Why We Have Freedom of the Press
In this lesson, students learn about the historical context for the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of the press. First, students read about the historical background for a free press in medieval Europe, England, and England’s American colonies in the 18th century. Next, they work in small groups to determine if several hypothetical situations are proper uses of prior restraint. This lesson is Part 1 of a two-part lesson sequence that continues with Part 2: ‘Falsely Shouting Fire’: The Free Press and the Courts. Both Parts 1 and 2 may also be done independently of one another.
‘Falsely Shouting Fire’: The Free Press and the Courts
In this lesson, students learn about how the U.S. Supreme Court has interpreted freedom of expression, particularly freedom of the press, throughout the 20th century and into the early 21st century. First, students read about how the Supreme Court has interpreted and defined freedom of the press with its main rulings starting with the period of World War I. Next, they work in small groups to evaluate three fact situations in which someone or some organization has violated a law that restricts First Amendment freedom of expression. This lesson is Part 2 of a two-part lesson sequence that began with Part 1: Why We Have Freedom of the Press. Both Parts 1 and 2 may also be done independently of one another.
Understanding Fake News
In this lesson, students learn about how to identify fake news and about the factors that make many of us believe fake news is real. They also learn how to spot fake news online in order to avoid it. First, students read and discuss an article about why people fall for fake news and how it proliferates on the Web. Next, students familiarize themselves with the SEARCH checklist for sifting out fake news in online information. Finally, students apply elements of SEARCH and analyze actual news sources.
Tackling Fake News
This lesson continues from where the previous lesson Understanding Fake News leaves off. In this lesson, students learn about the constitutional, legal, and practical considerations and controversies surrounding regulation of fake news. First, students read and discuss an article that reviews what fake news is and then describes measures taken by private parties (such as social media platforms) and government to try to regulate fake news. Next, they participate in a Civil Conversation (CivCon) on the reading. In this structured discussion method, under the guidance of a facilitator (the teacher), participants are encouraged to engage intellectually with challenging materials, gain insight about their own point of view, and strive for a shared understanding of issues.
The People's Right to Know
In this lesson, students explore various Supreme Court rulings on the public's right to know information about the government's actions (aka the right to know). They will learn about the key concept of prior restraint in discussing freedom of the press. First, students read and discuss an article on the right to know. Then in small groups, students hold a moot court on The Progressive case, in which the government sought to stop a magazine from publishing an article on the hydrogen bomb.
Conspiracy Theories Past and Present | Download Presentation | View Webinar
In this lesson, students learn how to identify conspiracy theories and to distinguish them from other questions about history or current events. First, students discuss a hypothetical conspiracy theory. Next, students complete a thorough reading about historical and contemporary conspiracy theories as well as ways to identify frequently used logical fallacies by conspiracy theorists. Finally, students role-play federal investigators determining if a set of facts amounts to a conspiracy theory.
Blurring the Lines Between Fact and Fiction
In this lesson, students read a short text about the ways in which filmmakers and producers take liberties with historical narratives for the sake of entertainment. Next, they participate in a Civil Conversation based on the reading. In this structured discussion method, under the guidance of a facilitator (the teacher), participants are encouraged to engage intellectually with challenging materials, gain insight about their own point of view, and strive for a shared understanding of issues.
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