Autumn interdisciplinary School : Critical mind and Media feedback and ressources 🇫🇷

.... Fight against misinformation at school and elsewhere

From 27 to 30 October 2019
at the Maison pour la science en Alsace – University of Strasbourg

For this meeting of exchange and good practices in Strasbourg, the team of the Maison pour la science en Alsace created an interdisciplinary school out of school time, over three days, on an actual theme : Training critical and media education professionals, Fighting against misinformation at school and elsewhere. 

Offschool formats, as part of teacher training, are always a good opportunity to think out of the box in terms of modalities, creativity and hospitality.Indeed, we were keen to reiterate this type of event, already tested in 2016 around the theme of ” Science and languages “. The principle is simple, to gather in 3 days, the best of the specialists of all disciplines and the teachers of all levels, around a thematic with societal, scientific and educational stakes. The aim here is not to hild a research conference but to create a learning community, a think tank, by creating active, varied, concrete, and informal meeting times.  The richness of the seminar lies in the mix of these actors and the interactions between speakers and participants. A look at the list of invited and present speakers:

Particular importance has also been devoted to the opening of a several schedules of this seminar, in order to share it with the general public like public conferences or parallel workshops. List of the public conferences

Why and how did we create this training?

Every day, we are overwhelmed with information, sometimes valid, erroneous, false, manipulated or even malicious intent. To navigate, both teacher & citizen must understand not only how information is constructed and propagated, but also the mechanisms by which it is the assimilated by the human brain. This is why an interdisciplinary approach that covers the fields of cognitive psychology, sociology, philosophy, epistemology, zetetics, pedagogy or journalism is necessary if we want to propose concrete solutions to the fight against misinformation. This issue, which is becoming a major challenge in our society, has been exposed by specialists who wish to build bridges between disciplines to provide collective solutions, beyond the scope of their field of competence.

  1. Meetings between speakers and participants
  2. Conferences – debates and small group workshops on the work of each stakeholder.
  3. Reflexive work between speakers and participants
  4. Critical analysis of various media of information.
  5. Practical workshops : Playful situations around zetetic. 
  6. Teaching practical workshops for teachers and activities to transpose for students.
  7. Reflective work between participants
  8. Collective reflection on a project for the class.
  9. Support on concrete examples already tested in the academy.
  10. Public conference for public

” Critical Spirit and Media ” in numbers this year is :   

3 complete days with 13 speakers : researchers, teachers, journalists, epistemologist, sociologist, 38 registered participants (including first and second level physics chemistry, SVT, mathematics, documentalists, scientific mediators, student in education science, teacher trainers, scientists and trainers in connection with the MPLS Alsace), 6 SPOONERS, 5 lectures open to the general public on cognitive biaisis, scientific method and students, misinformation, mechanics of beliefs, and Knowledge, Beliefs, Opinions: for a didactic and secular distinction .

SPOON side :

As part of the SPOON project, we tested different forms of integration of our European colleagues in the event, so that they can make the most of both content and the spirit of the three days of events Without professional translation support, we had to improvise. We wanted to share four essential aspects that structure our courses and more particularly our off-schools trainings : Aspects contained scientific (of current research), ideas for activities to be implemented in classroom, examples of good practices already in place, inter-professional dialogues aspects, and informal moments. 

The public conference format was therefore to be excluded first,as it could not be easily transposed into English.  However, four of our speakers, Guillaume Lecointre , Manon Berriche, Camille Lakhlifi and Rose-Marie Farinella  have agreed to give the same presentation initially planned in French for French teachers, in English especially for SPOONERS. This already guaranteed a faithful transcript of the scientific content of these three days :

For the more educational activities, we decided to integrate the SPOONERS to the group of participants by pairing them in pairs with our English-speaking training colleagues, whom we have designated as facilitators to be at their disposal to explain the progress of the activity. . Added to this, the majority of documents, slideshows, protocol, activities, etc. made available to the SPOONERS to participate in the activity in parallel with the others.

Thanks to this link combining human support and documentary support, we hope to have been able to transmit at the same time the state of mind, the modalities and the contents of the initial local training.

