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This lesson provided by:
Author: Jan Hosey
System:Huntsville City
School:Huntsville City Board Of Education
Lesson Plan ID: 17301

Propaganda & Persuasive Techniques: Do You Buy It?


During this lesson, students have the opportunity to learn about basic persuasive techniques employed in advertising. They will collect and analyze data about advertising in general. They will share examples of persuasive techniques used in advertising. Then, they have the opportunity to create their own "products" and use one persuasive technique in original "commercials." Students perform their commercials in a live teleconference, while audience members try to guess which persuasive technique is used.

Content Standard(s):
IL(K-12) 2. The student who is information literate evaluates information critically and competently.
IL(K-12) 3. The student who is information literate uses information accurately and creatively.
IL(K-12) 7. The student who contributes positively to the learning community and to society is information literate and recognizes the importance of information to a democratic society.
TC2(3-5) 9. Use technology tools to organize, interpret, and display data.
TC2(3-5) 10. Use digital environments to collaborate and communicate.
MA2015(4) 22. Make a line plot to display a data set of measurements in fractions of a unit (1/2, 1/4, 1/8). Solve problems involving addition and subtraction of fractions by using information presented in line plots. [4-MD4]
ELA2015(5) 22. Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information. [W.5.1]
ELA2015(5) 25. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 22-24 above.) [W.5.4]
ELA2015(5) 26. With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach. (Editing for conventions should demonstrate command of the first three Language standards in Grades K-5.) [W.5.5]
ELA2015(5) 27. With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of two pages in a single sitting. [W.5.6]
ELA2015(5) 32. Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on Grade 5 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly. [SL.5.1]
ELA2015(5) 35. Report on a topic or text or present an opinion, sequencing ideas logically and using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace. [SL.5.4]
ELA2015(5) 36. Include multimedia components (e.g., graphics, sound) and visual displays in presentations when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or themes. [SL.5.5]
Local/National Standards:  
Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students will recognize and analyze the use of persuasive techniques in advertising. Students will create and perform original commercials employing one of the persuasive techniques.

Additional Learning Objective(s):  
Approximate Duration of the Lesson: Greater than 120 Minutes
Materials and Equipment:

Attached worksheets and handouts, one current magazine per student, overhead projector and transparencies, self-made props and costumes, access to one hour of network television

Technology Resources Needed:

Computers with Internet access, MS Excel or other spreadsheet software, two-way (voice and video) distance learning camera capable of either an ISDN or IP connection, microphone, video projector or large display, external speakers, bridging services if ISDN connection is used


Students should have some training in the use of Microsoft Excel or other spreadsheet software. The class should identify and select a partner class, in another region of the U.S., that completes the same unit activities. The website is a protected learning environment where partners may be identified.

1.)Introduce the unit by defining propaganda/persuasive techniques, describing three uses of these techniques, and providing examples of each use (see attached: Overhead Transparencies).
Discuss twelve commonly used propaganda or persuasive techniques (see attached handout: 12 Propaganda or Persuasive Techniques).

2.)For homework over the course of the next five days, students are to find three examples of different propaganda/persuasive techniques.
These examples may be in print, video, or Internet advertisements. They are to complete the attached Observation Chart for these examples and, if possible, bring the examples to class with them on Day 5.

3.)How susceptible are we to propaganda and persuasive techniques?
To find out, have students take the "Do You Buy It?" Quiz (see attachment) to see if they recognize common advertising slogans. Next, allow each student to use a current magazine from the library to count the number of pages with advertisements and the number of pages without advertisements. Have students record their tallies on the "Magazine Advertisement Tally Sheet" (attached).

4.)Working in pairs, and using the data collected on their "Magazine Advertisement Tally Sheets," have students use Microsoft Excel or a similar program to create a spreadsheet that totals the number of magazine pages with ads, totals the number of magazine pages without ads, totals the number of pages in the magazine, and calculates the percentage of pages in the magazine that contain ads. (See the attached file, "Spreadsheet Requirements.") After their spreadsheets are completed, students will share the titles of their magazines, as well as the percentage of pages containing advertisements in their magazines.

5.)In preparation for the next class, students are to watch one hour of television, recording the number of commercials watched, the times those commercials aired, the name of the product advertised in each commercial, and the name of the television show during which the commercials aired. Students are to record these observations on the "Television Commercial Tally Sheet" (attached).

6.)During the next class meeting, ask students to share the information from their Television Commercial Tally Sheets. As they share the information, fill in the "Television Commercial Comparison Overhead Transparency" (file attached)so that the class can see the composite data. Assuming that each commercial lasted 60 seconds, ask the class to calculate how many minutes of commercials aired during each hour of television watched. Then, ask students if they see a relationship between the programs they watched and the products that were advertised. Introduce the concept of "target audience," and ask the class to decide upon a target audience for each commercial.

7.)During the next class meeting, students will use computers with Internet access to visit the PBSKids website, "Don't Buy It." Under the link to "Advertising Tricks," students will complete one to five of the following online activities: "Food Advertising Tricks," "Create Your Own Ads," "Design a Cereal Box," "What's in an Ad," and "Be the Ad Detective."
(Don't Buy It: Get Media Smart!)
This website employs interactive, online activities to educate kids about marketing ploys and persuasive techniques used in advertising.

8.)During the next class meeting, ask each student to share the three propaganda/persuasive techniques they identified for homework in Step 2.

9.)Divide the class into groups of three. Each group must:
make up an original product or politician;
create, rehearse, and perform an original television commercial about that product or person, using one of the 12 propaganda/persuasive techniques;
use the "Commercial Storyboard" form (attached) to develop their commercials (students can draw stick figures representing the characters and action);
identify a target audience;
and create a prop and costume list (see "Commercial Props_ Costumes" form), as well as a written script.

10.)After students complete the tasks in Activity 10 and rehearse their commercials, pair two groups together and have them perform Peer Evaluations (see attached form) of their partner group's performance. After both groups have evaluated each other, they will share their Peer Evaluations and rehearse their commercials again, attempting to improve their performances.

11.)The unit culminates in a distance learning teleconference with a class from another region of the country. Both classes should have performed all the activities in this lesson. During the teleconference, the two classes will alternate performances of their commercials using props and costumes. At the end of each performance, each class will attempt to identify the propaganda or persuasive techniques employed in the other class' commercials.

Attachments:**Some files will display in a new window. Others will prompt you to download. TVCommercialComparisonOverhead Transparency.doc
Overhead Transparencies.doc
TVCommercial Rubric.doc
Commercial Storyboard.doc
12 Propaganda or Persuasive Techniques.doc
Observation Chart.doc
Do You Buy It_Quiz.doc
Propaganda techniques Spreadsheet Requirements.doc
Magazine Tally Sheet.doc
Commercial Props_Costumes.doc
Assessment Strategies:

Activities 1-8 will be assessed using the "Propaganda or Persuasive Techniques: Unit Rubric" (see attached). Activities 10-12 will be evaluated using the "TV Commercial Rubric" (see attached).

Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior

Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.
Variations Submitted by ALEX Users:
Alabama Virtual Library
Alabama Virtual Library

Hosted by Alabama Supercomputer Authority
The University of Alabama at Birmingham
The University of Alabama at Birmingham
The Malone Family Foundation
The Malone Family Foundation
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