Science Literacy through Science Journalism

Scientifically literate individuals are able to:

1. Identify personal and civic concerns that benefit from scientific and technological understanding.
2. Effectively search for and recognize relevant, credible information.
3. Digest, present and properly attribute information from multiple, credible sources.
4. Contextualize technologies and discoveries, differentiating between those that are widely accepted and emergent; attending to the nature, limits and risks of a discovery; and integrating information into broader policy and lifestyle choices.
5. Fact-check both big ideas and scientific details.

A science news article is a tangible display of scientific literacy. A good SciJourner student article:

1. Has most or all of these elements:  is local, narrow, focused, timely, and presents a unique angle

  • findings are meaningfully applied to personal or civic issues
  • readers’ likely questions are anticipated and addressed

2. Uses information from relevant, credible sources including the internet and interviews. Successful authors:

  • use internet search terms and search engines effectively
  • privilege data from credible government and non profit sites and can justify the use of “other” sites
  • locate and query experts and relevant stakeholders

3. Is based on multiple, credible, attributed sources

  • sources are relevant and reliable
  • stakeholders with varying expertise and experiences are consulted
  • sources are identified and basis of expertise is explained
  • all assertions, numbers, details and opinions are attributed

4. Contextualizes information

  • tells why the information presented is important
  • indicates which ideas are widely accepted and which are preliminary

5. Is factually accurate and forefronts important information

  • science connection is evident
  • difficult concepts are explained
  • precise language is employed
  • quantitative measures are given in correct and comparable units
  • information is up-to-date
  • captions and graphics are checked for accuracy

2 Responses to “Science Literacy through Science Journalism”

  1. Becky Cook says:

    I use the “Defend Your Source” sheet to facilitate discussion between students on the choice of a source and the salient points that were used to judge reliability, credibility and relevance.
    File: defendsource.doc

    [Reply]

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