The Martians Are Coming!

As part of a study of the power of mass media, class members use a documentary about Orson Welles' radio broadcast of an adaptation of H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds to launch an investigation of how media networks spread rumor and hoaxes.  In an age of fake news, when "Truth isn't Truth," the lesson is a must for 21st century learners.

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Instructional Ideas

Classroom Considerations

  • Although designed for media studies classes, the resource is also appropriate for a unit on the emotional climate in the period prior to World war II
Pros

  • Asks class members to deconstruct the hoax by identifying the intended audience, mode of address, documentary type, form of distribution, and issues of distribution
Cons

  • None