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Lesson Plans

How teens deal with the spread of misinformation

May 30, 2019

Full Lesson


Find out what young people really think about the news and the spread of misinformation using a variety of short videos produced by PBS NewsHour’s Student Reporting Labs (SRL).


English, ELA, social studies, journalism

Estimated Time

One 45-minute class

Grade Level



“If there is bad information going around, how can we make rational, informed decisions about what is true and what is not?” asks Henry Smith from Royal Oak High School in Michigan.

Henry is one of the young voices highlighted in nearly 200 interviews with teen reporters that went into making SRL’s Misinformation Overload: Teens Reveal Perceptions and Impact of Misinformation series.  

In this lesson, students will watch videos of their choosing, learn about the role journalism plays in young people’s lives and figure out ways to navigate the challenges of misinformation.

Warm up activity

Watch the following video which gives a summary of the series. Ask students if they have discussed the problems of ‘fake news’ with their families or in any of their classes. What do they remember about the conversation?

Main activity

Put your media literacy skills to the test! Conduct media analysis of the Misinformation Overload series. Watch at least 6 videos, and answer the following questions for 3 of them.

There are a lot to choose from so ask your students to read the short summaries below the image. Have students write down their responses individually and report back their findings to the class or with a partner.

  • What did the subject say?
  • What is the issue that the subject is talking about?
  • Do you agree or disagree? Explain your answer.
  • Write down a follow up question you would ask to get more information from the subject.
  • What do you think can be done to stop the spread of misinformation?

Have your students share their thoughts with PBS NewsHour about the problem misinformation and the role of journalism in their lives by submitting a 250-500 word piece to PBS NewsHour Classroom’s Student Voice blog. Email it to and tweet @ReportingLabs and @NewsHourClassroom.

Extension Activities

Use these additional resources from PBS NewsHour to learn how misinformation affects youth:

Watch the PBS NewsHour Making the Grade segment, How media literacy can help students discern fake news.

NewsHour Classroom Lesson plan: How to teach your students about fake news

NewsHour article: Real things teachers can do to combat fake news