Critical Thinking, Bias, and Fake News! Back to School Learning Skills (SEL)

Grade Levels
6th - 10th, Homeschool
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  • Google Apps™
  • Activity
542 slides, 52 pages of handouts, 192 pages of lesson plans
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24 Critical Thinking lessons.

Perfect BACK TO SCHOOL activities to kick start a year of critical thinking.

Explore Fake News, Point of View, Bias, Social Media vs Traditional News.

Detailed lesson plan with discussion points, review questions, slideshow lesson, handouts, and activities.

USE this life-long tool over and over again!

  • Use these lessons as part of your BACK TO SCHOOL activities with your new class to get them excited about analyzing, evaluating, and questioning.

  • WHEN SOMETHING BIG HAPPENS - when students get caught up in sensational news stories, viral videos, or hot-topic controversial issues.

  • BEFORE persuasive writing or research projects - there's more to Point of View than just identifying the POV.

  • Leave the detailed lesson plans for a substitute teacher.

The best time to plant a tree was 25 years ago. The second best time is now.

EXPLORE aspects of identity (i.e. race, gender) to help students identify potential bias.

ENCOURAGE a GROWTH MINDSET Critical Thinking strategy-based approach.

TEACH students how to make informed opinions about things we find out on social media, the news, family, and friends.

APPLY what they learn by asking students which groups of people are invisible.

CHALLENGE students to figure out if I cheated in this online gift card giveaway.

Please watch this screen-recording video. It shows you how to find the files once you purchase this bundle

If you need help finding a specific lesson, please email me at

I am happy to make a custom screen-recording video like this one to help you find what you need!

Version 2021-11-08 UPDATE: This product has been completely reorganized to make it easier to use.

The new way uses the TpT Digital Download product format. (You download a ZIP folder for each product.)

The old way used the TpT Google Drive product type format. (TpT copies the files into your Google Drive account.)

  • The TpT Google Drive product type is really confusing when it's put into a TpT bundle. (The big green download button doesn't download the Google Drive products.)

Critical Thinking is especially important today with new information and misinformation constantly coming to us about Coronavirus (Covid-19).

We also need to think logically and critically about emotionally charged topics like racism and systemic racism.

Do we have the courage to look at what we're doing and ask ourselves if some groups of people benefit more than others? Are some groups of people invisible?


  • "Fantastic, comprehensive resource. Worth the price."
    (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Extremely satisfied - Suzanne S, Feb 2021)

  • "Great resource, very organized. You do have to take time and read everything and pace it out as needed, but all the information is there and all of it is important!"
    (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Extremely satisfied - Jessica B, Feb 9, 2021)

  • "I love these presentations and the activities to keep students engaged. I'm using this with both in-person and online students. Super easy to assign work online due to the way the resources are organized. The class I am using this with is a "current events" class but I wanted to first focus on how to think critically before jumping into actual events happening in the world. This is a fantastic way to get them thinking before learning all about our media and how to analyze the content they read."
    (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Extremely satisfied - Britni D. January 20, 2021)

SEP 26, 2021 Version 2.8 UPDATE:

There are a lot of files in this product. It can be confusing.

Look at the lesson plans for FREE here in FOLDER 5.

NEW! When you buy the main 6Cs CRITICAL THINKING UNIT product, you get a FILE TABLE of CONTENTS (PDF).

  • It has "one-click copy links" to help you quickly find each file you need for a lesson.

  • It has a tutorial video showing you how to use the "one-click copy links"

If you have any questions, please email me at

Please look at the PREVIEW pdf. It shows you everything you get!

  • If you're looking for the "easy button" here are my EASY products.

This package does not contain any information, examples, or language specifically about the Coronavirus pandemic or systemic racism.

And, that's a good thing because that makes this lesson package timeless. You can use this lesson today within the context of Covid-19 or systemic racism, or you can use it in the future when the next obstacle appears.

Also, we don't want to give your students outdated information. Nor do we want to potentially trigger anxiety by hyper-focusing on Covid-19. So, this package includes other examples for your students to develop critical thinking strategies.

There are over 5 weeks of lessons to do with your class to learn about criteria-based thinking, being open-minded, and making informed decisions.

✅ The slideshow lesson teaches the concepts.

✅ You can EDIT THE FILES to fit your classroom needs.

