Overview of the Truth Ideal


The Truth Module helps students develop understanding and appreciation of the complexities involved in figuring out issues of truth. Issues of truth come up constantly day to day--rumors in personal life, politician's statements, scientific controversies, news reports, and many more. They also come up constantly in the subject areas: How can we prove this mathematical idea? How do we know this "fact" from history? How sure can we be of this scientific theory or historical or literary interpretation? Seeking truth is one of the fundamental threads in human thought and human affairs.

Specifically, the Truth Module aims to:

  • Increase students' awareness of the many issues of truth and evidence that come up both in academic studies and in everyday life.
  • Create a commitment to a habit of being thoughtful about such issues.
  • Teach students how to navigate through situations of confusion, doubt and conflict regarding truth.
  • Engage students in reflection and communication that fosters different thinking skills helpful for sorting out matters of truth and evidence.
  • Develop students' sensitivity to issues of truth so that they recognize them even in situations that don't feel highly charged.


As in all the modules, the module for truth makes extensive use of thinking routines rich in the kinds of thinking that serve questions of truth. Recall that thinking routines do not need to be taught in advance; you can simply begin to use them in the context of content learning. Also, many routines apply to more than one ideal. For more about routines in general, see the routines section.

The 5 routines for this module are:

  • *Tug for Truth -- reasons pulling different ways, plus questions to investigate, a Truth Ideal version of the crosscutting Tug of War routine
  • *Claim, Support, Question -- clarify claim, give support, look at other side of case
  • *True for Who -- what different voices might say about the same issue, a Truth Ideal version of the Circle of Viewpoints
  • Spotting Hotspots -- look for issues of true and false, rate as to importance and uncertainty
  • Stop, Look, Listen -- be clear about a claim, identify likely sources, ask what the sources might tell you

* Consider starting with one of these routines

Each of these routines is explained in the truth routines section.

Other Activities

Because the Truth Module is an inquiry into students' thinking as much as it is an instructional program, the module includes several activities for probing students thinking. These are often done at the beginning of the module as a way of introducing the ideal . Other activities involve students in reflecting on what they have been learning and can be found in the working with the ideal section. Finally, wrap up and post-measures of students' thinking are included in the looking at students' conceptual development section.