should already have decided on their topic.)

Step 6 Students will then research various sites to check facts, and take notes on differing opinions. They can use the same graphic organizer for recording these facts/opinions. Be sure that students keep track of the exact URL's where they got their information.

Evaluation/ Rubric

WR8 06ValidityofSourcesCASC08.png


At the end of the TWO days, students should have:

1. Correctly navigated and recorded relevant information on the Webquest.

2. Recorded TWO websites in a word processing document with the correct MLA (or APA) citation, that they will later use for their Works Cited page.

3. Made a list of Facts/Opinions for their topic, and additional notes on what various authors (from various webpages) give as Facts/Opinions.



One area of the Rubric that is not directly addressed with this Two-Day lesson, is the concept of Primary and Secondary sources. If this concept has already been taught (either in WR, SS, or SCI), then it may be useful to include a short discussion on whether the reading samples in this lesson are Primary or Secondary, and how the origin of the source relates to Fact/Opinion, and the legitimacy of the material on a website. To complete this Accommodation, students will want to look at the sources they chose for their topic and determine if sources (or a portion therein) are Primary or Secondary.


Cynthia Marx cmarx@gam.bssd.org

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