Lesson 1: Real versus fake news

This lesson will give you a broad understanding of the term ‘fake news’ and the skills and techniques to distinguish between what’s false or fake and what’s real.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the lesson students will think more critically about what they see and hear online and on social media, and consider the source of this information and whether they believe it or share it.

Brief overview

The term 'fake news' has become commonplace. This lesson helps young people to think about how it applies to them and their lives.

The vast majority are using smartphones, tablets and laptops to access material across the web - some of which will be true, but some will be inaccurate, false and even fake.

Again, most students use social media, often having accounts long before the recommended age of 13 (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act).

This lesson guides them through various types of false and fake news and explains:

  • The BBC’s definition of false information distributed deliberately, usually for political or commercial purposes
Lesson 1: Real news versus fake news slideshow


  • Students require pens and paper
  • Download the prepared slideshow
  • Watch the film Recognising Fake News, as suggested in the slideshow
  • Watch the film Checking the Story, as suggested in the slideshow
  • There’s a choice between Exercise 1 and Exercise 2 - the latter requires students to access computers
  • For Exercise 3, download character briefs and separate one per student (six altogether)
  • Download the helpsheet for students, if required

There are two videos

Video 1 explores the different types of fake news.

Video 2 helps young people to check if something is real.


Exercises 1 and 2 look at how easy it is to make fake news or re-tell the same story in different ways.

  • Exercise 1 is low-tech while Exercise 2 is computer-based. You can use one or the other

  • Exercise 3 asks young people to use their journalism skills to detect what’s real, what’s fake and who to believe

Exercise 1: Proving story is real
Exercise 2: Same but different
Exercise 3: What's true?
Knowing who to trust
Recognising fake news
Checking the story
Numbers and the tricks they play
BBC iReporter: What would a journalist do? (Guidance for young people)
Teachers guide to the BBC iReporter interactive game
Lesson 2: Sources and who to trust
Lesson 3: Social media, images and data