Another time, completely allocated to SPOONERS, was in response to a request from our Basque partners of the Elhuyar Foundation , who wanted to know how teachers and scientists worked on a daily basis or on specific projects at MPLS in Alsace. We therefore proposed to our colleagues to present in English, a few slides of concrete examples of projects developed within the framework of the MPLS Alsace :

  • Virginie-Laurent Gydé, research professor at the INCI (Virginie Laurent-Gydé wants to make students aware of the effects blue light :,
  • Clarisse Huguenard-Devaux, research professor at the Faculty of Chemistry (In charge of a pilot college project, she is very involved in student / student / teacher / scientist links to create within a school project. She has also produced a publication for her peers to explain how to make trainings at the MPLS Alsace has profoundly modify her own teaching practices at the University of Strasbourg) and
  • Olivier Dorvaux, physics research professor at the IPHC (Olivier is our guide in the physics research laboratories that he regularly opens for us, he particularly likes interdisciplinary projects related to industry and technology, he has built many actions in the framework of the international year of light)  
Example of a teacher training created with Olivier Dorvaux : For translation -> settings -> subtitles ->English

—-Debunking misinformations & fake news—-

An active contribution also allowed the partners of Boswell Beta and TZ to propose to a mixed audience, a morning to activate debunking of fake news . An essential part, because it makes it possible to cross the good practices of training modalities, and to compare the proposed contents.

Freek Pols (Boswel Beta, Netherlands) and Bojan Markičević (Tvornica Znanosti, Croatia) workshop:
Our students see and process information from the internet continuously. With new digital techniques such as deep fake it is hard to distinguish real from fake. Although it is hard to be critical when such techniques are applied, students have the ability to assess information themselves using science.
This workshop focusses on two main outputs:

  • develop and enhance critical thinking,
  • use science to distinguish between real and fake.

Among the activities shared with the SPOONERS, one proposed by Denis Caroti, from the CORTECS group. CORTECS was created in 2010 in a triangle between Grenoble, Marseille and Montpellier. Its central objective is to transmit the various aspects of critical thinking, critical or skeptical thinking (critical or skeptical thinking in English-speaking people), whether it is called zététique, after Henri Broch, preventive hygiene of judgment like Jean Rostand, or intellectual self-defence like Noam Chomsky. At the same time, the collective aims to network all persons studying or working on a subject related to the development, use or dissemination of critical thinking, regardless of their disciplinary origin and professional status.

—-The power of water—-

According to its authors, this sequence consists of setting up a water detection test protocol. It is deliberately poorly designed at the outset and will need to be gradually improved by participants, possibly with some help. We then very easily and empirically understand a few simple rules so that a scientific protocol is rigorous, and a statistic is well established.
A “Seeker” (and his assistant) performs an experiment to demonstrate that he is able to find water only with his “power”.

Equipment: ten glasses, water, a cardboard device to mask the glasses.
Introduction of the concept of statistical analysis.

The principle is to test whether the number of good results obtained is the result of chance. To do this, it is necessary to determine in advance a threshold of correct answers beyond which the hypothesis of chance will be rejected as too improbable, leaving the emphasis on the hypothesis of real power. A threshold of 5% is commonly chosen, which in this experiment amounts to a score of 9/10 or 10/10. However, this threshold can be lowered to 1% to reduce the risk of rejecting the explanation of chance even further (the number of correct answers then increases to 10/10). The usefulness of redoing the test to confirm the results will also be discussed.

—-The collection of argumentative moulds for competitions in bad faith—-

Also another useful resource, produced by CORTECS : “The collection of argumentative moulds for bad faith competitions”.
The exercise consisted in identifying these mouldy arguments in documents such as scams and charlatanism. For example, we used a flyer selling the effects of magnetotherapy, distributed at a fair. But all kinds of documents can be used to play at detecting these fallacious arguments.

Example of argumentative moulds :


Method: Use complicated terms or unknown facts so that the other person does not do not understand, hoping he will not dare to question not to pass for an uneducated.


• This situation is reminiscent of the disastrous confederation of Senegambia.

• I will not, of course, go back to Kant’s nouménales categories, which every student of terminale knows.

