Josh has taught Earth Science and Physical Science at the High School level and holds a Master of Education degree from UNC-Chapel Hill.
After this lesson, students will be able to:
- describe the role of journalism in contemporary society.
- describe how to determine if something is fake news.
Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, attending to such features as the date and origin of the information.
Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.
- Begin the lesson by writing the term 'fake news' on the board, keeping in mind that this term is likely to elicit a strong immediate reaction from students. Ask students to tell their peers what they know about fake news. Write interesting or pertinent ideas on the board.
- Start the video lesson Contemporary Journalism & Its Role in Society. If needed, a transcript of the video can be found on the video page.
- Pause the video at 1:47. Discuss the following questions as a class, connecting the discussion back to the ideas on the board when possible:
- What is journalism?
- What role does journalism play in our society?
- Is journalism a good thing? A bad thing? Why? (Ask for specific examples for this question.)
- Resume the video and let it play to the end. Discuss the following as a class:
- What role does the internet play in our daily news consumption?
- What are some advantages of internet-based news? Disadvantages?
- Where does fake news fit into all of this?
- What responsibility do news consumers have in today's society? How can we ensure what we are reading is real?
Fake News Activity
- Now that students have an understanding of the role of journalism in modern society, they will dive a bit deeper into the idea of fake news. First, they will do some brief research to highlight a fake news story.
- Ask students to search online for a fake news story related to any topic they wish. They will present their findings to the class in an open discussion. Be sure to put in place firm guidelines on what they are allowed to search for; when dealing with fake news, many outlandish and disturbing stories might pop up. An alternative to this activity is to curate a list of fake news stories to discuss with the class.
- Next, students will play a quick game to develop their fake news sensing skills. Ask each student to come up with two different 'news' story headlines about their own lives. One must be completely factual (e.g. 'My soccer team won our game last weekend') and one must be fake news (e.g. 'My soccer team scored 12 goals last weekend').
- Have students pair up and read their headlines to each other. Their partner should then do whatever it takes to determine which news story is real and which one is fake. Suggest that they ask questions, check sources, and take on the role of an interviewer in order to determine the truth.
- After this activity, pose the following questions to the whole class:
- What are some strategies for determining if something is fake news?
- What advice do you have for your peers when they are consuming news on the internet?
- As a wrap-up activity, have students take the lesson's quiz.
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