Preparation for Plugin #3 "Detailed"
Claims, Evidence and
Reasoning (CER)

Lesson Plan

This preparation is in three parts. The first (in gray below) comes from Stanford's Civic Online Reasoning course. The second (in white) are background videos looking at claims made by two White House press secretaries. The third is a "we do" Detailed Page Check performed on an article about Biden Press Secretary Jen Psaki's claim about oil prices.

Learning Targets

  • We can use the Fake News Fitness plugin to analyze a web-based claim and the evidence and reasoning given for that claim.

  • We can evaluate the evidence and reasoning behind a claim about gasoline prices.

NOTE: Your third use of the Fake News Fitness plugin will be to make a "detailed" judgement about a page, which includes reading the content and looking at other pages on the website and on other websites that evaluate the site. Today is a full-class practice for doing it on your own.


  1. Watch Video: Evaluating Evidence (Stanford Civic Online Reasoning)

  2. Discuss Articles: Solving Climate Change (Stanford Civic Online Reasoning)

  3. Watch Video: Trump Voter Fraud Claim Based On 'Evidence'

  4. Discuss: Should we expect presidents to provide evidence for claims?

  5. Watch Video: A Tale of Two Secretaries: "Lying Liars"

  6. Visit this article: Jen Psaki is a Lying Liar who Lies: Insane Gas Prices Edition

Evaluating Evidence: Navigating Digital Info #6

This 13-minute video is part of Stanford's Civic Online Reasoning (COR) course, specifically the "Intro to What's the Evidence" lesson, designed to "help students develop skills for critically evaluating varied forms of evidence online." There are two lesson plans, Level I and Level II, based on student reading levels and experience with social media (Level II references Facebook and Twitter).

The video moves VERY fast (you can slow down Youtube, and you can pause the video). It provides great visual examples, and moves through all of the content you would want students to know.

One could simply talk through the video with students, rather than doing the lessons, as preparation for the press secretary examples below, where we go into greater detail to give students a more pointed experience than the COR video's sprint through topics.

Comparing Articles

This "discovery" assessment prompts students to consider "Who's behind the information" presented in a web-based article? Both of the examples below were found in The Atlantic, but one is "sponsored content". Students must identify who is behind the articles and consider potential conflicts of interest in order to successfully evaluate the articles.

The assessment provided is an open paragraph style question PDF with a rubric provided for evaluating responses. For this lesson, just discuss the two in light of the question above, and whether and how evidence is provided for claims made. Note: Most students may think the sponsored post more reliable because of the appearance of data: “It’s easier to understand with the graph and seems more reliable because the chart shows facts right in front of you.” Go to the data sources.

A Tale of Two Press Secretaries: "Alternative Facts"

These videos compare representations about Trump's inauguration size by his press secretary Sean Spicer with The Federalist's attack on Biden's press secretary Jen Psaki's statement about the rising price of oil.

  1. Load FNF. You should be on "Default" with 4 tabs showing, like the image at right.

  2. Complete On Page and Trust Rank tabs. (Teacher - see recommended responses)

  3. Switch to CER Links and complete those fields.

  4. Switch to Actions and enter a Claim Validity Rank (see below) and explain why.

  5. Use the Actions Tab to save to Google Drive, or copy/paste to a Word doc.

  6. Discuss your experiences and questions with the class. What would you need clarification on before you do a Claim=>Evidence=>Reasoning (CER) Investigation on your own?

New Data and Options in the Detailed Version of the Form

Detailed Form: New Fields

Lede Paragraph: This gives context for the claim, although the claim may not be given there.

Focus Claim Summary: For this assignment, choose one claim from the Lede or from within the article and summarize it.

Evidence Links: This is evidence given by the article for the claim. "Only Content Links" might be empty, or might have many links. Keep only links that support the claim you're evaluating. Or, delete all, and add yours back below the list.

Summarize the evidence as you see it, or copy/paste an expert summary if you can't understand the evidence. See the example at right.

Reasoning: Summarize the reasoning connecting the evidence to the claim. If the reasoning is not explicit, say what is implied in the article.

Claim Validity Rank: The 5 options at the top of the right-hand column are explained below in blue. This is the linked help page, reached by clicking the question mark icon at the top.

The Five Claim Validity Ranks

At the top of the Actions tab is a place to rank whether you consider that the article claim you chose to focus on is supported by the evidence and the reasoning connecting that evidence to the claim. There are five options given, followed below by detailed explanations of what that rank means.

  1. OK: Reader: You verify that the evidence is trustworthy, and the way the evidence supports the claim makes sense to you.

  2. OK: Experts: The evidence is by expert you trust, and the way the evidence supports the claim makes sense to you.

  3. Bad Reasons: The evidence given is clear or trustworthy, but you don't see how it supports the claim being made.

  4. Bad Evidence: The evidence given is not trustworthy (or marked as bad), so it does not support the claim.

  5. No Evidence: The link to the evidence is broken or un-reachable, so there's no support for the claim.

After choosing one of these, briefly explain why you gave that rank.

Questions for Later

If this article linked to bad evidence, maybe there's another article you can find that makes the same claim, but has better evidence? You could make a note to go do that.

Are there any questions raised by this claim that need further investigation? If another student were going to comment on this document after you save it, what would you like them to think about and respond to?