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Critical Thinking: Study Skills - Grade 8

Subject: Study Skills

Grade: 8th

Lesson Objective: To break down a body of text to its basic points, use that information to infer meaning, and understand the text's credibility and sources.

Common Core Standard: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.8.8 - Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; recognize when irrelevant evidence is introduced.


  • Two newspaper articles from different sources on the same topic. This lesson will work best with one article from a credible source, and another from a disreputable source, such as a gossip magazine. It can also be done with conflicting political beliefs.
  • Pen
  • Paper or Critical Thinking Worksheet
  • Projector



  • In this lesson, we will be learning how different sources present information and how people can skewed information to suit their needs. This is something you will often encounter in day-to-day life.
  • One quite commonplace that this happens is in the media, and recently it's been discussed quite heavily.
  • Today we will be dissecting two newspaper articles on the same topic and discussing the differences between them.
  • Once we understand the differences in the text, our next job will be to understand if each text is from a credible source.



  • Place both articles on the projector, allowing the class to see the articles on the board. Use the Critical Thinking Worksheet or draw a large diagram with three columns in the center of the board.
  • Label each end column with the newspapers' names that the articles are pulled from, the center column should be labeled "similarities."
  • Read each article out loud to the class. Once the reading is complete open the class for discussion.
  • Bring attention to the first article, list in the appropriate column all information that is specific and unique to this article under the first column.
  • Now bring the class's attention to the second article. Here we should see brand new information presented. Allow the class to write all new and unique information on the board under that column.
  • In the center column, list all the information that is included in both articles.
  • Allow the class to discuss why two different sources would have such differing viewpoints, even while pulling from the same information. 


  • How can a journalist manipulate information in that way?
  • What allows for the articles to be so different?
  • What do you think is the primary goal of each article?
  • What does the author want to make you believe?


  • Allow the class to discuss these questions openly.
  • Once the class has discussed the author's motives, bring their attention to the newspaper that published these articles.
  • Ask your class if they are familiar with the newspapers, and if they are, ask if they are known to be credible sources.
  • Then, discuss why they believe the newspaper companies are credible sources or not, then ask how they would prove that these news outlets are credible places to pull your information from.


Now that you have discussed this together as a group, ask each student to write several paragraphs about a time in their own lives where they had to look at the information presented and decide if it was accurate and how to move forward. This could be a time they heard a rumor in class or a time they saw something on the news. Ask them to describe how that information impacted them and how they handled the presented information.


Written by Amber White

Education World Contributor

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