Critical Thinking Lesson Plans PDF for Middle School / High School vs ChatGPT

Social Emotional Learning SEL: Critical Thinking Lessons - Bias, Fake News, Point of View, Activities, Handouts - Growth Mindset 6Cs Learning Skills product cover

CRITICAL THINKING LESSON PDF – March 11, 2024: ChatGPT makes it so easy not to think.

Sure, we can ban ChatGPT from schools. But how will we learn how to think critically about artificial intelligence if we’re not exposed to it?

Critical Thinking involves helping students to analyze, evaluate, and synthesize information objectively so they can form an informed perspective.

Help your students out with these 24 fun lessons on critical thinking.

They’ll learn how to spot fake news and wrong information, so they can make smart choices and solve problems in the real world.

Here are 24 critical thinking lessons to engage your Middle School and High School Students!

  • Where does bias come from?
  • What is fake news?
  • How reliable are citizenship journalism posts on social media?
  • Can we trust Mainstream Media (MSM Traditional News)?
  • Should we trust state-funded news organizations to tell the truth?
  • When is social media better than the news?
  • Are alternative news sources trustworthy?
  • Can students take the time to see things from different perspectives?
  • BONUS: Should ChatGPT be allowed in schools? Or, is this cheating?

FREE, NO-PREP Chat GPT debate lesson

ChatGPT has completely changed the game.

Did you know that Artificial Intelligence (AI) sometimes “hallucinates” and says things that are completely made up?

The problem is that the AI chatbot doesn’t realize it’s hallucinating until you point out the error (if you’re able to spot the fake news!)

This just means we have to double check the things ChatGPT and AI tells us.

What about our students? Will our students realize that AI can completely make up answers?

Here’s a FREE NO PREP Chat GPT debate lesson on YouTube so you can have an informed debate with your students.

Yes, ChatGPT can be exciting and scary. Should we panic? No.

Watch the video lesson on YouTube.

Should Chat GPT be allowed in schools? Or is this cheating?

  • ChatGPT Critical Thinking Debate
  • Writing Reflection Assignment

As easy as 1, 2, 3:

  1. Print the worksheets: You can get the worksheets here.
  2. Watch the video lesson on YouTube. There are two versions: 1) a SHORTER version and 2) a FULL LESSON with handout instructions.
  3. Moderate Class Discussion

Hi, I’m Mike! Your Virtual Support Teacher

The Virtual Support Teacher video lesson provides all the information your students need to have an informed debate. 

  • No independent research is required.
  • Play the video in class and then moderate the discussion.

CHAT GPT and Google Magi (artificial intelligence) has completely changed the way students can learn and cheat.

But a lesson on ChatGPT is really about developing 21st-century learning skills and social-emotional learning skills to survive and thrive in a changing world.

It’s not enough to say don’t cheat. We need to help students understand how to use this tool.

After all, you’re at a competitive disadvantage if you can’t keep up with major technological revolutions.

Critical Thinking Topics explored by the FREE YouTube video lesson

  • What is Chat GPT?
  • Explain like I’m five years old: How well can Chat GPT summarize and find the main idea from complex texts?
  • Include this list of personal information into your answer: Can Chat GPT really produce creative writing with personal examples?
  • The Google Search Algorithm has learned to be sexist (and what you can do about it.)
  • Should I panic about Chat GPT and Artificial Intelligence?
  • Should I trust my robot friend?

Students fill out worksheets to document their learning at multiple points in the lesson: (beginning, middle, and end)

  • Evidence from the text
  • Explain their own thinking

The ChatGPT debate lesson gives students an opportunity to collaborate and participate in small group and whole class conversations to develop a deeper understanding of the issue.

  • These conversations can provide multiple opportunities to listen to students to see what they understand. (Anecdotal observation / assessment.)

Students brainstorm criteria to decide if Chat GPT should be allowed in schools or is this cheating. (Worksheet 5)

  • What’s the point of school?
  • What does cheating mean?