The slideshow lesson is designed for:

  • FACE to FACE LEARNING in your real classroom


Teach using the Google Slideshow (FILE 3) - all of the slides are in this file

  • NOTE: The full slideshow has 542 slides so it may load slowly on your computer.
    If you find that happens, please use one of the following smaller files which focuses on the section you are teaching:
  • ---FILE 3a Lesson A slideshow (slides 1-80) Lost at Sea
  • ---FILE 3b Lesson B slideshow (slides 81-189) Thinking about Thinking  
  • ---FILE 3c Lesson C slideshow (slides 190-306) Search Bubbles
  • ---FILE 3d Lesson D slideshow (307-492) Fake News 
  • ---FILE 3e Lesson E slideshow (493-520) Videos
  • ---FILE 3f Lesson F slideshow (521-542) Understand / Review

Lesson Plan (File 2b) identifies which slides and handouts you need for each lesson.

  • Note: some lessons may need to be adapted depending on your specific classroom physical distancing rules. If you have any questions, please ask before purchasing this unit.


Create the following assignments in your Google Classroom


Note: Doing this group work activity completely online will require modification. The easiest way is to convert it into an independent online activity done during a virtual classroom meeting.

  • FYI: The answers to this task are readily available on the internet. 
  • You could have students do this logic puzzle character building task first to help them understand the point of learning is to struggle and develop skills to independently get the answers… rather than just searching on the internet for the answer.
  • The teacher could conduct a virtual class meeting and walk students through the slideshow using File 3a Lesson A which has slides for both lesson A1 and lesson A2
  • As the teacher explains each item on the boat, students record their initial thoughts in their handout File 5a
  • Skip the group work and go directly to discussing criteria based decision making. 
  • Explain the criteria used by the experts, and then have students try again (independently) to rank the items on the boat in their handout File 5a
  • Finally, the teacher would reveal the correct answers in the slideshow, and students would see whether criteria helped them make informed decisions - why or why not? 

Assignment #1: Lesson A1. Part 1 Introduction / Lost at Sea

  • Slideshow File 3a Lesson A1 (Student can view file)
  • Lost at Sea Survival Criteria handouts File 5a (Make a copy for each student)
  • Lesson review File 4a Review - Lesson A1 (Make a copy for each student)

Assignment #2: Lesson A2. Lost at Sea continued 

  • Slideshow File 3a Lesson A2 (Student can view file)
  • Lesson review File 4a Review - Lesson A2 (Make a copy for each student)

Assignment #3: Double Entry Journal (optional)

  • Double Entry Journal handouts File 5b (Make a copy for each student)
  • Students just add to this file whenever they are thinking of strategies to trick people or to think more critically

SECTION B: Thinking about thinking

Assignment #4: Lesson B1. Thinking about thinking - Invisible Gorilla

  • Slideshow File 3b Lesson B1 (Student can view file)
  • Thinking about Thinking handouts File 5c (Make a copy for each student)
  • Lesson review File 4b Review - Lesson B1 (Make a copy for each student)

Assignment #5: Lesson B2. Thinking about thinking - The Invisible lens

  • Slideshow File 3b Lesson B2 (Student can view file)
  • Lesson review File 4b Review - Lesson B2 (Make a copy for each student)

Assignment #6: Lesson B3. Thinking about thinking - Aspects of Identity (brainstorming groups)

  • Slideshow File 3b Lesson B3 (Student can view file)
  • Lesson review File 4b Review - Lesson B3 (Make a copy for each student)

Assignment #7: Lesson B4. Thinking about thinking - Aspects of Identity (continued)

  • Slideshow File 3b Lesson B4 (Student can view file)
  • Brainstorming handout (File 5d - Google Classroom)  (Make a copy for each student)
  • ---There are 2 variations with different amounts of sticky notes. Choose the one that works for your class. 
  • Lesson review  File 4b Review - Lesson B4 (Make a copy for each student)

SECTION C: Search Bubbles 

Assignment #8: Lesson C1. Sources of information

  • Slideshow File 3c Lesson C1 (Student can view file)
  • Lesson review File 4c Review - Lesson C1 (Make a copy for each student)

Assignment #9: Lesson C2. Online dictionary experiment

  • Slideshow File 3c Lesson C2 (Student can view file)
  • Dictionary experiment handout (File 5e) (Make a copy for each student)

Assignment #10: Lesson C3. Online dictionary experiment (continued)

