One busy Thursday morning, a group of 36 middle schoolers sat down in the Newseum’s Learning Center and were asked to provide a noun, an adjective and a name. Seconds later, the instructor presented them with an absurd-sounding headline about a pet tiger. This is not much different from how fake news finds its way into our news feeds, she told the class, and why it is important to learn how to decipher credible stories from those created for entertainment, personal gain or ill intent.
With fake news dominating the headlines, both in the form of fake news itself and articles about how to avoid falling into its trap, media literacy is an important lesson that should start in school. Middle and high school students are exposed to more information than ever through their social media channels. By educating them on the differences between news, biased news, flawed news and fake news, they are able to make informed evaluations of the sources they encounter. NewseumED’s “Fighting Fake News” class teaches these lessons through group discussions and interactive questions, which get the students talking about how fake news impacts their own lives.
216,165 students came through the Newseum last year, and NewseumED provides opportunities for classes to take a deeper dive into the First Amendment and journalism during their visit. NewseumED teaches as many as six classes a day to school groups of various grades.
You can book a “Fighting Fake News” class by visiting newseumed.org. The class requires a minimum of 10 students and a maximum of 36 students, is held in the Learning Center classroom, and must be requested at least one week in advance.