The long version of the video walks students through a FOUR CORNERS debate.

Finally, students fill out a written response: Should Chat GPT be allowed in schools? An optional rubric is included.

  • Point
  • Evidence from the text
  • Explain how the evidence from the text proves their point using criteria.

The video lesson is FREE on YouTube

The optional worksheet handouts are on sale for $1.00 for a limited time. (The price will increase on Monday May 8, 2023)

Download the ChatGPT lesson handouts.

PS. Save time and money. The ChatGPT handouts have been added as a bonus in this 6Cs Critical Thinking unit.

It’s not April Fools anymore, but it’s still a good Critical Thinking Lesson

Now is the perfect time to do this April Fools’ Critical Thinking Lesson… Why? Because if you did this lesson on April 1, 2023, your students would be too suspicious.

Now, you can see if they notice the clues in the media text to determine if this is fake or not.

Can your students figure out if this is a real Google™ product?

60 minutes of engaging content divided into two parts:

  • Part 1: Fake News vs Tulips + Exit Ticket (30 min)
  • Part 2: Taking up the Answers + Student Reflection (30 min)


  • Slideshow lesson teaches critical thinking concepts.
  • Use the Five Ws (who, what, when, where, why/how) to analyze the video.
  • Ask “Why” or “How” questions for deeper understanding.


  • Assessment for students to demonstrate their understanding.
  • Marking Guide includes sample “look-fors.”
  • Generic rubric categories for easy adaptation to different grades.

Check out the April Fools’ Joke and critical thinking lesson here.

We live in a time of fake news, misinformation, and school-yard gossip!

This means, students need to think critically pretty much all the time.

  • They did what?!
  • Is this true? Did it really happen like that?
  • Does that even make sense? Am I in an echo chamber where my friends just agree with me?

What do our students do when they

  • See viral posts on social media,
  • Read a “fact” in a textbook or website,
  • Hear rumors about classmates!

How can we use logic and reason to form opinions? What can we do to make decisions and solve problems in a controversial world?

Critical Thinking and making informed decisions is part of Social Emotional Learning.

This SEL resource includes Critical Thinking Lesson Plans (PDF), a detailed script, discussion questions, and sample student answers… you get it all!

Fake News Versus… A new series of Critical Thinking Lesson Plans (Middle School / High School)

I’ve just launched the first lesson in a series I call “Fake News versus”

The first one is called “Fake News vs The Five Ws.”

  • I published it on March 28, 2022 and it will be free for a limited time.
  • It’s been downloaded over 739 times!
  • You can get it here.

Fight Fake News using the Five Ws!

Use the Five Ws (who, what, when, where, why/how) to think critically about the story behind the message.

60 minutes of content:

  • Part 1: Fake News vs The Five Ws & Exit Ticket (30 min)
  • Part 2: Taking up the Answers & Student Reflection (30 min)

Slideshow lesson teaches critical thinking concepts.

Exit ticket assessment gives students a chance to demonstrate their understanding of the lesson.

Marking Guide includes sample “look-fors.”

  • Incorrect answer
  • Simple / straightforward answer
  • Answers demonstrating increasing complexity
  • A list of “Next Steps” is included on the exit ticket. You can choose one for the student, or they can self-select what they think they need to work on.

Generic rubric categories are used instead of numbers or marks:

  • Epic, Great, Good, Okay, Needs Improvement, Major Misunderstanding.
  • This way, you can use this activity with different grades – just shift the benchmark where you attach your grades.

The “Taking up the Answers” slideshow

  • shows students how to take a simple answer and create a more complex idea using “idea volleyball.”

Social-Emotional Learning is built directly into the lesson and assessment:

The exit ticket is designed to help students develop self-awareness skills.

After students see the correct answer, the “Taking up the Answers” slideshow walks students through the goal-setting process to improve:

  1. What did you do well?
  2. What ideas did you miss this time?
  3. What is your goal for next time?
  4. What might help you to improve?

