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Fake News Faculty Guide: Lesson plans

Resources for use on libguides and in Brightspace

Fake News: How to Spot It

Adapt the powerpoint template linked below to facilitate discussion about the importance and impact of fake news.

Evaluate a news item from your favorite news source

Outcome:  Learners will be able to use 3-5 criteria to evaluate a news item from their favorite news source.

Materials (linked below):

  • Classroom with student computers and internet access.
  • Problem with Fake News video
  • Polling software/program (optional)

Lesson: Introduce the idea that fake news is everywhere and why it is important to be able to spot it.  Ask learners where they get their news.  Write answers on whiteboard/word doc on computer/let students enter on Padlet or Poll Everywhere (optional).

Show Problem with Fake News video.  Review the 5 Cs mentioned in the video, provide a handout or display as a list.

Activity: Ask learners to locate a news item from their favorite news source and evaluate it using the 5 Cs.  Can be done in groups or individually. 

Reporting/Reflection: Provide time for learners to share results with class.  Facilitate discussion of how using the 5 Cs helped determine the results.  Does everyone agree with the results?

Review this Article!

Quick lesson for any classroom

Materials:  Students will need to have access to a computer, laptop, or mobile device to access an online quiz.

Learning Objective:  Students will be able to determine whether provided news stories are fake or fact using tips presented in a short video.

Lesson:  Give students about 5 minutes to take the Quick Start version of the online Facitious quiz and make a note of their score.

After taking the quiz, show the How to Spot Fake News video from


After viewing the video, have students take the Factitious Quick Start quiz again.   Ask: Did you get a different score?  Why or why not?


Exploring Fake News and evaluating an article

This lesson incorporates facilitated discussion and in-class activities. 


Students will be able to identify 3-5 ways to evaluate news using the How to Spot Fake News handout available on the CPCC Library's Media Literacy research guide. 

Materials (linked below):

  • CPCC Library's Media Literacy: How to Spot Fake News guide
  • How to Spot Fake News handout
  • Sample article for review

Lesson: Select appropriate resources from the CPCC Library's Media Literacy: How to Spot Fake News guide (linked below) to present to students.  These resources provide background on what fake news is, why it is a problem, and real-life examples from social media.

Activity: Provide a copy of the How to Spot Fake News handout and the sample article to students (individually or in groups) to evaluate.  Ask learners to use 3-5 of the tips on the handout to determine whether the article is credible. 

Reporting/Reflection:  Ask each group or select individuals to share the result of their evaluation, which of the tips on the handout they used to decide, and specific examples of each. 

Wrap-up: Review the tips for spotting fake news from the handout, ask learners how/when they can use them in the next week.

This lesson developed by CPCC Librarians Andrea Kincaid and Amy Burns

Stanford History Education Group activities

In November 2016, the Stanford Education Group published an extensive study based on their 1 1/2 year project to assess students' ability to judge the credibility of online information.  Their one word summary of the study's results:  bleak.  Students from middle school through college demonstrated that are 'easily duped' when evaluating information on social media.

Assessments used in the study are available through the report linked below, and may be used in classes.  College level assessments begin on page 15, though other levels can be appropriate for beginning learners of any age. 

Evaluate headlines on a current news event

Outcome:  Using a provided rubric, learners will be able to evaluate news article/video headlines based on their language, tone and credibility..

Materials:  Headlines from various sources on a recent news event.   The TACT Test for Headlines Rubric (linked below).

Lesson:  Learners will evaluate several news headlines (which can lead to articles, posts or videos) on a current news event.  Use the Headline Rubric to lead a class discussion that leads to evaluating the accuracy of a headline on a current news topic.  Learners will then break into groups and use the Headline Rubric to evaluate several headlines based on Language, Tone and Credibility to determine if the article/video is likely to provide accurate information. Groups will share their results with the rest of the class.

Activity:   Learners will work in groups of 3-5 to evaluate 3-5 headlines or news article headlines from a variety of sources on a current news event. Using the provided Headline Rubric, each group will rate the headlines based on tone, language, and credibility. 

Reflection:  Groups will share/compare results with the rest of the class.  Why did your group rate the headline this way?  Which headlines make you want to read the article/watch the video?  Which parts of the rubric were the most helpful?  How can you use this as you read about news events in the future?