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The Speed of News: The Six Big Questions

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This activity introduces the five W’s and one H that every story should answer.

GRADE LEVEL: Elementary school

TIME: Less than 30 minutes

MATERIALS: The Six Big Questions worksheet (download), pencils, scissors, glue/tape

PREPARE: Print copies of the worksheet, one per student.


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Overview PDF DOC
Worksheets PDF DOC
Extensions PDF DOC
Full Packet PDF DOC

To request a large print or Braille version, call 202.292.6650.


  1. Divide students into small groups.
  2. Tell them: When reporters set out to cover a story, they must gather some of the basic information of every event. They use the five W’s (who, what, when, where, why) and one H (how) questions that you may be familiar with. In this activity, you will analyze a story to see how the reporter did at answering the basic questions.
  3. Have students work individually, circling the places in the story where the six questions are answered. Then have them compare their results within their small group, come to a consensus and cut up the story to fit the worksheet.
  4. Note: There may be more than one answer to a question. For example, Barack Obama is the obvious and crucial “who” in the election story, but John McCain is another “who” in the story.


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Have each group share their worksheet and explain their selections. Ask:

  • Did the reporter do a good job communicating the basic details of the event?
  • Did he leave anything unanswered? What?
  • Did he add unnecessary details? Which?
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