The “Taking up the Answers” slideshow gives students examples of actions they can take to improve:

  • Use a different Strategy
  • Apply more Effort.
  • Optimize results (by looking at previous work to see if there are patterns.)
  • Tinkering with new ideas

Transferrable learning skills can help students make informed decisions to solve problems

(even when angry or when things aren’t fair)

We live in crazy times. People have very strong opinions on both sides of controversial issues:

  • Systemic racism
  • Religious freedom
  • Freedom of speech
  • Gun control
  • Woke politics
  • Parental rights in Education vs Gender Identity
  • ChatGPT in Education

Before, we lived in a world where people might not have all of the facts. Or, the facts were inaccurate. (We call this misinformation.)

Now, we live in a world where people are actively putting out propaganda and intentionally incorrect information. (We call this disinformation.)

And then we have Artificial Intelligence (ChatGPT) that can hallucinate and completely make up facts… and tell you with confidence that these facts are true… until you point out to the AI why it’s incorrect.

And this is the world right now.

Our students will be facing a completely different world when they grow up.

We’re already seeing hints of what that world will look like with ChatGPT and Artificial Intelligence powered Search Engines

And this chat based model with artificial intelligence is the way the world is heading.

The way we use the internet is changing and we need to think even more critically about the information we get from the internet gatekeepers – search engines.

Of course, Google has been exploring AI. But they haven’t implemented AI fully in their search engine. Why? Because AI results were generated false and biased statements.

 In recent years, Google has used large language models to improve the quality of its search results, but held off on fully adopting A.I. because it has been prone to generating false and biased statements.

Source: New York Times – Google Devising Radical Search Changes to Beat Back A.I. Rivals

Can Google and ChatGPT be sexist or discriminate?


Machine Learning algorithms have been shown to give false information and sexist.

  • Make sure to sign up for the Educircles Club newsletter.
  • I have an incredible Chat GPT critical thinking video and lesson coming out.
  • And you like freebies, don’t you?

Now, more than ever, we all need to understand how to think critically about the information we get.

Students need to have some basic tools to help them decide what’s right and wrong (for them.)

This Critical Thinking unit has everything to do with ChatGPT, Covid controversies, conspiracy theories, illegal occupations, war propaganda, and woke politics… without having anything to do with them.

  • The critical thinking worksheets and lessons focus on transferrable skills without using examples from current controversies.
  • There’s no mention of ChatGPT, Ottawa Protests, George Floyd, January 6, the war in Ukraine, or woke politics.
  • That makes this resource timeless.

New and Improved UPDATE to my 6Cs Critical Thinking Curriculum Unit

Based on teacher feedback, I’ve made it a lot easier to find the files you need.

Make sure to look at the product preview for each resource. You can see full screenshots of exactly what you get in each critical thinking lesson package.

A. Lost at Sea (FREE!)

Download the FREE resource

Help students develop critical thinking skills by prioritizing a list of 15 items to help them survive if lost at sea.

  • 80 slides,
  • 5 pages of handouts,
  • 23-page detailed critical thinking lesson plan (PDF).

Lost at Sea is a classic activity that can be found all across the Internet.

The original activity comes from PACE, which published the “Lost at Sea” activity in the public domain. 

Instead of relying solely on emotional, intuitive responses, I’ve adapted this activity to highlight the importance of criteria-based thinking (critical thinking).

Ultimately, the goal is to begin a conversation about critical thinking and how to use criteria to make informed decisions.

B. Thinking about Thinking

Download the resource

Help students improve Self-Awareness and Social Awareness. Guide them through this series of Social Emotional Learning activities!

  • By becoming aware of who we are,
  • we can begin to think more critically to understand the perspectives of others –
  • especially those from different backgrounds or points of view.

