This article details attempts made by The Heartland Institute, a think tank that denies climate change, to influence teachers to teach from their materials.
Students will learn about the lengths that climate deniers are willing to go to influence others, propaganda, and the history of The Heartland Institute.
This article provides an interesting look at a hot-button topic in schools: misinformation.
The article is well-written and provides enough context and background information for students to draw interesting conclusions about their reading.
Students should have an understanding of various existing climate change misconceptions, and the motivations of corporate climate change deniers.
Students may experience a pop-up about cookies or how to donate to Grist.
Cross-curricular connections can be made in social studies classes learning about historical propaganda, or in health classes that are considering corporate intentions and distinguishing truth from falsehoods.
Before reading, poll students on their thoughts about misinformation and how it is targeted at them. Do they believe that they experience misinformation or propaganda in their everyday lives? Where? This may lead to a robust and interesting conversation, especially with older students or classes that use social media.
For older students, this resource would pair well with The Debunking Handbook, which explains how to debunk misinformation. Have students role-play debunking information from The Heartland Institute.
This resource is a website with an article about the Heartland Institute, a think tank notorious for climate misinformation, which has sent its latest book, “Climate at a Glance,” to 8,000 American middle and high school teachers. The book aims to discredit established climate science and provide “the data to show the earth is not experiencing a climate crisis.” This resource would be a great addition to a classroom discussion about climate truth and where to find credible information.
Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
MS-ESS3-5 Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.
College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
Dimension 3: Gathering and Evaluating Sources
D3.2.6-8 Evaluate the credibility of a source by determining its relevance and intended use.
D3.2.9-12 Evaluate the credibility of a source by examining how experts value the source.
Dimension 4: Taking Informed Action
D4.6.9-12 Use disciplinary and interdisciplinary lenses to understand the characteristics and causes of local, regional, and global problems; instances of such problems in multiple contexts; and challenges and opportunities faced by those trying to address these problems over time and place.
Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
Reading: Informational Text (K-12)
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.2 Determine two or more central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to provide a complex analysis; provide an objective summary of the text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.3 Analyze a complex set of ideas or sequence of events and explain how specific individuals, ideas, or events interact and develop over the course of the text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.10 By the end of grade 11, read and comprehend literary nonfiction in the grades 11-CCR text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range. By the end of grade 12, read and comprehend literary nonfiction at the high end of the grades 11-CCR text complexity band independently and proficiently.