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Supported by Nominet

Two sides to every story

Create a dramatic news item while using your critical thinking skills to suss out the other side of the story.
Plan a session with this activity

You will need

  • Device to show photos, videos, or slides
  • Fancy dress items

Before you begin

  • Don’t worry too much if you don’t have props – they’re not essential. You could use things you may already have (for example, hi-vis vests or clipboards). The focus should always be on the content of the drama.

Hear a tree story

  1. The person leading the activity should help everyone think about key features of a news report. Who might feature? People might think about a newsreader in the studio, a reporter at a location, and key people being interviewed.
  1. Everyone should split into groups. Each group should find a space where they can talk (quietly) without the other groups hearing them.
  2. The person leading the game should give each group one of the tree stories. They should explain that each group has the facts about their story.
  3. Each group should think about the different characters in their story, and who’ll play each one. They should also plan what kind of mood any interviewees may be in (they could be angry, upset, or confident, for example).
  1. Everyone should spend about 15 minutes planning and practising their dramas. Each one should be under two minutes long.

Present the news

  1. Everyone should gather together to watch.
  2. Each group should take it in turns to show their drama. Once their turn is over, everyone should come of character and return to being their normal, reasonable, selves.
  3. The person leading the game should reveal that both groups had facts about the same story – and all of the facts were still true.

 

Time to debate

  1. Next, everyone should agree a topic that they’d like to find more information about. Explain that they’ll be taking part in a debate on the topic they’ve chosen and assign each group a side of the debate.
  2. Ask groups to come up with a set of five questions to research online. They should plan to find the answers to these questions from reliable websites.
  3. Using the evidence they’ve found online, groups should prepare their own set of facts to use in the debate. Like in the tree stories above, these should all be true but from two different sides of the story.
  1. Now it’s time to debate! Each group should take it turns to present their facts and listen to the other groups’ argument.
  2. After the debate, discuss how easy it was to know if the evidence everyone found online was reliable or not.

Reflection

This activity was all about communicating. Everyone had to create characters and stories based on a few facts. How did it feel to be in character? People may have felt the emotions of the character they were playing, whether they were angry, frustrated, sad, unheard, helpless, or powerful. Which side do people think was right? Did hearing the facts from the other side change their opinion?

When else may people take sides and believe they’re right? People could think of politics, but also things like films and games. There’s usually more than one perspective on a story, and it can be helpful to do some research before believing everything you see, hear, or read. What should people do if they come across disagreement online? Should they argue, bully, and shout… or would it be better to listen, try to understand, and be respectful? How might people be able to spot online media being unbalanced? What sources are especially likely to be biased or trustworthy?

Safety

Music and films

Make sure music and films are age appropriate for the youngest person present.

Online safety

Supervise young people when they’re online and give them advice about staying safe.

For more support around online safety or bullying, check out the NSPCC website. If you want to know more about specific social networks and games, Childnet has information and safety tips for apps. You can also report anything that’s worried you online to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection command.

As always, if you’ve got concerns about a young person’s welfare (including their online experiences), follow the Yellow Card reporting processes.

All activities must be safely managed. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Always get approval for the activity and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.