Students explore three activities to understand better how our emotions, thoughts, and values can influence our point of view.

Section B has 108 slides, 14 pages of handouts, and 30 pages of Critical Thinking Lesson Plans (PDF format)

C. Search Engine Bias Experiment

Download the resource

Help students improve Social Awareness and Responsible Decision-Making by understanding how search engines influence our bias and behaviour!

Students analyze an informational text (Google™ search engine results) and develop critical thinking internet skills!

  • Should online dictionaries give the same definition for a given word?
  • Should Google and other search engines give the same results for a given search phrase?

Search engines provide personalized results that can reinforce our point of view and bias. We know Netflix gives us personalized suggestions of what to watch next.

But did you know Google personalizes our results as well? 

We live in an invisible “search bubble” that filters the results we find on the internet.

  • Search engine algorithms filter what shows up at the top of the list.
  • Becoming aware of this search bubble is a way for students to think more critically.

Informational texts are things based on facts.

  • In ELA, we often look at biographies, historical accounts, or textbook articles.
  • But, a Search Engine Results Page (SERP) is also an informational text.
  • Students explore the text form to analyze and identify potential bias.

In this 9 lesson package, students conduct experiments to see what happens if different people search for the same thing on the internet.

Section C has 117 slides, 14 pages of handouts, and 36 pages of detailed script and Critical Thinking Lesson Plan PDFs

D. Fake News

Download the resource

Help students improve Social Awareness and Responsible Decision Making by exploring fake news from multiple points of view!

Students compare the reliability of information from Social Media and Traditional News Media. 

Three critical thinking strategies help students make more informed decisions.

Students also reflect on how their attitudes change as they learn more information. 

In this lesson package, students try to

  • be OPEN-MINDED as they explore different points of view and examples.
  • become FULL-MINDED and explore how money is made online through ads before learning about Fake News websites during the Trump election.
  • USE CRITERIA to determine if local news anchors reciting the same script about the dangers of social media is an example of Fake News.

Media skills and understandings are embedded throughout the Common Core State Standards rather than treated in a separate section.

In this lesson, students will

  • Cite the evidence that supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly and implicitly.
  • Determine and analyze different points of view.
  • Analyze a case where multiple sources provide conflicting information on the same topic (Sinclair incident.)

In this 6 lesson package, students explore how their perspective of social media and traditional news media might change as we learn more information about the Sinclair Script incident. (Essentially, a bunch of local news anchors read the exact same script word-for-word about the dangers of social media and fake news.)

Section D is hands down one of my favourite lessons because it walks students through different sides of a “fake news” issue.

There are 186 slides in the slideshow lesson. You also get 15 pages of handouts. Finally the Critical Thinking Lesson Plan PDFs walk you through 59 pages of detailed scripts and discussion points.

E. Videos
F. Consolidation / Review

Download the resource

Help students improve Self-Awareness and Responsible Decision Making skills by using critical thinking to think about critical thinking!

Students analyze four videos to explore critical thinking: 12 cognitive biases, online filter bubbles, and unconscious bias.

After each video, students brainstorm strategies to 1) trick people and 2) help us think critically.

The slideshow lesson reviews three strategies to analyze the videos.

  • Be OPEN-MINDED. Consider alternate points of view.
  • Be FULL-MINDED. Seek out high-quality information.
  • USE CRITERIA to make an informed opinion.

Students also watch a fourth video about critical thinking to explore other critical thinking strategies.

They then compare strategies to develop a deeper understanding of how to trick people and think more critically. 

In the Consolidation/Review section, students use a vocabulary-building graphic organizer (Frayer model) to explore critical thinking.

Students brainstorm examples, non-examples, features, and must-have criteria.

Section E/F is the consolidation chapter of this Critical Thinking Unit. It has 50 slides, 12 pages of handouts. You also get 50 pages of Critical Thinking lesson plans PDF FORMAT.

