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PBS Nova - The Secrets of the Psychics
Student Worksheet

Students need to be able to differentiate between true scientific research and the so-called pseudoscience or junk science. This documentary explores multiple supernatural claims made by psychics, psychic healers, faith healers, and others. Students will see that when the scientific method is applied to each of these claims, they fall apart rather quickly.

Teachable Moment: The second half of the documentary takes place in Russia, where the host subjects the claimed psychic abilities of different people to the scientific method. In one example, he employs a double-blind experiment on a psychic who believes he can manipulate the brain waves and heart rate of another person.

Essential concepts: Pseudoscience, scientific method, experimental design, independent variable, dependent variable, double-blind experiment.

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