In this lesson, students consider the meanings of the term “fake news” and learn facts about the news industry that will help them recognize legitimate sources of news. They use an educational computer game to learn how to track a news story to its original source before evaluating its reliability, then practice the same skills “in the wild” with actual news stories.

In this lesson, students consider the ways in which our own biases can prevent us from being objective. They then learn ways to recognize and account for our biases and practice these by playing an interactive online game. Finally, students learn about how public service campaigns can change social norms and create their own PSA to promote ethical sharing of online information.

Level: Grades 9 to 12
About the Author: Matthew Johnson, Director of Education, MediaSmarts
Duration: 1 ½ to 2 hours, plus time for the assessment/evaluation activity

In this lesson, students consider the ways in which misinformation can have an impact on history and politics. After discussing a number of historical examples of misinformation, they examine the ways in which news sources may be biased and use an interactive online game to practice skills in getting more context on a story. Finally, students read a current news story and use what they have learned to find the context they need to understand it.

In this lesson, students start by considering the wide range of science and health information they are likely to encounter in news or through social media. They read an article on a scientific topic to help them understand the particular challenges of verifying science and health information and then use an educational computer game to practice skills in critically reading health and science stories. Finally, students compile a list of reliable sources they can turn to for verifying health and science stories.

The internet is all about sharing – sharing news, sharing videos, sharing our thoughts and opinions with our friends.

In fact, half of us pay more attention to who shared a story with us than where it originally came from.[1]

Because social media makes us all broadcasters, we have a responsibility not just to avoid sharing misinformation but to take action when people in our network share it.

One of the hardest things about being a responsible sharer is to be aware of your own biases, the reasons why you might be more likely to believe something without evidence. These are aspects of the way we think that can lead us to accept false statements, reject true ones, or simply not ask enough questions.

Here are three tips to make sure you share good information and stop the spread of hoaxes, rumours and scams.

1. Watch for your own bias

One of the hardest things about being a responsible sharer is to be aware of the reasons why you might be more likely to believe something without evidence. Before you share a story, take a few minutes to see whether you’ve fallen into one of these common biases: