When would you use this lesson?
Use this lesson to introduce students to the nuances of how misinformation spreads around major events, sometimes unintentionally, with a focus on the unintended consequences of sharing even “feel-good” misinformation. Students will learn how to recognize when to fact-check something and some basic fact-checking tools.
- Disinformation: False information created and shared to purposefully cause harm.
- A Russian “troll” posts about ballots thrown out.
- Misinformation: False information shared by people who are not aware that it is false. In fact, most times they post it with the intention to help.
- Your aunt shares the a video of an Eagle snatching a toddler from a park in order to alert her loved ones about a potential threat.
- Motivation: The difference between disinformation and misinformation.
- OWWWWW!: Acronym that reflects the sound we make when we feel pain as a way to remember how to “pre-bunk” information before resharing it.
- Who shared it?
- When was it originally shared?
- Where was the imagery originally captured?
- What was the motivation for sharing it?
- Who else is reporting it?
- Lesson slide deck Note: Remember to check that all links work inside the school Internet network. Video files are provided in a Drive folder below in case some sites are blocked.
- Lesson outline
- Student handout
- Folder with video files (in case other links not accessible in classroom)
Media literacy connection
This lesson will equip students to recognize potentially false information online and equip them to fact-check images, videos and claims. Students will also be able to analyze the motivation behind the sharing of disinformation and misinformation.
Misinformation is often spread surrounding major news events, such as the ongoing invasion of Ukraine. Students will be better equipped to sort through the validity of news stories and claims on social media about world events.
- MediaWise “Is This Legit?” series
- Fact-checking lesson for student journalists on Student Reporting Labs’ StoryMaker platform
- How to combat political misinformation from PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs
- Misinformation Overload interviews from PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs
- StoryMaker Media Literacy Learning
Writing – Research to Build and Present Knowledge
Speaking and Listening — Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas
Students leverage technology to take an active role in choosing, achieving, and demonstrating competency in their learning goals, informed by the learning sciences. (ISTE)
Students recognize the rights, responsibilities and opportunities of living, learning and working in an interconnected digital world, and they act and model in ways that are safe, legal and ethical. (ISTE)
Analyze the legal and ethical responsibilities required in the arts, audio/visual technology and communications workplace.
Civic and Political Institutions
In order to act responsibly and effectively, citizens must understand the important institutions of their society and the principles that these institutions are intended to reflect. That requires mastery of a body of knowledge about law, politics, and government. (NCSS D2.Civ.1.9-12 – D2.Civ.6.9-12)
Gathering and Evaluating Sources
Whether students are constructing opinions, explanation, or arguments, they will gather information from a variety of sources and evaluate the relevance of that information. (NCSS D3.1.9-12 – D3.2.9-12)
Speaking and Listening — Comprehension and Collaboration
- Science Direct Study (2021) on the effect of photographs on the likeliness of liking or sharing on social media
- Applied Cognitive Psychology (2007) study on how photographs distorts the memory of the news
- Neutralizing misinformation through inoculation: Exposing misleading argumentation techniques reduces their influence
- Power of photos in spreading misinformation
- Fact check of votes thrown in ditch
MediaWise is a digital media literacy initiative of the Poynter Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization. Now in over 170 middle and high schools, NewsHour’s Student Reporting Labs (SRL) is a national youth journalism program that trains teenagers across the country to produce stories that highlight the achievements and challenges of today’s youth.