  • Slideshow File 3c Lesson C3 (Student can view file)
  • Lesson review (File 4c Review - Lesson C2 / C3) (Make a copy for each student)

Assignment #11: Lesson C4. Understanding Search Engine Results Pages

  • Slideshow File 3c Lesson C4 (Student can view file)
  • Lesson review (File 4c Review - Lesson C4) (Make a copy for each student)

Assignment #12: Search Engine Experiment

  • Search Engine experiment handout File 5f (Make a copy for each student)
  • Students need access to this file as they learn about Search Engine Results Pages (Lesson C4, and C5)
  • In Lesson C6, students do the experiment in this document and hand it in.  

Assignment #13: Lesson C5.Understanding SERPs (continued)

  • Slideshow File 3c Lesson C5 (Student can view file)
  • Lesson review (File 4c Review - Lesson C5) (Make a copy for each student)

Lesson C6. Search Engine work period

  • Students work in Assignment #12 where they already have a search engine experiment handout.
  • Attach slideshow to assignment #12 above  File 3c Lesson C6 (Student can view file)

Assignment #14: Lesson C7. Search Engine Experiment (discussion)

  • Slideshow File 3c Lesson C7 (Student can view file)
  • Lesson review (File 4c Review - Lesson C6 / C7) (Make a copy for each student)

SECTION D: Fake News

Assignment #15: Lesson D1. Fake News - Thinking about fake news

  • Slideshow File 3d Lesson D1 (Student can view file)
  • Lesson review (File 4d Review - Lesson D1) (Make a copy for each student)

Assignment #16: Lesson D2. Money and Fake News (points of view)

  • Slideshow File 3d Lesson D2 (Student can view file)
  • Lesson review (File 4d Review - Lesson D2) (Make a copy for each student)

Assignment #17: Lesson D3. Money and Fake News (continued)

  • Slideshow File 3d Lesson D3 (Student can view file)
  • Lesson review (File 4d Review - Lesson D3) (Make a copy for each student)

Assignment #18: Lesson D4. Fake News - Local News and Viral Remixes

  • Slideshow File 3d Lesson D4 (Student can view file)
  • Lesson review (File 4d Review - Lesson D4) (Make a copy for each student)

Assignment #19: Lesson D5. Fake News - How did people respond?

  • Slideshow File 3d Lesson D5 (Student can view file)
  • Lesson review (File 4d Review - Lesson D5) (Make a copy for each student)

Assignment #20: Lesson D6. Fake News - What happened next?

  • Slideshow File 3d Lesson D6 (Student can view file)
  • Lesson review (File 4d Review - Lesson D6) (Make a copy for each student)


Assignment #21: Lesson E1. Video 1 / Video 2

Assignment #22: Lesson E2. Video 3

  • Link to video 3: What does my headscarf mean to you?
  • Slideshow File 3e Lesson E2 (Student can view file)
  • Lesson review (File 4e Review - Lesson E2) (Make a copy for each student)

Assignment #23: Lesson E3. Video 4

  • Link to video 4: Five tips to improve critical thinking
  • Slideshow File 3e Lesson E3 (Student can view file)
  • Lesson review (File 4e Review - Lesson E3) (Make a copy for each student)

SECTION F: Vocabulary / Review

Assignment #24: Lesson F1 Vocabulary builder

  • Slideshow File 3e Lesson F1 (Student can view file)
  • Vocabulary Builder handout File 6 (Make a copy for each student)

Assignment #25: Lesson F2 Student Self Assessment / Chapter Review

  • Slideshow File 3e Lesson F2 (Student can view file)
  • Class set of self-evaluation (File 7) (Make a copy for each student)
  • Class set of chapter review (File 8a) (Make a copy for each student)

Teach your students about Fake News and Points of View using high interest topics like making money online and how the internet and search engines work. 

Our students need to form opinions based on high-quality information. We do this by seeking out opposing points of view to make an informed decision.

  • Use criteria
  • Be full minded
  • Be open minded

Students are often told to find different points of view on an issue or in a story. But, students don't always recognize that simply identifying the missing point of view is not the same as figuring out what that missing point of view would be.

This lesson package helps students to recognize different aspects of their identity, points of view that might be different from theirs, and the need to figure out those viewpoints to help us make an informed decision.

