In this lesson, students are introduced to the challenges of identifying what is real and what is fake online. After learning some simple steps to verify online information they create a poster that communicates the importance of questioning and double-checking online content.
On the internet, it can be hard to tell what’s true and what’s false—but we have to make a lot of decisions based on how reliable we think things are. In Reality Check, you’ll learn how to find clues like finding where a story originally came from and comparing it to other sources, as well as how to use tools like fact-checking sites and reverse image searches.
In this lesson, students participate in a workshop that teaches them four quick, easy steps to verify online information. After practicing these four steps they create a public service announcement aimed at teaching one of these steps and spreading the message that it is necessary for everyone to fact-check information we see online every time we are going to share it or act on it.
Level: Grades 9-12
Duration: 60 minutes
This lesson plan was developed by MediaSmarts for Elections Canada.
The Break the Fake: How to tell what’s true online workshop will teach audiences four quick, easy steps they can take to spot misinformation and find out if something online is true or not. Designed for audiences aged 11 and up, this workshop comes with everything you need to host a 60-minute presentation - including a slideshow, facilitator guide and handouts.
Internet search engines are a big part of how we find things online. You can get the most out of them by learning how they work, and how to use them quickly and effectively.
If you haven’t seen the story of the Hot Dog Princess that has been making the rounds of the Internet, I suggest you read this Buzzfeed article. To summarize: it was “Princess Week” at five-year-old Ainsley’s dance class and she decided to wear a hot dog costume. As a parent, this is the kind of youthful impertinence I can get behind. After all, THIS was a princess who really knew who she was, a princess that was not like other princesses, a #hotdogprincess.
Here are four quick and easy steps to find out the truth and share good information. Sometimes you only have to do one of these things, and most steps take less than a minute.
Using Fact-Checking Tools
Sometimes a single search can break the fake, if a professional fact-checker like Snopes has already done the work for you.
My two oldest kids started grades 10 and 11 in September. As usual, they took their smartphones with them the first day.
When they arrived home, I asked them how their classes had went, and they said that every single class had talked about the Ontario government’s new policy about cell phones in school – that is, that cell phones are to be used only for educational purposes, or health or special needs, during class time.
Here’s a weird thing: my kids don’t use social media to be, you know, social.
The other day, I was scrolling through my own Instagram feed, while my youngest daughter was looking over my shoulder. She was asking why I follow every account I follow. I explained time and again that each account was a friend of mine – some closer than others, but, for the most part, people I’ve met at some point in life and who I wanted to keep in touch with.