Conspiracy theories are becoming part of mainstream discourse and public awareness. From political to pandemic-related beliefs to older ideas such as the Earth is flat, we are finding that more and more of our friends, family and loved ones believe at least one conspiracy theory. How do we teach students to avoid conspiracy theories without actually teaching them the specifics of such false beliefs? John Silva- Senior Director for Professional Learning at the News Literacy Project joins the Illinois Civics Hub for a timely session to explore the psychological and cognitive factors behind conspiratorial thinking, including the role of fears and anxiety, cognitive dissonance and biases, motivated reasoning and institutional cynicism. We will discuss the ways in which conspiracy theories exploit our emotions as well as fill our emotional needs. As part of this session, we will outline essential learning objectives and concepts and provide instructional resources for integrating these concepts into the curriculum, including our free, interactive lesson which is part of the Checkology® virtual classroom.