I spent hundreds of hours of research and lesson development in this product so you wouldn't have to. You will have to spend a little bit of time going through the slides and handouts to tweak it to fit your specific needs.

I have included a Google slideshow that includes all 542 slides in the unit.

To make this lesson package easier to use, I have also split up the slideshow into six smaller slideshows for each mini unit.

Slides 1 – 542: ALL

  • Slides 1– 80: Lost at Sea
  • Slides 81 – 189: Thinking about Thinking
  • Slides 190 – 306: Search Bubbles
  • slides 307 – 492: Fake News
  • slides 493 – 520: Videos
  • slides 521 – 542: Understanding 

..... Do you want to do something FUN, but meaningful at the End of the Year?

  • Try this SURVEY so your students can see what kind of mindset they have.

  • Watch these VIDEOS and figure out if teamwork is the same as collaboration. (Spoiler: not always.)

  • This one is MY FAVORITE. Students have a lot of fun with the group activity in Section A. The viral video in Section D is shocking... but are we really surprised at this point?

My name is Michael Fuchigami. I'm the teacher behind Educircles.

  • I want to help you SAVE HOURS of PREP.

  • TpT support has clarified that we are not allowed to include contest information in our product descriptions or anywhere else on their platform. More info.

⭐⭐⭐ Teachers around the world have DOWNLOADED over 59,727 Educircles resources!

  • Check out where teachers have bought my resources (map.)

  • THANK YOU to everyone who has purchased an Educircles product.

  • 10% of your purchase helps students going through a tough time.

  • With your help, Educircles has DONATED $9,344.68 to STUDENT MENTAL HEALTH organizations!

  • Here's why I do what I do.

SOCIAL and EMOTIONAL LEARNING (SEL) in a world of Covid, Systemic Racism, and Constant Change...

  • Help students with SELF AWARENESS and SOCIAL AWARENESS. Start by asking your students Who is Invisible...

SAVE HOURS OF PREP (and money) with a bundle!

Why am I so passionate about 6Cs and Social-Emotional Learning? Because SEL helped save my life.

YOU GET 5 WEEKS (24 days) of lessons to do with your class to help them think more critically by using strategies: USE CRITERIA, BE OPEN MINDED, BE FULL MINDED.

  • 543 slides in GOOGLE SLIDE format
  • Detailed LONG RANGE PLAN PDF for 24 DIFFERENT lessons (approx 45 min per lesson)
  • LOST at SEA activity (CRITERIA BASED thinking)
  • THINKING about THINKING activity (The invisible gorilla, The invisible lens, Aspects of Identity)
  • Should SEARCH ENGINES and ONLINE DICTIONARIES give us the same results? (Two online experiments exploring filter bubbles)
  • Fake News activity - BREAKING NEWS examples on social media
  • Fake News activity - The MONEY behind FAKE NEWS (How websites make money online and what this had to do with FAKE NEWS in the US election.)
  • Fake News activity - LOCAL NEWS media and the Sinclair script from 6 different POINTS of VIEW. (Oh, not sure what the Sinclair script is? Sinclair Broadcast Group Sinclair made local news anchors recite the same script, word for word. Check out this video that went viral.)
  • Vocabulary Building Graphic Organizer HANDOUT
  • Critical Thinking Learning Skills SELF-EVALUATION handout
  • Critical Thinking Review Assessment - What did you learn? (12 short answer questions and answer key)

If you want to teach CRITICAL THINKING, we just saved you an incredible amount of prep work!

