One Story Lesson Plan: Fact Checking

January 12, 2015 at 7:08 pm


Fact Checking


A lesson on fact checking to use with one or all of the articles in the series “Other Than Honorable” from the Colorado Springs Gazette.


  • Students will explain the importance of fact checking and methods used by professional media to verify facts.
  • Students will identify elements in a story that merit fact checking.
  • Students will check validity of facts within a story.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.8 Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is valid and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; identify false statements and fallacious reasoning.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.3 Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, identifying any fallacious reasoning or exaggerated or distorted evidence.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.


1 50-minute class period with homework

Materials / resources

“Other than Honorable” story package online

Internet access

Slideshow: Fact Checking

Handout: Copies of one story from the “Other than Honorable” series (one per student or pair)

Lesson step-by-step

This lesson begins after students have completed at least one other lesson that requires reading and reacting to one or more of the articles in the series “Other Than Honorable.” Ideally, this lesson should be used after students have already completed the lesson “How the Pros Fact Check” in the News Literacy strand of the JEA curriculum.

  1. Review — 5 minutes

Discuss the facts of the articles from the “Other Than Honorable” series to activate prior knowledge.

  1. Slideshow — 10 minutes

Briefly review the slideshow “Fact Checking,” emphasizing what types of items warrant fact checking and how to go about fact checking.

  1. Application — 35 minutes

Direct students to work individually or in pairs. To each individual or pair, distribute one hard copy of a story from the “Other Than Honorable” series. Students will first reread their assigned story, then mark elements in the story they think warrant fact checking as well as those they feel do not warrant fact checking. (Students may underline and circle or use two different colored highlighters or a similar method for this task.)

When all are finished, discuss as a group. Why do some items raise a red flag with you? What resources would you use to check accuracy of those facts? What items don’t concern you? Why not?

  1. Application and extension — 10 minutes (with homework as needed)

Assign each individual or pair one fact within the story to check. When they return to class, they should share their findings as well as the sources and process they used to find the information.