January 28th, 2021

Making credible sources fun

Every Monday at 3:30, I present a live news quiz for kids via Zoom and Facebook Live, on Enoch Pratt Free Library's Facebook page. My last slide of every quiz is a list of sources and a quick sentence: "We get our information from authoritative sources like [NOAA, Smithsonian Magazine, US Bureau of Labor Statistics, AP, Baltimore Sun, etc] and we recommend that you do too."
I often use 'fake news' answers as options in my multiple choice questions, so that I can debunk them and explain why they shouldn't be trusted.
Once every 6 months or so I do a quiz entirely devoted to news stories that are exaggerated or outright untrue. I explain that trust in news sources is like trust in people - if they are recommended by a person you trust, you can start from a position of trust. If they are casual acquaintances, you should check around with people you do trust until you repeat what they aver to be true.
I started doing the news quiz online in April or May of 2020, having made a paper Tuesday Newsday quiz as a handout at my library for a couple of years. When kids turned in their Tuesday Newsday quiz (they got a sticker whether they answered the questions right or not) we took the opportunity to chat about the stories and their sources.
We used to put a Spot the Fake News bonus question on the paper quiz - and that was the one they got wrong most frequently. This informed our choices in news quiz questions and in other programming.

Tags: News

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Comments (4)

Comments (4)

I love that you've made this virtual (Zoom / FB Live) - a pandemic pivot no doubt, and thank you for describing the success that you're building on (the weekly paper handout). Kudos to you for this thoughtful program. Have you seen it adopted elsewhere? Where did you get the idea?

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Hi Samantha - I got the idea from the weekly "Tuesday Newsday" quiz in the teen department at Charleston County Public Library, although when I checked back with them it turned out I misunderstood what they were doing LOL. *shrug* works for them their way, worked for us our way!
When our library closed to the public I realized I could do the same thing but as a Google Slides quiz, and gradually it turned into the live audio-visual extravaganza it is today.
We try to hit numeracy, visual literacy, inference, and other critical thinking skills as well as showcasing cool online primary sources and making jokes.
I am not aware of anyone doing their own version, but it gets a lot of shares on Facebook, and I *think* there are teachers sharing it with their classes.


Hi Paula:

What a fun way to approach this. I wonder how many adults would be able to "spot the fake news?"

Do you think that getting kids to think more critically about news sources might lead their parents to do the same?

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We incorporate a challenge question every week that I suspect, given the answers I get via email, the grownups participate in, so there’s that. I work in a neighborhood with an enormous number of immigrant families, so I suspect the kids are the main source of English language news in the first place. I hope that this counters some of the misinformation their parents often hear via WhatsApp rumors and hearsay. Lack of reputable news sources in their own language creates additional stress on the community.