Overview

Students will develop a better understanding of conspiracies, conspiracy theories, and how to avoid being tricked by "fruit loop conspiracy theories."

Goals

  1. Deepen student understanding of what a conspiracy is, what a conspiracy theory is, and how to identify "fruit loop" conspiracy theories (beliefs of crazy people or ideas people share for purposes like gaining more social media views / likes)

  2. Develop student web literacy skills obtaining background details about the SOURCES of information they find online.

  3. Learn ways to responsibly and effectively utilize WikiPedia when checking online news / information sources

Preparation

  1. Setup classroom interactive writing space. (Use WriteAbout.com, Seesaw, etc.)

  2. Ask students to post several times to their blog / learning journal.

  3. Ask students to comment / provide appropriate feedback to classmates on the classroom blog / learning journal.

Procedures

Day 1 Activity (Introducing our Conspiracy Theories Unit)

Text of our Google Classroom assignment

We are starting a unit today about conspiracy theories. I want you to think and learn about why people like conspiracy theories, how to watch out for conspiracy theories, and how we can avoid being tricked by conspiracy theories. This is part of MEDIA and WEB LITERACY.

Watch theodd1sout video, "Conspiracy Theories and Crazy People."

Read and analyze the English WikiPedia article for the creator, James Rallison.

(Remember it is IMPORTANT to check out the SOURCES of information we find online, and consider whether or not we consider them TRUSTWORTHY and RELIABLE.)

Write and publish a new BLOG POST on WRITEABOUT.COM either to our class or PUBLICLY in which you answer the following 3 questions. Copy and paste each question into your post and answer in complete sentences.

  1. What are some conspiracy theories you have heard about?

  2. What is something you learned about James Rallison from his WikiPedia article.

  3. How can you decide if a conspiracy theory is TRUE or if it's a 'fruit loop' idea? (It's something crazy people believe.)

Day 2 Activity (Introducing SIFT, Moon Hoax Video Analysis)

Text of our Google Classroom assignment

Blog Post #4:

  1. Write a blog post on WriteAbout, giving your analysis of this video ("13 Reasons the Moon Landing was Fake") the ideas he shares.

  2. Include an INTRODUCTORY SENTENCE for your blog post, explaining what you are going to discuss / what we are doing in this lesson.

  3. What common elements of “fruit loop” conspiracy theories do you notice in this video?

  4. Include at least 1 link in your blog post.

  5. Turn in the LINK TO YOUR POST for this assignment, when you turn it in!


Conspiracy Theories and the Moon Landing

Day 3 Activity (SIFT Part 2 - Debunking the Moon Hoax Conspiracy)

Text of our Google Classroom assignment

Blog Post #5

  1. Write a blog post on WriteAbout, giving your analysis of this video ("Moon Hoax NOT") and the ideas the author shares.

  2. Include an INTRODUCTORY SENTENCE for your blog post, explaining what you are going to discuss / what we are doing in this lesson.

  3. What is credible about the author as a SOURCE?

  4. Compare this video with the previous one we watched last lesson.

  5. Include at least 1 link in your blog post.

  6. Turn in the LINK TO YOUR POST for this assignment, when you turn it in!

SIFT Part 2 - Debunking the Moon Hoax Conspiracy

Day 4-5 Activity (3 Things I Learned About Conspiracy Theories Video)

Text of our Google Classroom assignment

Choose three ideas from our collaborative Google spreadsheet ("Things we learned about conspiracy theories") to create a 5 image narrated slideshow using Adobe Spark Video.

  1. Contribute ideas to our collaborative Google spreadsheet ("Things we learned about conspiracy theories")

  2. Complete the project planning slideshow ("PLAN: 3 Things I Learned About Conspiracy Theories")

  3. Publish your Adobe Spark Video (so you can copy a PUBLIC LINK)

  4. Post your video to our class blog on WriteAbout.com. Include some introductory sentences about the video.

  5. When you are finished, view and comment on at least TWO classmates video posts on WriteAbout.com.

PLAN: Things I Learned About Conspiracy Theories

Extensions

  1. Use a Google Form for peer feedback as students present their videos and share them with the class. (Casady Student Peer Feedback Form - Casady.org login required - A public image version of this feedback form is also available)

  2. Respond to this writing prompt / shared idea on WriteAbout.com

  3. More lesson ideas about these topics are available on the "Conspiracies and Culture Wars" media literacy project page.