Teaching Conspiracy Theories - help!!!

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by spbarnes, Jan 11, 2017.

  1. spbarnes

    spbarnes New Member

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    Jan 11, 2017

    So, I have one 50 minute block where I essentially can teach whatever I want to 8th graders (9 week class). This is also supposed to be a more relaxed class for the students....I'm a history teacher so, I chose to teach about conspiracy theories. But I am struggling coming up with enough material to teach each day.

    My initial plan was this - Cover a new conspiracy theory each week...
    Monday - Present brief information on historical event, then present conspiracy theory
    Tuesday- cover conspiracy theory in full, watch a video, take some note, read articles, research...
    Wednesday- Research/ Notes on what the mainstream media says
    Thursday- play devils advocate on the theory vs. what main stream media said happened...
    Friday - Students write their opinion and turn in their stance on if they believe the theory or not, using facts and notes from videos and lecture


    I am struggling to find resources and just with the concept in general. I love conspiracy theories but I'm not sure my plan is strong/ well thought out.

    Should I jump ship and teach something like leadership?
     
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  3. MetalTeacher

    MetalTeacher Rookie

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    Jan 11, 2017

    I think this sounds doable. There's definitely enough conspiracy theories to last nine weeks, and you could work in a lot about how to evaluate media messages and stuff like that.

    My only worry would be stepping on peoples' toes politically, so you'd have to be careful regarding which conspiracy theories you picked. Probably focusing on things far enough in the past not to get people too angry.
     
  4. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Jan 11, 2017

    I can't imagine any scenario in which this is an important topic for 8th graders - especially considering how lacking in knowledge of history many students are. Why take the chance of having them join in on a misguided view when they don't have the ability to judge it clearly? It kind of sounds like a waste of time or worse.
     
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  5. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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  6. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Jan 11, 2017

    You can also watch the news with them (CBS evening news is perfect, 20 minutes), that can give you topics of discussions. And they should know what's going on out there in the real world.

    I also agree with the poster who said that this might not be the most important topic for 8th grades. I would choose to teach world geography (and your social studies credential includes that). Most people nowadays (not only students, but grown ups as well). You can cover basic information and focus on the current events in that country.
     
  7. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jan 11, 2017

    What would be the goal of teaching conspiracy theories?

    Would it be better to have a class focusing on the issue of credible sources? Conspiracy theories could be part of that, mostly just to catch their interest, but you could focus on fake news and whatnot. Knowing how to identify a credible source is a solid internet literacy skill and one that will serve your students much better in the future than standalone knowledge of conspiracy theories.
     
  8. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Jan 11, 2017

    I had great success teaching 8th graders a type of journalism/communications course. Each day we looked at a new article and had a discussion about the importance of sources. Because it's based on real news it was effective in hooking them because they want to stay apprised of what's going on in the world around them, and many of the things we learned were things that directly affected them. It also helped me to address certain ideas that kids had and to look at things from different sides. Since it was based on news every day was different and interesting, and I had kids writing their own articles and creating their own publications (in my class it was focused more on digital publications).

    I think doing some conspiracy theories definitely sounds interesting, but it might be a bit difficult, or boring to just teach a class entirely on conspiracy theories.
     

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