Fun with Fallacies

Program Description

In an era where the universe of misinformation seems to be expanding more rapidly than the real one, we are in need of tools that can help us sort good argument from bad. In this on-line synchronous learning program for teens and tweens, we dive into the fun world of informal logical fallacies by exploring some of the most ubiquitous and egregious errors in thinking. Students become acquainted with fallacies through a combination of group activities and discussion, mixed-media, and instruction. Aims of the program include: Learning about what constitutes good reasoning from bad reasoning, identifying fallacious reasoning in everyday use, cultivating critical-creative thinking skills, enhancing general reasoning capabilities, and promoting cooperative learning, diverse perspectives and civil, engaged and reasoned discourse and decision-making.

The program can be adapted as multi-part series for junior high and high school students—with each class focusing on and playfully exploring one informal logical fallacy per meeting. While critical, creative thinking is relevant to all fields of study, the skills cultivated in this program cross over most naturally with philosophy, behavioral sciences, social studies, political science/civics, science, and language arts and literacy. Examples of Common Core Standards that the program addresses include, but are not limited to:

Social Studies

  • Apply the steps of an inquiry process (i.e., identify question or problem, locate and evaluate potential resources, gather and synthesize information, create a new product, and evaluate product and process)
  • Apply criteria to evaluate information (e.g., origin, authority, accuracy, bias, distortion of information and ideas
  • Synthesize and apply information to formulate and support reasoned personal convictions within groups and participate in negotiations to arrive at solutions to differences
  • Describe and compare how people create places that reflect culture, human needs, government policy, and current values and ideas
  • Apply ideas, theories, and methods of inquiry to analyze historical and contemporary developments, and to formulate and defend reasoned decisions on public policy issues

English Language Arts & Literacy

  • Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text
  • Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence

Information Literacy-Library Media

  • Define problems, analyze their parts, and evaluate the purpose and scope
  • Identify types of information needed
  • Participate and collaborate in intellectual and social networks following safe and accepted practices
  • Evaluate multiple resources and other creative expressions from diverse cultures, including those of Montana American Indians
  • Access and use resources and information from all types of information environments to pursue personal and creative interests

Presenter Bio

Marisa Diaz Waian is the founder and executive director of Merlin CCC, a Helena-based philosophy nonprofit – and an adjunct philosophy (ethics) instructor at Carroll College.


Marisa Diaz-Waian
Philosopher, executive director Merlin CCC
(406) 439-5788