Fact-Checking with Iron Chef

Do your students know how to perform lateral reading? Even college students struggle with this skill. I have long used the Iron Chef EduProtocol as a jigsaw tool, but lately, I have been experimenting by using it as a fact-checking tool. This helps students identify claims, find sources that can corroborate or refute them, and add citations that legitimize their academic writing.

First, I used this video lesson from Retro Report to help them understand how professional fact-checkers work. There is a great companion website with additional lessons here.

My students often create content that I use the following year. This creates an authentic audience for my projects and makes the kids focus on producing high-quality products. Here are some children’s books my students did on historical figures in the 1920s & 1930s. I used a spreadsheet to assign a separate book to each student. They have one class period to build an Iron Chef and fact-check as much as they can. Presentations are staggered at the beginning and end of class to avoid boredom. Here is a link to the book.

The first student retitled the book and pulled ten quotes that she thought she could corroborate. She provided three sources that she could use for this fact-checking activity in the secret ingredients section of the slide. Lastly, she included parenthetical citations for each fact she was able to verify.

This second student was able to pull ten items to fact-check. She provided links to three sources, but she was unable to verify or refute the items she selected with parenthetical citations. This suggests that I should lower the fact-checking requirements. How many lateral reading reps do students need before they reflexively verify the information the media shoots at them?

Moving forward, I would extend this activity by having students view presentations that document at least three facts that they can use to then write a complex thesis statement and supporting paragraph. I might even make them read the paragraph on Flip. That way, each student has one paragraph that summarizes the 28 important people, places, and events from the 1920s & 30s. Earlier this year, my students did podcasts on WWI Spies. I created an easier fact-checking activity for students to verify historical details in their podcasts. Here’s a student sample. Which version would you feel comfortable using in your class? If you have additional questions on the Iron Chef EduProtocol, check out our book.

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