-- small groups
-- larger groups
Explain to the class what a leading question is and present examples. Have
students speculate on who might use leading questions and in what situations.
Present the class with a survey from a magazine and its results. Have the students
complete the survey and tally their results. Then, ask the students to reword the
survey questions so they lead to a different, pre-determined result. Have them
complete the rewritten survey and compare the results with their expectations.
Find a newspaper article that includes results of a survey. Discuss the position the
article takes and how it uses results of the survey to support its position. Have
students brainstorm questions that may have been asked to lead to desired results.
Then, have the class contact the author of the article to obtain the questions asked
in the survey. After evaluating the questions, ask students to determine if they
were worded to lead to desired answers.
Show the class how emphasizing certain words or changing the wording of a
statement can frame a subject. Present the example, Have you stopped cheating
on your tests? Explain that answering "yes" or "No" would mean that they did in
fact cheat on tests. Ask students to keep a log for one week, listing examples of
misleading statements they’ve read or heard. Discuss the findings and share
examples from the logs. Talk about situations where misleading statements were
prevalent and why.
Divide the class into groups and ask each group to identify a hypothesis that is
seemingly indisputable. For example, Hurricanes cause destruction. Have each
group write five questions that are structured to try to prove the opposite position,
i.e., Hurricanes do not cause destruction. As a class, review the surveys and, if
necessary, modify questions. Then direct the groups to conduct their surveys on
the student body and present the results to the class. Have the groups compose a
news article based on their findings and compile these into a school newsletter.
Ask each group to identify a quote from a famous speech that, when taken out of
context, has a different meaning. Each group should present its quote, or "sound
bite", and provide the segment of the speech from which it came. Have the groups
create a presentation that begins with a statement and follows with another
statement that changes the meaning of the original. As the students add to the
story they should continually change the meaning of the previous statements.
| 1. ||
Ask the students to discuss the benefit of being able to identify instances where context is removed and to recognize leading questions.
| 2. ||
Have the students create an experiment to try to “teach” someone else why it is important to consider the source of information. Discuss their results.
| 3. ||
As a class, create a list that helps people know if they are being misled. Test the list and revise it as necessary. Send the final version to a local newspaper.