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POV/Bias Detection Lesson

Social Studies Lessons for High School is designed for social studies teachers to use with their government and history courses. It was developed in response to a shift in education throughout our country: a move away from rote memorization and toward the critical thinking skills necessary for many of the new performance assessment programs.

Each lesson will enable teachers to teach seven specific critical thinking skills in a step-by-step process. The information has been adapted for old media and new media formats. Web sites will be provided that will allow teachers to choose the most appropriate resource for the selected activity. All selections can be copied for classroom use. Teachers may adapt activities to allow students to complete assignments via the web.

Bob Black is former Teachers Network web mentor. He is a social studies teacher at the Harbor City Learning Center, located across the street from the historic Edgar Allen Poe House  in Baltimore, MD.


Students will analyze legislation designed to protect the rights of individuals and groups and to promote equity in American society.

Model for Analysis


EDITORIAL: It's time to stop playing with these kids! Times have changed and the nature of the crimes has become more serious. Many more juveniles are committing crimes today than ever before. Juveniles who commit these heinous crimes should pay the appropriate price. After all, the misbehavior and truancy of yesterday are not the same as the drug use and murder of today. No matter what the age, if you do the crime you should do the time.

Q.  What is the author's purpose?
A.  To suggest that juvenile penalties no longer fit the severity of the crimes being committed

Q. What are the author's arguments in support of his/her viewpoint? A. Times have changed; juvenile crimes have become more severe; current penalties do not address more violent crimes; penalties should be harsher.

Q. Are generalizations or exaggerations used? Give evidence from the source. 
A. Generalization - "crimes have become more serious"

Q. Are any opinions stated as facts? Give evidence from the source. 
A. "Many more juveniles are committing crimes today."

Q. Are emotionally "loaded" words/images used? Give evidence.
A. "Heinous crimes"

Q. Does the author's bias weaken his/her arguments? Explain. 
A. No - the author supports his viewpoint with comparisons of crime yesterday and today
yes - the author should include more facts

Q. Describe how you were able to evaluate the author's point of view. 
A. By reading the author's statements to identify the viewpoint, and then deciding if the arguments were convincing


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