Day 1: Navigating the information landscape

Info Zones lesson cover image

Know your zone

In this foundational lesson from NLP's Checkology® virtual classroom, you'll learn how to categorize the primary purpose of information into one of six “zones”: news, opinion, entertainment, advertising, propaganda or raw information. NOTE: Use a computer or tablet to access these lessons; they are not designed for phones.

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Additional resources

  • Download and print this poster outlining the six InfoZones (PDF).
  • Share, display or print this News Lit Tip on how to start sorting information.
  • Watch this Newsy Brief on evaluating opinions.
  • Check out this audiogram recorded by LeVar Burton on the importance of maintaining a healthy skepticism while evaluating news and information. The News Literacy Project and The E.W. Scripps Company created a series of PSAs streaming on Stitcher to raise awareness of the importance of news literacy and the role of the free press in American democracy.
Ad or not challenge cover art

Challenge: News or Ad?

Now that you've learned how to categorize information into one of six categories according to its primary purpose, test your know-how with this challenge focused on news reports and ads about technology.

Educator Extra:

Blending tips and strategies 

Here are some ways to use this lesson as a small group or whole class activity:

  • Have students define each of the zones prior to starting the lesson. Focus especially on the differences between news and opinion, propaganda and opinion, and entertainment and advertising.
  • Provide students with examples from each of the zones and have them categorize them in a gallery walk format.

Prompts for discussion

  • Which kind of information do you think is easiest to identify? Which is most difficult? Why?
  • How many examples of raw information can you think of? (This could be given to small groups and/or timed.)
  • Can you determine the main purpose of all pieces of information? Why or why not?

Go deeper

Challenge students to create their own InfoZone compilations, then have them share their collections with their peers. You might even hold a team-based contest to see who can correctly categorize information the fastest, or who can create the most interesting or challenging collection.

Take informed action

Encourage students to take ownership of their new categorization skills and create their own more comprehensive and detailed system of InfoZones. What is missing from the six zones? Should sub-zones be added? How can this new system be effectively visualized and conveyed? What positive civic outcomes might result from your system being introduced to others?


Want more?

Test your news literacy know-how with our free app, Informable. Score points for accuracy and speed across four modes, each with three levels of difficulty.