Overview

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

Goals

  1. Deepen student understanding of what a conspiracy is, what a conspiracy theory is, and how to identify "froot 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 using SIFT: Obtaining background details about the SOURCES of information online.

  3. Learn and practice "lateral reading" skills.

  4. Learn ways to responsibly and effectively utilize WikiPedia when checking online news / information sources (Note: The Lesson "Launchpad WikiPedia" should precede this unit)

Preparation

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

  2. Introduce sketchnoting to students prior to this unit

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

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

  5. Print and display a color banner about SIFT (CC licensed example)

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 (SIFT 2 - Moon Hoax?)

Text of our Google Classroom assignment

Conspiracy Theories Unit Lesson 2: MOON HOAX?


Today we will introduce the SIFT web literacy framework in more detail (see attached slideshow) and watch a video by a YouTuber ("13 Reasons the Moon Landing was Fake") who claims that the Apollo Moon landings in 1969-1973 were faked by NASA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhxTwcslfCY


Your tasks are:

1- Create a SKETCHNOTE on your Chromebook about the MAIN IDEAS JP Sears shares in this video.

2- Review the English WikiPedia page for JP Sears https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JP_Sears and visit at least ONE of the referenced links / footnotes.

3- In Seesaw, RESPOND to the ACTIVITY "SIFT 2 - Moon Hoax?" and post your exported sketchnote

4- Include the following in your Seesaw narration:

A- Your FIRST NAME only

B- Today's Date

C- The topic you will address: "I'm going to talk about some of the main ideas shared by YouTuber JP Sears in this video about the Apollo Moon landings, and tell you a little about the SIFT web literacy framework.

D- Share at least 3 ideas JP Sears discussed in his video

E - Investigate the SOURCE: Discuss why JP Sears seems like a good or bad source about this topic

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


Fill out the attached SCRIPT BEFORE you narrate your sketchnote.

Introducing SIFT - Analyzing a Moon Hoax Video by @wfryer (April 2022)


Day 3 Activity (SIFT Part 3 - 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 3 - Debunking the Moon Hoax Conspiracy by @wfryer (May 2022)

In Spring 2022 instead of the S.G Collins video, I may use, "Why the Moon Landing COULDN'T Have Been Faked | Adam Ruins Everything." (5 min) If you're teaching this unit to older students the Collins' video could still be used, it's very good, but much longer (13 min) and denser / harder to follow and understand.

2021-22 School Year Culminating project (version 2.0)

Day 4-5 Culminating Activity / Final Video Project

Text of our Google Classroom assignment

Complete the FIVE STEPS in the attached "PLAN: Things I Learned About Conspiracy Theories" slideshow.

You will turn in:

  1. Your completed slideshow PLANNING document (attached)

  2. Your completed VIDEO SCRIPT (attached)

  3. A link to your shared Adobe Spark Video (add here in Google Classroom)

  4. Your PUBLIC Adobe Spark video link to SEESAW

PLAN: Things I Learned About Conspiracy Theories (2021-22)
Script for Final SIFT Video (Froot Loop Conspiracy Theories)

2020-21 School Year Culminating project (version 1.0)

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