Hoaxes - Creating Your Own Hoax

Yesterday we talked about hoaxes and you learned that a hoax is a story meant to trick. Hoaxes are, generally, not malicious (mean or criminal). Hoaxes are generally thought of as jokes but sometimes the effect of a hoax can be hurtful. In today's digital world it is incredibly easy to create and spread a hoax. To see just how easy it is to create a hoax, you are going to do just that. It is your turn to create your own hoax. Remember, this is a hoax, which means your story needs to have aspects in truth. Your story/article must make the reader think for a moment and ask the question, "wait, is this true?" So, your story cannot be about zombies or mutant turtles attacking the middle school. You know what I mean. These types of stories are obviously fake. Maybe your story is about a strange invention or newly discovered animal or perhaps it will be about a food that makes you stronger or smarter. Whatever you decide, do your best to make it appear real. Remember, some of the most insidious (stealthily treacherous or deceitful) hoaxes are those that create panic/fear amongst the readers. When our emotions (fear) take over our senses we stop making good decisions.

Watch this video: Giant Human Skeletons Found - there is no dialogue, just music playing on this video

Here is a link to the History Hoax Museum with hundreds of examples of hoaxes

Here is a link to Snopes.com a site that looks at and debunks hoaxes

Example of a BAD HOAX:

Sasquatch (Big Foot) seen riding Nessie (the Loch Ness Monster).

Question: What makes this a BAD HOAX?

What elements (parts, ideas) would make a GOOD HOAX.

What you need to do to complete this assignment:

FIRST: In Fireworks, create an image showing your fake product, location, phenomenon, animal, ghost, etc. Note: You can use the Internet to get images. Google Image Search and then use Fireworks to create your image. Be certain to save your image(s) to your username (lunch number) network account.

SECOND: A story describing just what supposedly happened along with enough detail to convince any sceptic of the truthfulness of your hoax. Think of this as a news story, that is you need to include the who, what, where, when and how of the story. NOTE: It is important your story is not about a specific individual as you are going to be making part of the story up (not true). When you state something that is untrue about a specific person that is called slander, when you write something untrue that is called libel. Both of these can get you in a whole lot of trouble. So, avoid writing a hoax about a specific known person.

Login to your gmail account CLICK HERE and use Google Drive/Docs to create your story.

Type it all up and be certain to include your picture, or pictures, you created. Your story will need to be, at least, 250 words (about half a page, single spaced). You can click on <tools> and <word count> to check how many words you have typed. Also, be certain to include a title for your story. See example below.

To insert an image for Google Docs click on Insert and select Image. Then click on your image and select, Wrap Text. This will make it easy to move your image anywhere in your document you would like.

In Google Drive/Docs you will need to share your work by clicking SHARE. Be certain to give your document the title: History Hoax & Your First and Last Name. Share with ryan.durfee@ironmail.org Be certain to give me editing rights so I can comment on your writing.

Points = 100 If you have met all requirements of the assignment
+ 20 points = you have included an original image you have created that looks real
+ 20 points = you have, at least 250 words
+ 20 points = your story is plausible (could be real) that means no stories about zombies, no obviously strange creatures that simply could not exist (most species of animals cannot be combined/crossed), etc.
+ 20 points = you have edited your work to ensure no spelling errors, puctuation errors and you have used paragraphs (can not be just one paragraph) and followed rules of English grammar.

+ 10 points = your story has a title, you have included your name and class period as well as the number or words for your story (see student example) AND your work is submitted on time

Example of a GOOD HOAX:

Below is an example of a student created hoax. What makes this hoax really great is that the story has some aspects of truth, the ice caps are melting and there are fewer places for the penguins to stand. Of course the main story, penguins flying is not true . . . or is it . . .?


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