The internet makes finding information on anything incredibly easy for anyone. But it also makes CREATING information -- including information that is heavily biased and/or full of outright lies -- easy, too. There are hundreds of people making thousands of dollars by generating fake news stories that go viral whether they are true or not. In fact, fake news stories were viewed more, shared more and liked more on Facebook during the 2016 Presidential election than news stories generated by reliable, professional reporters and sources. And given that 44 percent of ALL Americans report getting news on Facebook, that’s a REALLY big deal.
The only way to fight back against fake news is for ordinary readers -- people just like you and me -- to take steps to evaluate the reliability of the sources and stories that we are seeing online. Use this handout -- which details three questions to ask when evaluating online sources -- to help your students practice those skills.
NOTE: Students are asked to explore two fake news articles in this activity. At the bottom of both articles, there is a reference to masturbation. If your students aren't mature enough for that kind of reference, consider teaching this lesson as a class think aloud. That way, no student is exposed to that content without support.
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