Project Idea: "Science Vs. Parents"

The Gimlet Media podcast Science Vs. is a great model for student enquiry. It starts with a clear-cut but open-ended question, such as "do detoxes work?", then defines its terms (in the case of detoxes, looking at four specific types of detoxes) and its standard for evidence (peer reviewed research and interviews with university-based researchers). Also it's funny, weird, and gross. 

I was thinking that students could produce podcasts based on the Science Vs. format, but I know that coming up with a question is really difficult in this kind of project, and everything rests on the quality of the question. 

Hence "Science vs. Parents" because our parents tell us lots of things, and we may be eager to disprove them (though of course the point isn't to disprove, but to find out the truth). 

Off the top of my head, here are questions that I could pursue:

  • Will taking arnica help with pain?
  • Will a shower take care of my headache?
  • Do I need more sleep than I'm getting? 
  • Can deep breathing help me get to sleep?

An immediate problem that presents itself is that I don't want to make a podcast that's going to make my mom feel bad (Science Vs. actually involved parents in the episode on chiropractors, and the producer's parents took it in good humor, but not all parents will be like that). 

Anyway here some resources I could use to stitch together with this project:

  • When we first come up with "stuff parents say that we disagree with", we could use the 2x2 boxes that Kelly Gallagher uses to teach argumentative writing, where you write down their arguments and your arguments.
  • George Hillock's "Evidence and Warrant" structure and his point that you start with evidence and then make the argument that the evidence demands you make, rather than starting from the argument and finding evidence to back it up, will be helpful too.