Given the vast amount of information available online, students need to be able to distinguish between legitimate and dubious evidence. This task assesses whether students can evaluate evidence when it takes the form of a vivid photograph. Students are presented with a post from Imgur, a photo sharing website, which includes a picture of daisies along with the claim that the flowers have “nuclear birth defects” from Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.
Although the image is compelling and tempting to accept at face value, successful students will argue that the photograph does not provide strong evidence about conditions near the nuclear power plant. Students may question the source of the post, arguing that we know nothing about the credentials of the person who posted this photo (especially since it appears on a site where anyone can upload a photo). Alternatively, students may point out that the post provides no proof that the picture was taken near the power plant or that nuclear radiation caused the daisies’ unusual growth.