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.