The personal attack (or argumentum ad hominem)

Method: to attack the person (on his morality, his character, his nationality, his religion …) and not his arguments.


• Unable to give Heidegger credit, given his Nazi affinities.

• How can one adhere to Rousseau’s positions on education, when he abandoned his own children?

The argumentative « mille-feuille » or « layer cake »

Method: Stack a proliferation of weak arguments in a mesh so tight that they reinforce themselves reciprocally without being confronted with each other.


• And the flag fluttering? And non-parallel shadows? And the framing crosses? And belts Van Allen? And Stanley Kubrick? All that proves that we never went to the moon!

• Tobacco causes cancer, promotes US companies and cigarette butts pollute


An another tool from CORTECS Sorting information and teaching critical thinking: a map to help J.MACHET

Sources :

Sources : Denis Caroti
Professor of Physical and Chemical Sciences
Collaborator of the Zététique Laboratory of the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis
Transdisciplinary Research Collective Esprit Critique & Sciences

Fake news factory

Another activity carried out together with the SPOONERS and the other participants.

  1. Your mission is to make a scientific news / article : with the constraints drawn randomly in the two mystery boxes. You will need to make your production in this following form: In a single Keynote / Powerpoint slide include:  a photo / image, a title, a subtitle if needed, a header, and a few lines that tells the news.  Other medias / quotes, etc. can be added as long as it fits in the slide.
  2. Present your news, your audience should try to find if he was fooling or not and discuss!

BOX 1 You have to :

Write a serious info that seems fake.

Write a fake news that you have created with the elements of your choice.

A real fake news proved fake news in the medias.

BOX 2  About / Topics :

TOPIC : Innovative teaching practice

TOPIC : Technical Novelty

TOPIC : Scientific novelty

Power bracelet

We then worked with the resources of La Fondation la main à la pâte, the mother structure of the Maisons pour la science, which continues to work in the spirit of investigation taught by the Foundation. This essential and historic partner is a major producer of science resources for teachers and trainers, with concrete ideas for the classroom. Several topics are regularly covered by the Foundation with a hand in the game, and critical thinking is one of them. For our school, we have decided to introduce the participants to an activity called “the power bracelet”.

—-The power bracelet—-

(Original Version of Fondation la main à la pâte) 

Evaluate – From Cycle 3

  • Objective: Learn to distinguish personal opinions from those based on a scientific approach.

Know-How Scientific Spirit, Critical Mind: 3.3 – Checking an Information

  • Level 2: Check information with external sources
  • Teachings / Disciplines: Science and Technology
  • Associated skills: To practice, with the help of the teacher, some moments of an investigation process – To propose, with the help of the teacher, an approach to solve a problem or answer a question of a scientific nature.

 Activity : Believe or not believe?

  • General objective: To learn to differentiate between types of “evidence” and to classify them on the basis of their quality.
  • Process and modalities: From the consideration of an object supposedly endowed with miraculous virtues (the power bracelet), the class considers various arguments concerning it (in the form of cards), brought by various sources (phase 1). They then question and investigate the respective weight of these statements: who should we trust and why (phase 2)?
  • Duration: 1 h 30, distributed over two sessions, plus a possible extension
  • Material: For the whole class/ participants: an image of the power bracelet + cards printed, if possible, in large size.
  • For each pair of students: 1 card game
  • Production: A grid of criteria / questions to ask in order to assess the confidence to be given to the testimony given by a source of information
  • Message for pupils: It is not always possible to verify an affirmation by oneself, by an experiment. We then turn to others, but it is important to recognize, from all sources, those that are reliable. They must be multiple in the same direction, based on scientific experience and carried by experts in the field.



🥄  About this topic, Danel advises you :

1) Primary school and Secondary school
2) Kindergarten (online book):


Cite this blog post
Elena Iuliani (2019, November 20). Autumn interdisciplinary School : Critical mind and Media feedback and ressources 🇫🇷. SPOON Open Notebook 🥄 SPOON . Retrieved May 23, 2024, from

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1 Response

  1. 03/12/2019

    […] Autumn interdisciplinary School : Critical mind and Media 🇫🇷 Fake-news-factory-ENDownload […]

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