Overview: Verifying the source of information and understanding how different sources provide varying perspectives on the same topic can be eye-opening for students. This activity is a fun, highly engaging and unique way to help students participate in a simple “investigation”. This is easily connected to any content area and has great follow-up to talk about culture and differing perspectives.
To access the video recording of the webinar detailing this lesson, please click here.
Interview Someone (interviewing, research, reporting, evaluating)
- Virtual Implementation:
- Interview subject with availability and with friends, colleagues, acquaintances that have availability
- A pre-established Padlet (afsusa.padlet.org/afsusa/interview)
- A mechanism for online discussion such as Zoom, Google Hangouts, etc. (if desired)
Examples of interview subjects are: Athletic Coach, School Administrator, Local Celebrity or Known Figure, Local Business Owner and many others as long as the individual is willing to be interviewed by the students and have their social media and digital footprint evaluated by students. Please make sure to have permission to obtain acceptable mode of communication from interviewee.
Applicable Content Areas: Social Studies, English Language Arts, World Language, and any others where the teacher would want students to think about where and how they get their information before making judgments.
Students will work in small groups to uncover investigate a person and collect information.
Students will reflect on the advantages and disadvantages of accessing information in certain ways.
Students will apply this process of evaluating source bias and credibility to the content area.
By the end of the activity, students will be able to…
- Evaluate the perspective of various sources of information
- Determine level of accuracy of various sources of information
- Make informed decisions about information validity
- Apply the same investigative approach to sources of information in the content area
- Create 3/6/9 columns in a Padlet. (Create your own account for free at www.padlet.com). See sample above. Make sure that you choose the option to “Moderate” the posts so students can’t see what other students have posted until theirs is complete.
- Label the columns:
- Personal Interview – Person A
- Digital Investigation – Person A
- Friend of a Friend Interview – Person A
- Repeat the 3 columns above based on how many interviewees you have available.
- You’re welcome to color-code and/or post examples for students in the Padlet.
- Select a topic in your content area that you would like students to investigate after they complete this activity.
- Determine how many students you would like to have in a group and how much collaboration you’d like to engage in before/during/after their investigation. (For example: Do you want them to call the interviewee together or separately? Do you want them to compare/share notes before posting to the Padlet? Do you want them to reflect on this together or individually once all groups have posted information?)
- The goal of the activity is to collect information about the subject (a.k.a. the interviewee), as much as you can.
- Collect information using ONLY your assigned method:
- Group 1- can only talk to the subject directly (phone, FaceTime, or other virtual platform)
- Group 2- can only use online means (i.e. social media, google search…etc.)
- Group 3- can only talk to someone who knows the interview subject.
3. Share your work on Padlet in the column that applies. (Provide link or QR Code for students here.)
4. Write a short biography about the person using the information that you gathered. (Optional, but great writing practice.)
5. The teacher will release one column of information at a time when it is time for live discussion and/or written reflection.
Follow-up Discussion/Reflection Questions for Students:
Discussion brings this lesson all together by comparing and contrasting the lists of information.
- What were the pros and cons of collecting information in each of these ways?
- Why must we be careful using just one source of information?
- Outside of learning about an individual, to what other situations can you apply this same process?
(This is a great opportunity to encourage students to think about our current society and situation and to make a comparison to what they might be hearing on the news and/or reading on social media about COVID-19, legislative decisions, and/or the presidential campaigns.)
Extension in Content Area
Present students with a topic that you would like them to investigate and encourage them to have a couple of different types of sources and to address any potential bias with the sources of information that they are using to share their findings.
For more lesson plan ideas, please visit the AFS-USA Teacher’s Toolbox.
For questions, comments or suggestions, please email us at [email protected].