Lesson 25

You Saw What on Facebook? A lesson in Credible Sources

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SWBAT use critical reading skills to spot possible lies in text

Big Idea

You're in a world of fast-paced information, but before you share it or believe it, check to make sure it's true!


To help meet the common core standards and appeal to my students' interests, I started thinking about the reading that my students do daily. I came across a facebook post that linked to an article about something that was clearly fake, yet people were arguing in the comments about how stupid the person in the article was. (The topic is not appropriate for school, so I can't divulge anymore information.) I looked the article topic up on snopes, copied the website and pasted that onto the comments. The discussions stopped. I'm sure adults felt silly being tricked by a newspaper article that had clearly been "clipped"

Activating and Introduction

10 minutes

We'll start off showing students some Facebook statuses that share articles or media of alleged current events.

Let's take a look at these. What are your thoughts about the events?

I don't want to ask the students if they think the news is real because they'll think I'm up to something, but I do want to see their initial reactions. Do they look skeptical? excited? in awe?

If you thought that these events really happened, you were tricked. Anyone can write anything and share it in our world today. We've been reading about details that may not be valid, but now we're going to look at complete articles and other information that is completely made up. 

Modeled Instruction

20 minutes

At this point we'll jump into the actual article. I want to model reading aloud and thinking about the parts that seem far-fetched so that the kids can see how I question ideas in the text. I want them to see that we don't have to believe everything we read and we should always be questioning when we read. 

Guided Practice

15 minutes

Now we'll walk through an article together using a little notes sheet I made. This one is a blatant fallacy, but I thought that would give them some good practice with the guiding questions today. I didn't want to start off too difficult or with vague concepts so they could catch on to the process first. 

The kiddos can think with me through the whole process and lead the discussion as much as possible for this. 

Small Groups

25 minutes

Once I feel like they're ready to move forward, we'll break into small groups to practice this with a few texts. One is about a new planetary discovery and the other is about buffalo heading out of Yellowstone due to an impending super volcano. Hopefully the scientific nature of both will get the kids thinking and reading critically. Students will probably only get through one of the texts, but I like for them to have another one available for fast finishers. 

I want you to practice using the notes sheet to figure out if the articles are real or made up. I should see lots of writing on these articles. If you find some words you're not sure of, mark them and then get the dictionary. We'll chat about these once we're all finished.