Lesson Idea

Fake News and You

Theme: Cybercrime and the Law
Relates to WACC: ACHCK050, ACHCK062, ACHCK078, ACHCK094, VCCCC036, VCCCG020, VCCCL022, VCCCL034

Fake news is making news, and it is a problem. The volume and pace of information we now receive can make it difficult to spot fake news. An inability to differentiate between fake and accurate, reliable news isn’t something we should overlook. It can lead to uninformed decisions, sow distrust in public institutions, support criminal activity and even directly harm a person’s well-being since many potentially dangerous fake health news articles are shared on social media. This lesson supports students to identify examples of fake news and how it can impact on their decision making and strategies to spot fake news. It is important to emphasise with students that if they are in any doubt about what they are reading, they should go back to trusted sources.

  • Explain that news articles and advertising can often be biased. That is, facts are distorted to support a particular view. Examples of this can be election campaigns, action campaigns, marketing campaigns for rival products and newspaper reporting. Conduct a class brain dump for one minute of current examples of biased news or advertising students are aware of.
  • Discuss that fake news is not the same as biased media or advertising. Show students the ABC video Fake news. Discuss the examples of fake news highlighted in the video, identifying those that could impact on the democratic process and those that could lead to criminal activity. Ask students to complete the Text to Text, Text to Self, Text to World handout and pair and share their answers.
  • Ask students to predict strategies that can be used to identify fake news. Write these on the whiteboard. Show the video Basic verification tips.  Discuss the verification tips presented in the video and add any additional strategies to those listed on the board. Ask students how they can use these strategies to become an active and informed digital citizen. Conclude the activity by asking students to create a poster that encourages and assists teenagers to spot fake news. Conduct a class vote and post the top ten posters around the school.
  • Explain that students will now face a Fake News Challenge. (Individual iPads or computers will be needed for this activity.) Students may use either of the following sites to work their way through a Fake News Challenge. Once completed, discuss students’ results and whether they found it difficult or easy to spot the fake news.

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