Grades: 4-6, 7-9, 10-12+
Type: Lessons

In this lesson, students review examples of misinformation, identify a rumor pattern and create a list of red flags to watch out for. Then students will create a social media post warning others to be on the lookout for this type of misinformation and directing them to credible sources about the subject. Finally, students will discuss the impact of misinformation on a democratic society.

Intended for grades 3 and up, this lesson plan includes everything educators need to lead the lesson: essential questions, electronic materials, vocabulary, procedural directions, ideas for differentiation, checks for understanding, examples, an evaluation rubric, and ideas for an extension opportunity. Depending on the classroom, it could take between 30-60 minutes, or be broken up over a few class periods. At the News Literacy Project, we recognize educators are professionals and best understand the needs of their classroom. As such, we expect educators to take and adapt our resources, including this lesson plan, as they see fit.

Below is a preview of some of the elements in the lesson plan:

NLP standard 4: Students demonstrate increased critical habits of mind, including effective verification skills and the ability to detect misinformation and faulty evidence. 

Essential Questions 

  1. What are some different types of misinformation? 
  2. What does it look like to be a responsible and news-literate participant in a democracy? 
    1. If I see misinformation, how should I respond? 
  3. How can misinformation and false beliefs undermine an individual’s participation in a democracy and threaten the political process? 
    1. Can misinformation that other people believe still affect those who aren’t fooled by it? 


  • Misinformation: Information that is misleading, erroneous or false. While misinformation is sometimes created and shared intentionally, it is often created unintentionally or as humor (for example, satire) and later mistaken as a serious claim by others. 
  • Viral rumor: An unsubstantiated claim that spreads widely on social media and elsewhere online. Viral rumors often use deceptive techniques (such as out-of-context or doctored images) to stir up strong emotions and amplify false or misleading ideas.


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