Teach students HOW to think critically to solve problems

We live in a world filled with news media and social media focus on sensational topics.

This is especially true today with new information constantly coming to us about Coronavirus (Covid-19)

It’s easy to get overwhelmed. We’re constantly overloaded with information.

Also, it’s easy to get caught up and respond emotionally.

We all need to be able to think critically when we’re drawing conclusions.

How many of your students get caught up in these situations:

  • something goes viral on social media.
  • someone spreads a rumour on the school yard.
  • something scary happens in the world.
  • something unfair happened to them.

A lot of people might say that critical thinking skills and strategies are really just common sense.

But, as we all know from teaching in the classroom, there’s nothing common about common sense.

Explicitly teaching strategies help provide a foundation for critical analysis of everything we see, hear and learn.

Social-Emotional Learning includes critical thinking – whether we’re talking about

  • helping students with responsible decision making
  • figuring out how to resolve conflict and develop relationship skills
  • having self-management skills to set (and work towards) personal goals
  • being open-minded and embracing social awareness to ensure we have lots of high-quality information instead of relying on stereotypes
  • having self-awareness and examining who we are, and how that might introduce prejudices, biases, and filter the way we see the world.

Sometimes, the News, Social Media, or Artificial Intelligence / ChatGPT can give us a skewed view of the world.

Critical Thinking skills help students work to use logic and reason instead of emotion and fear when making decisions or drawing conclusions. This is a lesson students need but don’t often realize they need.

Critical thinking lesson plans can help teachers empower students to make informed decisions in everyday life independently.

We can do this by giving students specific strategies on how to think critically in multiple situations. Whether you are:

  • dealing with fake news
  • trying to make an opinion or drawing conclusions
  • trying to be fair

Teach students to have opinions based on high-quality information and to seek out opposing points of view to make an informed decision.

  • Use criteria
  • Be Full minded.
  • Be Open minded

(Psst, want a free taste of these 3 critical thinking strategies? Check out this free slideshow lesson and worksheet package.)

Students are often told to find different points of view on an issue or in a story. But, students don’t always recognize that simply identifying the missing point of view is not the same as figuring out what that missing point of view would say.

This lesson package helps students to recognize different aspects of their identity, points of view that might be different from theirs, and the need to figure out those viewpoints to help us make an informed decision.

Sometimes, we don’t even realize we need to think critically!

Here’s an example:

Students often know we need to use the critical thinking process to make informed decisions about the information we receive.

But, did you know we also need to think critically about the information we are fed in the first place?

Notice how that sentence says “the information we are fed” and not “the information we find”?

That’s because computer algorithms are “curating” the content we receive:

  • Search engines personalize your results.
  • Social media personalizes your feed.
  • Streaming media like Netflix personalizes suggestions for other shows you might like to see.

This means, we get information we want to see and not necessarily other points of view.

(Here’s a lesson to help teach students about this search bubble.)

Teaching critical thinking strategies to students is especially important right now to help students solve problems.

This can be in your language arts class, your homeroom, or beyond!

Critical Thinking High School – English

This lesson package would work well in a 9th Grade or 10th Grade English class.

I used to teach 8th Grade in a grade 7-12 High School. Here’s what I often heard from my secondary colleagues:

  • Students coming up from elementary school often don’t know the basics.
  • Their paragraph structure might be weak.
  • Independent grammar and spelling skills have gone by the wayside in an era of spellcheck and Grammarly.
  • Students often can’t infer deeper meaning and hidden points of view in a text.

The Common Core State Standards recognizes the importance of informational texts across subjects as students progress from elementary to middle to high school.

Good critical thinking skills are key in academic success as well as to help out when we are drawing conclusions in everyday life. Critical thinking strategies are transferable.

  • Teach students HOW to think critically about search engines, news media or social media by putting the focus on the critical thinking strategies we use. Explicitly focus on different strategies…
  • Then, when we teach subject-based content or explore informational texts in our English language arts classes, we can refer to these critical thinking strategies and draw back on our prior experiences when we analyzed search engines or debunked fake news.