24 DAYS of Lessons in 5 WEEKS.


  • DAY/LESSON 1 - Introduction / Lost at Sea (slides 1-35) - 45 MIN
  • DAY/LESSON 2 - Lost at Sea continued (slides 36-80) - 50 MIN
  • DAY/LESSON 3 - Thinking about Thinking (slides 81-102) 45 MIN
  • DAY/LESSON 4 - Thinking about Thinking cont (slides 103-145) 50 MIN
  • DAY/LESSON 5 - Thinking about Thinking cont (slides 146-170) 50 MIN
  • DAY/LESSON 6 - Thinking about Thinking cont (slides 171-189) 45 MINUTES
  • DAY/LESSON 7 - Sources of Information (slides 190-225) 50 MIN
  • DAY/LESSON 8 - Online dictionary experiment (slides 226-233) 45 MINUTES
  • DAY/LESSON 9 - Online dictionary experiment cont (slides 234-236) 40 MIN
  • DAY/LESSON 10 - Search engine experiment (slides 237-276) 50 MIN
  • DAY/LESSON 11 - Search engine experiment cont (slides 277-302) 45 MIN
  • DAY/LESSON 12 - Search engine experiment cont (slides 303) 50 MIN
  • DAY/LESSON 13 - Search engine experiment cont (slides 304-306) 40 MIN
  • DAY/LESSON 14 - Fake News (slides 307-334) 50 MIN
  • DAY/LESSON 15 - Fake News continued (slides 335-363) 45 MIN
  • DAY/LESSON 16 - Fake News continued (slides 364-398) 55 MIN
  • DAY/LESSON 17 - Fake News continued (slides 399-430) 50 MIN
  • DAY/LESSON 18 - Fake News continued (slides 431-455) - 45 MIN
  • DAY/LESSON 19 - Fake News continued (slides 456-492) - 50 MIN


  • DAY/LESSON 20 - Part 2 Videos (slides 493-500) - 55 MIN
  • DAY/LESSON 21 - Part 2 Videos continued (slides 501-509) - 50 MIN
  • DAY/LESSON 22 - Part 2 Videos continued (slides 510-520) - 50 MIN


  • DAY/LESSON 23 - Vocabulary Builder (slides 521-537) - 50 MIN
  • DAY/LESSON 24 - Self Evaluation / Review - (slides 538-542) - 50 MIN

This is the good stuff. No, seriously. Check out the preview PDF to see everything that you're getting.


Everyone has a different school reality: 

  • Some of the examples we use in this resource may not be appropriate for all grades, school climates, and classroom realities.
  • Sometimes, as much as we’d love to, we simply don’t have time to have our lessons derailed into teachable moments.  

We tried to come up with different examples from various perspectives, but of course, we are human and have an unconscious bias as well.  


Here are a few of the slides that we wanted to give you a heads up about. There may be other slides that you may want to modify. We suggest going through the material to make sure everything fits your needs.

NOTE: All of our slideshow files and handouts can be modified.

  • Slide 170 looks at various protected grounds in Canada as a way to help students brainstorm different groups of people. The slide discusses race, ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity / expression, marital status, family status, disability, genetic characteristics and convictions for which a pardon has been granted or a record suspended.

  • Slide 180 looks at possible answers for different aspects of identity. The slide lists: socio-economic status, nationality, language, colour, age, religion, orientation, gender, race, ability, and culture. 

  • Slide 320-323: Wikileaks release of alleged CIA documents showing CIA covert hacking program to listen through SMART TVs and other devices

  • Slide 324-331: Death of Osama bin Laden which was reported on Twitter first. 

  • Slide 459: The title of article is “We’re journalists at a Sinclair news station. We’re pissed.”

  • Slide 481: The title of article is “How I made a dumb video making fun of Sinclair Broadcasting and somehow started a media war”. 

NOTE: YOU CAN MODIFY, DELETE, and EDIT ALL of the lessons, handouts, and presentations SO YOU CAN CHANGE THINGS FOR YOUR CLASS.

NOTE: THIS LESSON IS PART OF A LARGER BUNDLE about Exploring the Six Cs / 21st Century Skills / Competencies

The Six Cs are a bunch of transferable skills that you can use at school, at home, at a job… pretty much anywhere. They’re learning skills to help us be successful in the 21st century.

Each Chapter package focuses on a different “C” and contains different lessons, slides, videos, and handouts. Although we use the same structure in each chapter (activity, video, vocabulary building), there is no overlap of content between the 6 Cs Chapters.

Lessons can be purchased individually, or you can SAVE MONEY and purchase the entire unit as a BUNDLE.

PSST, do you know the one magic phrase that teachers should tell their students? It's not what you think. Hint: It helps build a growth mindset...

Version 2.6 Update (Sep 11, 2020)

  • This product has been re-organized to help you find what you need.
  • No changes to content.
  • Shorter file names. (6Cs Critical Thinking v2)
  • Google Drive
  • -- Folder 1: files to print and teach.
  • -- Folder 2: lesson review handouts to print and teach.
  • -- Folder 3: files you can edit.
  • -- Folder 4: files for Google Classroom.

The complete change log can be found at the end of the READ ME FIRST file.

Total Pages
542 slides, 52 pages of handouts, 192 pages of lesson plans
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
1 month
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