U.S. Government, Civics, U.S. History
It is important for students to understand what they, as citizens, can do to become involved in the political process. In addition, students need to understand the way in which bias and stereotyping are used by various media and interest groups to influence popular opinion. In this lesson, students examine propaganda and media bias and explore the ways interest groups get their message across through the use of media campaigns. Following the development of their own interest group, students develop an advertising campaign which includes the development of a radio and television commercial.
1. For this type of lesson, it is important not only to preview all of the Internet information, but also make parents and administration aware of the outcomes of the assignment. Begin by sending a letter home to parents, explaining the lesson and the purpose for exploring the various issues their interest groups are supporting.
2. Before sending the letter to parents, be sure your school administrator has been given a copy of the letter, along with a list of curriculum objectives to be covered in the unit. If your schedules permit, allow for a meeting to present the letter to your administrator in person so that you can discuss any concerns before you begin.
3. Preview the censorship and propaganda resources suggested for use in the classroom. Although all sites are educationally appropriate, some may not be appropriate for all reading levels. Identify areas of concern and make sure that all links are active.
4. Gather a variety of politically motivated television ads that illustrate propaganda techniques. By examining various advertisements, students will be able to explore propaganda techniques that are most often employed. For example, the Harry and Louise Ads from the 1990s used to stop the Clinton Administration in developing a national health care plan.
It also may prove beneficial to gather and have students view controversial advertisements, such as for fast food, alcohol, or cigarettes. The film, Super Size Me, discusses the techniques fast good companies develop which are aimed at young people and provides students the opportunity to explore how advertisers use propaganda to persuade and sell their product to an audience.
5. Preview a copy of the Bill of Rights –– http://www.congresslink.org/print_basics_histmats_constitution_billrights.htm –– and scroll down to read the First Amendment.
6. Congress has been discussing bringing back the Fairness Doctrine. (enrichment)
7. Identify role of McCain Feingold along with constitutional issues associated with speech in political campaigns. Students begin to connect the influence of interest groups in the political process. (enrichment)
Week 1 : Have students create a television or radio ad campaign to support their interest group. Students should use their understanding of propaganda techniques when creating their campaign.
Some items to include in the campaign would be a logo, a poster, a bumper sticker, and a t–shirt design. Students can be creative in selecting the elements for their campaign.
Select time, setting, and storyboard of what the advertisements will do.
Students should incorporate at least one example of each of the propaganda techniques they explored in class. Have students brainstorm which techniques are best suited to each particular medium they are creating.
As a summary, have students explain, in writing, what message they intend to get across to the audience and what propaganda techniques they incorporated into their ad campaign and why.
Make observations and anecdotal notes based on class discussion.
Evaluate student's written responses in each student's response journal.
Evaluate the entries in each student's response journal relating to the advertisement that they created during the lesson:
Low performance: The student states one or two of the central issues raised in the advertisement very briefly, but does not provide reflection.
At or below average: The student states one or two of the central issues raised by the advertisement and reflects briefly on each.
At or above average: The student explores the central issues raised in the advertisement thoughtfully and critically.
Exemplary performance: The student explores numerous issues raised in the advertisement thoughtfully and critically.
Develop a rubric used to assess each student's ad campaign.It is always interesting to get the students feedback on their creation.
A variety of research tools, the Internet, newspapers, magazines, and more to foster debate and to guide the development of logical thinking skills and cooperative learning.
Small digital cameras or small digital mini DV cameras.Windows MovieMaker, Adobe Premiere Pro or Adobe Creative Suite, Sony Vegas, etc.
Whitewater High School