Critical Thinking Middle School – English Language Arts / Homeroom / Advisory

These critical thinking activities for middle school work well if you teach in a 7th or 8th grade English Language Arts class. (Also, 6th grade if you teach at a grade 6-8 middle school or junior high school.)

Middle school is a great age! Students are old enough to delve into more complex issues, but still young enough to care. (They’re like giant marshmallows! Tough on the outside, but still sweet on the inside!)

Making the critical thinking process meaningful to students is one way to drive student engagement and participation in class.

  • The search bubble lesson is interesting because students are collecting real-time data and comparing results. This isn’t a simple web quest where the answers are in the teaching manual. This is a real-world analysis of search results.
  • The fake news lesson is a great way to teach point of view. The lesson walks middle school students through different perspectives of the Sinclair Script incident where 193 local news anchors said the exact same script about fake news.
  • The invisible lens / thinking about thinking lesson is fun because students get to explore who they are and how that filters the world they see. Plus, your middle school students will be completely shocked that they’ve missed the bear. (Unless they’ve seen it before.)

Critical Thinking for Elementary Students

There’s a lot that older elementary students can get excited about.

One of my favourite parts in the critical thinking lesson plan (PDF) is when students analyze the differences between social media and traditional news media.

We often think that because citizen journalism in social media can be heavily biased because, well, anyone can post on social media.

Then the slideshow lesson asks students to analyze this video:

Crazy, right?

The critical thinking lesson plan PDF file provides a detailed script to help your students make an informed decision about social media vs traditional media.

Usually, we use the critical thinking process to help students realize not to trust everything they see on social media.

But, to be fair, we need to use that same critical thinking process regardless of where we get our information!

Critical Thinking Strategies When Reading

This critical thinking lesson unit ties in nicely with critical thinking reading strategies.

Sometimes students have difficulty using critical thinking strategies when reading.

But we evaluate stuff all the time in real life!

So, if we start our reading strategy lessons first by showing how we think critically all the time in real life, then we just tell our students that we use the same strategies when reading!

Here’s a free YouTube video lesson on the evaluating Comprehension Reading strategy. It goes nicely with this critical thinking unit:

5 weeks of Critical Thinking Lessons (ELA)

We spent over 120 hours of research and lesson development on this product so you wouldn’t have to. 

IMPORTANT: You will have to spend a little bit of time going through the slides and handouts to tweak them to fit your specific needs.

The teaching slideshow has been split into 6 smaller slideshows for each mini-unit.

This would be ideal for teaching critical thinking in English Language Arts as you get more options to divide the content throughout the year.

Note, the critical thinking lesson plans (pdf) include screenshots of each slide as well as slide numbers to help you get oriented. It’s a big file.

Slides 1 – 539: ALL

  • Slides 1– 80: Lost at Sea
  • Slides 81 – 189: Thinking about Thinking (Teaching Point of View in English Language Arts)
  • Slides 190 – 306: Search Bubbles
  • slides 307 – 492: Fake News
  • slides 493 – 520: Videos
  • slides 521 – 539: Understanding 


Digital Learning – Designed for Google Classroom (English Language Arts)

The lessons on hidden search engine bias (Slides 190 – 306: Search Bubbles) have been broken apart into smaller files that can be easily uploaded to separate Google Classroom assignments. 

In the Critical Thinking Search Engine Bias Informational Text section, you would set up 9 assignments. Each assignment would have 

  • a lesson (Google Slides file with the appropriate slides) – you share this VIEW ONLY
  • a work handout (Google Doc) – you set the Google Classroom assignment to make every student their own copy of the work handout.

YOU GET 5 WEEKS (24 days) of Language Arts lessons to do with your class to help them think more critically by using strategies: USE CRITERIA, BE OPEN MINDED, BE FULL MINDED.


