Lesson 3: Social media, images and data

This lesson will demonstrate how to spot whether a social media feed is genuine or fake, to consider the manipulation of images and think carefully about how the addition of numbers to a story may not be a clear as it first seems.

Learning outcomes

  • Young people will have more of an understanding of websites, providers and platforms
  • They’ll increasingly question websites and social media feeds to see if they are genuine and true
  • They’ll have a greater understanding of the dangers of sharing and forwarding items
  • Young people will think more comprehensively about statements involving numbers or data to find the true meaning behind a story

Brief overview

It is hard to find a young person these days that does not have some experience of social media. In fact, the majority seem to have accounts from Year 7 (some anecdotal reports as young as 6) despite the official recommended age being 13 (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act).

In this lesson young people will have the chance to:

  • explore online stories
  • compare the different ways they are told
  • determine which stories are real and which are fake

The lesson also considers how we view numbers in stories. Are they as dramatic as they may seem? If they’re using computers young people could also search out some stories that involve numbers and see if they can write them in a different way.

Lesson 3: Social media, images and data - slideshow


  • Students will need access to computers for exercises 1 and 2, and require paper and pen
  • Download slideshow
  • Watch the animation, as suggested in the slideshow
  • Download exercise 1
  • Download exercise 2
  • Download exercise 3
  • Download the helpsheet for students, if required

There is one animation video Looking at Numbers in Stories and should be watched during the data section in the slideshow.


  • Exercise 1 has students finding and questioning a variety of stories online as well as looking for stories that they’ve seen themselves that have turned out to be fake
  • Exercise 2 works in a similar way but with images. Those in groups that already use a photo manipulation software may want to demonstrate how easy it can be to alter an image
  • Exercise 3 looks at re-writing stories with data to see how the meaning of a story can change even if the data stays the same
Exercise 1: Is it all fake?
Exercise 2: Images
Exercise 3: Data
Exercise 3: Press release
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 1: Real versus fake news
Lesson 2: Sources and who to trust