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Fake news and disinformation

Course: Weekly lessons, Unit: Life today

  • 110 mins
  • In class
  • Reading
  • B2


Learning goals:

  • Understand and respond to an authentic article about online disinformation
  • Use a variety of reading strategies effectively
  • Be able to critically analyze texts online to evaluate their reliability

Published by

EF Education First


Success criteria:

  • Identify the main ideas in an authentic article about online disinformation
  • Identify the definitions for new language based on its use in the article
  • Correctly answer questions about details from the article
  • Identify and analyze fake news online

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Activities (12)

Introduction

Introduction

Recommendations

  • 2 mins
  • Class
  • Core
  • Discussion


Student instructions

No instructions


Teacher notes

No instructions

 

What is fake news?

What is fake news?

Recommendations

  • 7 mins
  • Individual, Pair
  • Core
  • Multiple choice, closed


Student instructions

What do you know about fake news and disinformation? Answer the questions, then discuss them with other students.


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to introduce the topic of fake news and online disinformation, and test whether students can identify a real headline from a fabricated or misleading one.

 

Tactics of fake news

Tactics of fake news

Recommendations

  • 6 mins
  • Pair, Group
  • Core
  • Matching, closed


Student instructions

There are many ways to spread fake news. Match the name of the disinformation tactic to its description.


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to introduce some tactics used by the producers of disinformation
This activity prepares students for some of the topics in the Read activities.


 

Read: Main ideas

Read: Main ideas

Recommendations

  • 7 mins
  • Individual, Pair
  • Core
  • Sequencing, closed


Student instructions

Skim the article and put the main ideas in the order that they are mentioned.


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to understand the main ideas of an article about people who produce disinformation and fake news.
Have students discuss which of the tactics from the Tactics of fake news activity appear in the article (impersonate, manipulate, discredit, polarize).

 

Language

Language

Recommendations

  • 7 mins
  • Individual
  • Core
  • Matching, closed


Student instructions

Study the language in bold in the article. Then match the definitions to the words and phrases.


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to identify the meaning of key language in the article.

 

Practice

Practice

Recommendations

  • 9 mins
  • Individual
  • Support
  • Gap fill, closed


Student instructions

Complete the text about a fake news story. You do not need to use all of the words.


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to practise using key language from the article.
Extension
• Have students write their own short text about fake news, using at least five words from the key language, before reading each others texts and checking them for appropriate language use.

 

Read: Detail

Read: Detail

Recommendations

  • 10 mins
  • Individual, Pair, Group
  • Core
  • Multiple choice, closed


Student instructions

No instructions


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to find and understand specific information in a news article.

 

Read: Analyze

Read: Analyze

Recommendations

  • 14 mins
  • Pair, Group
  • Core
  • Text entry, open


Student instructions

Read the text again, and answer the questions. Work with other students to understand the difficult grammar and language in the text.
Go online if you need to find out more about your language points.


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to identify the features of the text that students find most difficult to understand, and to develop strategies for understanding new language.
Have students work in pairs or groups to identify language features of the text that they find difficult, and have them work together to understand them. Make sure that students work in groups of mixed ability so that they can learn from each other.

 

Watch: Spot fake news

image of presenter and the Quartz publication logo

Watch: Spot fake news

Recommendations

  • 7 mins
  • Pair, Group
  • Challenge
  • Video


Student instructions

Watch the video and make notes on the five ways that you can spot fake news. Discuss them with a partner or in a group. Have you ever believed a piece of fake news from the Internet?


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is show students some further features of disinformation, and explain how to spot it.
The video talks about fake news articles, rather than social media posts, but many of the same tactics apply.

 

Respond

Respond

Recommendations

  • 25 mins
  • Pair, Group
  • Core
  • Discussion


Student instructions

No instructions


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to practise identifying disinformation online, and to develop skills to critically analyze texts.
Have students look at articles and information posted on social media by famous and influential people. It should be easy to find suspicious-looking posts and articles.

 

Follow up

Follow up

Recommendations

  • 10 mins
  • Group, Class
  • Challenge
  • Discussion


Student instructions

Discuss the questions.


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is for students to reflect on their own exposure to disinformation, and whether enough is being done to protect them from its harmful effects.

 

Exit ticket

Exit ticket

Recommendations

  • 6 mins
  • Pair
  • Core
  • Text entry, open


Student instructions

Answer the questions and then discuss them with a partner


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is for students to reflect on what they learned and what they didn't understand in the lesson, and discuss this with a partner.

 
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