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Teacher Lesson Return to "Curious About Bicurious"
Curious About Bicurious
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Health Class Activity (Media/News Literacy): “How do you know that’s true?” Reading, Discussion, and Short Writing Response

Objectives: Help teens think critically about the information they learn in news items; introduce teens to the idea that there is a range of human sexuality.

Before the lesson: Write these lists on a board or easel pad:

Study in a reputable publication
Assertion based on the author’s personal experience

Introduce the lesson/discussion: Ask each member of the group to name one item of information they heard or read today or yesterday. Tell them it could be from a website, television show, radio broadcast, magazine, newspaper, book, an ad, or a conversation. What was the item and where did it come from? Write down the sources on the board or pad as they are mentioned.

Then ask the group if any of them had any doubts about the accuracy of the information they heard. If you get any volunteers, ask them why they were skeptical. Was it the information itself, the source, or something else?

Read the story: Say to the group, “We are going to read a story that makes a claim about one aspect of New York City teenagers’ sexual behavior. Your job is to find the three main sources of information that back up the claim. Then you have to write two sentences about why the source makes you believe or not believe the claim. The list on the board should help you.”

Note to leader: The sources the students should identify are
• the citation of the medical journal;
• the author’s assertion based on her experience at her high school;
• the interviews conducted by the author.

You can have them read the article silently or ask for volunteers to take turns reading it aloud. When they are finished reading, give the group 5-7 minutes to list the main sources of information and why they were convincing or not. Ask for volunteers to give their opinions.

Side point: If you have time, ask them if the article tells them how many teens are reportedly involved in same-sex relations. Did any of them notice (or care) that the numbers in the articles are all percentages and not actual numbers? Ask them what they would have to know to estimate the number of New York City teens reporting that they have had same-sex relations. Here’s what you are looking for: the number of New York City teens that are sexually active. Then you would take 10% of that number to find the number reporting having same-sex relations.

Conclusion: Ask teens if they trust the accuracy of this story, especially the contention that 10% of teens are “bi-curious.” Ask where they would look for information that could verify or contradict these statistics.
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