In this media literacy activity, students will analyze two video clips about Exxon's 1980s scientific research, which indicated a link between fossil fuels and rising global temperatures.
The videos make different claims as to the relevancy of the research and why Exxon chose to keep the information away from the public.
Students will investigate how the video producers' intentions and goals shaped the information in each video.
The lesson plan includes discussion questions for several academic subjects.
This lesson requires students to think critically about where information comes from and how the producer's intentions shape the viewer's understanding of the topic.
Teachers must create a free account to access the materials.
Teachers should research the sources so they are aware of their viewpoints and biases.
For more information about climate change misinformation, have students watch this video by the Climate Reality Project.
Students could respond to questions individually or in small groups before discussing their answers as a class.
Social studies classes could debate whether corporations are responsible for divulging information that could affect the well-being of people or the environment.
Science classes could evaluate the claims made in the two videos and discuss the way that scientific findings are generally shared with the scientific community and the public.
Other resources on this topic include this lesson on misinformation about climate change, this activity on identifying climate myths, and this NowThis Earth video on greenwashing.
This resource is recommended for teaching for students to decipher and extract energy data from Exxon.
Science and Engineering
ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
MS-ESS3-5 Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.
English Language Arts
R.6-8.9 Assess how perspective or purpose shapes the content and style of various texts.
Personal Finance & Economics
Personal Finance (F1): Students understand the principles and processes of personal finance by explaining how scarcity influences choices and relates to the market economy.
Economics (F1): Students understand the principles and processes of personal economics, the influence of economics on personal life and business, and the economic systems of Maine, the United States, and various regions of the world by describing the functions of financial institutions