  • 543 slides in GOOGLE SLIDE format
  • 24 Critical Thinking Lesson Plans (PDF) – approx 45 min per lesson
  • LOST at SEA activity (CRITERIA BASED thinking)
  • THINKING about THINKING activity (The invisible gorilla, The invisible lens, Aspects of Identity)
  • Should SEARCH ENGINES and ONLINE DICTIONARIES give us the same results? (Two online experiments exploring filter bubbles)
  • Fake News activity
    • BREAKING NEWS examples on social media
    • The MONEY behind FAKE NEWS (How websites make money online and what this had to do with FAKE NEWS in the US election.)
    • LOCAL NEWS media and the Sinclair script from 6 different POINTS of VIEW. (Oh, not sure what the Sinclair script is? Sinclair Broadcast Group Sinclair made local news anchors recite the same script, word for word. Check out this video that went viral.)
  • Vocabulary Building Graphic Organizer HANDOUT
  • Critical Thinking Learning Skills SELF-EVALUATION handout
  • Critical Thinking Review Assessment – What did you learn? (12 short answer questions and answer key)

If you want to teach CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS, we just saved you an incredible amount of prep work!

Critical Thinking Lesson Plans (PDF) Curriculum – Table of Contents

24 DAYS of Critical Thinking Lessons in 5 WEEKS.

You can use this Critical Thinking Curriculum as part of your English Language Arts class, homeroom / advisory / guidance class, or if you teach a Critical Thinking class.


  • DAY/LESSON 1 – Introduction / Lost at Sea (slides 1-35) – 45 MIN
  • DAY/LESSON 2 – Lost at Sea continued (slides 36-80) – 50 MIN
  • DAY/LESSON 3 – Thinking about Thinking (slides 81-102) 45 MIN
  • DAY/LESSON 4 – Thinking about Thinking cont (slides 103-145) 50 MIN
  • DAY/LESSON 5 – Thinking about Thinking cont (slides 146-170) 50 MIN
  • DAY/LESSON 6 – Thinking about Thinking cont (slides 171-189) 45 MINUTES
  • DAY/LESSON 7 – Sources of Information (slides 190-225) 50 MIN
  • DAY/LESSON 8 – Online dictionary experiment (slides 226-233) 45 MINUTES
  • DAY/LESSON 9 – Online dictionary experiment cont (slides 234-236) 40 MIN
  • DAY/LESSON 10 – Search engine experiment (slides 237-276) 50 MIN
  • DAY/LESSON 11 – Search engine experiment cont (slides 277-302) 45 MIN
  • DAY/LESSON 12 – Search engine experiment cont (slides 303) 50 MIN
  • DAY/LESSON 13 – Search engine experiment cont (slides 304-306) 40 MIN
  • DAY/LESSON 14 – Fake News (slides 307-334) 50 MIN
  • DAY/LESSON 15 – Fake News continued (slides 335-363) 45 MIN
  • DAY/LESSON 16 – Fake News continued (slides 364-398) 55 MIN
  • DAY/LESSON 17 – Fake News continued (slides 399-430) 50 MIN
  • DAY/LESSON 18 – Fake News continued (slides 431-455) – 45 MIN
  • DAY/LESSON 19 – Fake News continued (slides 456-492) – 50 MIN


  • DAY/LESSON 20 – Part 2 Videos (slides 493-500) – 55 MIN
  • DAY/LESSON 21 – Part 2 Videos continued (slides 501-509) – 50 MIN
  • DAY/LESSON 22 – Part 2 Videos continued (slides 510-520) – 50 MIN


  • DAY/LESSON 23 – Vocabulary Builder (slides 521-537) – 50 MIN
  • DAY/LESSON 24 – Self Evaluation / Review – (slides 538-539) – 50 MIN

This is the good stuff. No, seriously. Check out the preview PDF to see everything that you’re getting.


