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Lesson Plan Title : Urban Legends Online

Age Range: Grade 9 through Grade 12 (High School Level)

Overview and Purpose : How many times have we forwarded an email about one story or another without checking to see if it was true? After all, it was sent to us by someone we know and trust, so it couldn't be a hoax, right? This lesson will give students some tips on how to determine the difference between fact and fiction the next time they log-on the internet.

Objective: The student will be able to name common clues that may alert a reader that information online may be an urban legend.

Resources:

Copies of several urban legends and true stories taken from the Snopes website

Internet access

Teacher created worksheet

Activities:

Talk about the different uses for the internet. Discuss how one of the main uses is to gather information and that it is important to be able to tell when that information is suspect. Have students read several urban legends and true stories that you took from the Snopes website. (Do not include the section that tells whether it is fact or fiction.) Talk about which ones they think are true and why. Have the students look up the stories on Snopes and complete the worksheet.

Talk about any conclusions they were able to draw about the similarities of the stories that were urban legends. For example, specific details were missing in the story such as the person's name or where they lived.

Sample chart:

Title of the story True or False Summary of the explanation given for how they concluded it was true or false
     
     

Closure:

This may be a great time to talk with your students about the importance of online safety, as well.

Other English Lesson Areas: Phonics | Poetry | Literature | Spelling | Writing |