This paper describes classroom activities to help students understand the publication cycle and the characteristics of major publication channels (textbooks, books, encyclopedias, and periodicals) for first-year physics students. When designing these activities, the author considered the intellectual development characteristics and the epistemological view of first-year students. These activities help students appreciate how information is refined and repackaged along the publication cycle. Through understanding the varieties of information sources, they learn how to choose the appropriate sources to meet their information needs. Although the activities were created for physics students, they can easily be modified for students in other fields of study.
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