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Look Here! Click Here!

Investigating clickbait and viral news




AGE 11


30 MIN


Students will be able to:

  • Define and recognise clickbait.

  • Understand how and why news goes viral.

  • Develop skills to identify clickbait headlines and assess the credibility of online content.


This lesson plan by is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Teacher's Guide

Overview for Teachers

This lesson focuses on understanding clickbait, how news goes viral, and the skills needed to identify clickbait headlines. It aims to equip students with critical thinking skills necessary for navigating online content responsibly.

Slide 1

Welcome students to the lesson and briefly explain that today’s lesson is about the prevalence of attention-grabbing headlines online and their purpose.

Slide 2

Share the lesson objectives of what students will be learning today.

Slide 3

Engage students by asking what it means for something to go viral online to gauge their understanding and exposure to viral content. 

Slide 4

Explain clickbait as content designed to attract attention and encourage clicks.

Slide 5

Define the meaning of viral news, encouraging students to share examples of what they’ve come across in the past.

Slide 6

Discuss how clickbait headlines are designed to entice readers to click on videos or articles. 

Slide 7

Explore how clickbait can lead to misinformation or disappointment due to exaggerated or misleading headlines.

Slide 8

Explain the mechanics of online virality and the widespread likes and shares something can garner over a short period of time.  

Slide 9

Illustrate the relationship between clickbait and viral news. Viral news stories may be accompanied by clickbait headlines to maximise their reach and impact, even if the headlines do not accurately reflect the content.

Slide 10

Recognise the characteristics of clickbait headlines: 

  • Unbelievable Claims: Clickbait headlines may make bold or unbelievable claims that seem too good (or bad) to be true. They aim to pique readers' interest and entice them to click on the link to find out more.

  • Click-worthy Thumbnails: Clickbait headlines are often accompanied by click-worthy thumbnails, which are eye-catching images or graphics designed to further entice readers to click on the link.

  • "You Won't Believe It" Phrases: Clickbait headlines frequently use listicle formats or phrases like "You won't believe" or "These shocking secrets will..." to grab readers' attention and promise surprising or intriguing content.

Slide 11

Conduct an interactive activity where students match exaggerated clickbait titles with their more straightforward, accurate headlines.

Slide 12

Instruct the students to read each question carefully, and vote for the correct answer. 

Slide 13-14

Question 1: “You Won't Believe What Your Old Books Can Do for the Community!"

Correct answer: a) "Local Library Hosts Annual Book Donation Drive"

Slide 15-16

Question 2: "Meet the Alien Fish Discovered in the Ocean's Depths!"

Correct answer: a) "Meet the Alien Fish Discovered in the Ocean's Depths!"

Slide 17-18

Question 3: "Feeling Down? The Secret to Happiness Might Surprise You!"

Correct answer: c) "Study Shows Exercise Boosts Mental Health"

Slide 19-20

Question 4: "Think Twice Before Sharing Your Snacks With Your Pup – The Shocking Truth!"

Correct answer: b) "Veterinarians Warn Against Feeding Dogs Chocolate"

Slide 21-22

Question 5: "These Teen Geniuses Just Outsmarted Every Expert – Find Out How!"

Correct answer: c) "Local High School Robotics Team Wins National Championship"

Slide 23

Recap the lesson, emphasising the critical thinking skills needed to navigate digital media and the importance of verifying information before sharing.

Slide 24

Highlight the lesson's main messages, focusing on the prevalence of clickbait and viral news, and the importance of using critical thinking online.

Slide 25

Congratulate the students on becoming more informed digital media consumers and encourage them to practise their new skills in their daily online interactions.


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