Grade 8

This Just In!

How should we react to breaking news?

With mobile phone alerts, social media updates, and 24/7 news cycles, it's hard to escape the daily flood of breaking news. But do kids really understand what they're seeing when stories first break? Help students analyze breaking news with a critical eye for false or incomplete information, and discuss the downsides of our "always-on" news media culture.

See the U.K. version of this lesson plan

Learning Objectives:
  • Define breaking news, and understand why individuals and news outlets want to be first to report a story.
  • Analyze breaking news alerts to identify clues of false or incomplete information.
  • Reflect on the consequences of reacting right away to breaking news alerts.
Key Vocabulary: 24/7 news cycle  ·  bias  ·  breaking news
24/7 news cycle:
24-hour, seven-day-a-week investigating and reporting of news via television, radio, print, online, and mobile app devices
showing a strong opinion or preference for or against something or someone
breaking news:
information being reported about an event that has just happened or is currently occurring
News & Media Literacy
This lesson meets standards for Common Core ELACASELAASLand ISTESee standards

Lesson Plan

45 mins.
Extension Activity:

Have students explore Checkology by the News Literacy Project, and complete the InfoZones lesson for more practice identifying newsworthy sources and evaluating breaking news. Print out the Legit-O-Meter poster. Have students use it to evaluate news stories they find online.

What You'll Need

Select resources below, then open in English or Spanish. Unlock free resources

Classroom resources

  • Lesson Slides
  • Breaking News! Handout Teacher Version
  • Canceled Concert? Handout Teacher Version
  • Lesson Quiz

Take-home resources