• New after-school activity pack, from Sense about Science, is designed to provide children with the essential skills needed to reduce the influence of misinformation they find online
• Evidence Hunter activities, tested with Scout groups, encourage children to think critically about where information comes from
• The activities are primarily aimed at children in Key Stage Three at school
Sense about Science, an independent campaigning charity that challenges the misrepresentation of science and evidence in public life, has launched an after-school activity pack designed to give children the tools they need to critically evaluate the claims they meet online, in advertising and out the mouths of celebrities.
With 12 to 15-year-olds spending almost 21 hours per week online, and nearly half thinking it’s difficult to know whether a story they find on social media is true, it is vital they are provided with the tools to critically evaluate the information they receive online.
The new Evidence Hunter activity pack teaches young people the essential skills needed to reduce the influence of misinformation and ‘fake news’ they find online, by encouraging them to look for the evidence and think critically about where information comes from.
The pack is free to download and is aimed at after-school clubs and activity groups, such as the Scouts. The Evidence Hunter pack is being launched as part of our Ask for Evidence campaign that aims to empower people to request the evidence behind claims they find in the media and on online. It builds on the success of the Key Stage 3-4 school lesson pack previously released by Sense about Science, which is available to download from the Tes website.
Evidence Hunter is being officially launched today by Alex Clegg, Campaign and Communications Coordinator at Sense about Science, at The Association for Science Education Annual Conference in Birmingham. He said: “Whether it be at school or at home, children and teenagers encounter all sorts of information on a daily basis; some of it factual, some of it misleading, and some of it completely incorrect.
“Children are well known to ask difficult questions, and Evidence Hunter feeds that inner sceptic with useful questions that will help them critically assess a claim, and judge whether it is bogus or factual. We see this as a vital skill for the younger generation because tackling misinformation and hunting for evidence are lessons for everyday life, not just the classroom.”
Evidence Hunter is specifically designed so an after-school group organiser, or leader, can easily download the pack and follow a step-by-step guide to running the activities. Evidence Hunter assembles the most useful questions, in a series of activities and resources, tried and tested in Scout groups, classrooms and clubs around the UK.
By following the activities in the pack, participants will assess real claims that have been made online, in the media or in advertising, and look at what evidence exists to support them. Examples range from claims about the benefits of products such as charcoal toothpaste and caffeine shampoo, to the impact of lifestyle choices such as the effect of social media use on sleep or whether helping others really does make you happier.
You can download the Evidence Hunter activity pack here.
Queries related to the pack can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The public are encouraged to share their own experiences of challenging claims and hunting for evidence using the hashtag #EvidenceHunter.
Follow Sense about Science on Twitter for updates @SenseaboutSci