It’s finally decided to be Spring-like in Melbourne today! Yay for sunshine. Hope it’s lovely wherever you are :0)
Fact and Fiction
Do your kids believe everything they read online? Unlike traditional textbooks that go through (hopefully!) several rounds of editing and fact checking, the web is open source. Meaning anyone can and will make up what they like. Great for freedom of expression, not so great for factual research.
Here’s an activity I’ve done with Primary aged kids many times in the last 3 or so years. So much fun!
The Haggis Hunt
Check out this website on Haggis Hunting. I’ve had great fun with this site that tells kids all about the annual ‘Haggis Hunt’ in Scotland. The website convinces them that Haggis are small Scottish creatures that are hard to find and highly prized by the Scots.
The Fun Bit!
Of course, it’s all nonsense.
In the classroom I get kids to spend an hour researching Haggis Hunting online through a range of websites and then report back. There’s a mass of images, forums, advice columns and websites promoting the Hunting of the Haggis. Google it yourself to see what I mean!
Once they have compiled their ‘report’, the kids will usually tell me all about the methods of hunting strategies, trapping theories and the daily habits of the Haggis. Even how to skin and cook a Haggis.
Then I tell them it’s all made up.
After their loud protestations (the fun bit for me!) we talk about the web and how easy it is to make stuff up – how can we trust what we read online?
We revisit HaggisHunting.com (complete with video) and the Trip Advisor website for clues as to what’s made up and what’s not. We look at images and try and see where they may have been doctored. This is not easy to do and at least a couple of kids in each class usually try to convince us that they are real – right up to the last minute!
The remarkable thing about this activity is that it usually impacts on their future research. They tend to question more what they find and ask more probing questions of their classmates. And they never fully trust me again!!
That’s actually fine by the way – I want them to question, think and research for themselves. I won’t always be there to tell them when a haggis isn’t a haggis :0)
Could you try this at home?
I’ve had a couple of parents successfully con their kids and nephews/nieces! Great activity. Lots of fun and they never look at you quite the same again :0)
It’s all about independence in learning and knowing how to validate the info they find. Here are a few of the questions we use to check what’s real or not!
- Who wrote the info?
- Where are they from and what expertise do they have?
- Does it make sense?
- Who can you ask in person to check this info?
- What other websites agree with you?
- Who writes those websites – do you trust them?
Of course, it’s not foolproof, but at this age these questions really seems to lift their ability to challenge what they read online!
Now, I’m off to hunt the elusive perfect lunchtime sandwich…a rare creature indeed….
Does your child trust the web blindly? Let me know some examples of what they search for online…