(This warning is also in the critical thinking lesson plans PDF) 

Everyone has a different school reality: 

  • Some of the examples we use in this resource may not be appropriate for all grades, school climates, and classroom realities.
  • Sometimes, as much as we’d love to, we simply don’t have time to have our lessons derailed into teachable moments.  

We tried to come up with different examples from various perspectives, but of course, we are human and have an unconscious bias as well.  


Here are a few of the slides that we wanted to give you a heads up about. There may be other slides that you may want to modify. We suggest going through the material to make sure everything fits your needs.

NOTE: All of our slideshow files and handouts can be modified.

  • Slide 170 looks at various protected grounds in Canada as a way to help students brainstorm different groups of people. The slide discusses race, ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity / expression, marital status, family status, disability, genetic characteristics and convictions for which a pardon has been granted or a record suspended.
  • Slide 180 looks at possible answers for different aspects of identity. The slide lists: socio-economic status, nationality, language, colour, age, religion, orientation, gender, race, ability, and culture. 
  • Slide 320-323: Wikileaks release of alleged CIA documents showing CIA covert hacking program to listen through SMART TVs and other devices
  • Slide 324-331: Death of Osama bin Laden which was reported on Twitter first. 
  • Slide 459: The title of article is “We’re journalists at a Sinclair news station. We’re pissed.”
  • Slide 481: The title of article is “How I made a dumb video making fun of Sinclair Broadcasting and somehow started a media war”. 

NOTE: YOU CAN MODIFY, DELETE, and EDIT ALL of the lessons, handouts, and presentations.

  • The critical thinking lesson plans pdf is comprehensive and includes suggested talking points for each slide.

Critical Thinking Lessons about Hidden Bias in Search Engines

Informational Text unit designed for Google Classroom

A search engine is an informational text that we should think critically about. 

But, not everybody knows how to analyze the Search Engine Results Pages effectively to identify hidden bias. (Heck, most people don’t realize the search results we get in everyday life are very personalized and influenced by our search habits.) 

We need to think more critically before we draw conclusions- not only about the information we read online but also about the information choices we receive from our digital gatekeepers (search engines, media streaming platforms, any other online service that provides a personalized experience based on algorithms.)

Informational texts are things that are based on facts. 

  • They can include things like biographies, speeches, opinion pieces, and historical or technical accounts. 
  • Informational texts can also include information that appears in graphs, charts, and maps. 
  • All of these examples are different from fiction and literature which includes things like novels, short stories, drama, and poetry,

Here are 9 critical thinking lessons to help you explore search engine results.

This is the literacy lesson we should be teaching our students, but it’s a text form and topic that not everyone is familiar with. Search Engine results pages are informational texts that we can (and should) analyze.

Use these high-interest slideshows to help you teach and break down the following concepts. 

  • critical thinking strategies and the concept of bias
  • different search engines used around the world
  • how search engines work
  • how to read a Search Engine Results Page
  • understanding form, conventions and techniques when it comes to this informational text 

The Google Slideshow critical thinking lessons will teach and walk students through two activities:

  • an dictionary experiment to explore whether different dictionaries give the same results
  • An search engine experiment to explore whether different search engines and search conditions (i.e. browser, geographic location, date) give the same results

The big guiding question for students to explore in everyday life: Are Search Engines biased? 

  • Should different search engines give us different results for the same search phrase? Why or why not?

This unit can be taught in the classroom or for digital learning using Google Classroom.

  • The Google Slides presentation has been cut into lessons so you can easily attach the mini lesson to your Google Classroom assignments

Get the Search Engine Bias critical thinking lessons

NOTE: This unit is included in our Critical Thinking Chapter.

Informational Text Unit for Google Classroom: Search engine bias - 9 high-interest Critical Thinking Lessons for Language Arts (slideshow). 9 independent work handouts. 2 online experiment activities for your students.

What critical thinking lesson plans do you use in your classroom?