Convince Me!

Social Studies Activity

BACKGROUND

Your students may be aware of the techniques used by advertisers to sell products and services. They may be less conscious of the purposes and intents of advertisements that try to shape their opinions and affect their behavior. In this activity, they look for and analyze examples of those ads.

WHAT YOU NEED

WHAT TO DO

  1. Discuss with students what they already know about advertising techniques for selling products and services. Then ask them to think of ads that try to sell a particular point of view in order to shape public opinion and affect readers' behavior. Examples might include the following:

  2. Have students look through magazines and newspapers for examples of opinion-shaping ads and cut them out.

  3. Divide the class into groups and distribute the ads among them. Explain that you would like each group to take several ads and analyze them, using the Analysis Chart. Have them staple the ad to its analysis chart.

  4. Bring students together as a class to discuss their findings. In summation, point out that while some ads take a stand that most readers can agree with (such as fire safety), it is important to consider the source of each ad, its purpose, and what other points of view might be worth discussing before making a decision.

TEACHING OPTIONS

There may currently be an issue of importance to your community on which there is a difference of opinion. An example might be the imposition of a curfew on youths under 16 years of age. Ask students to consider the positions of different groups, such as youths, adults, local business people, and police. Then have groups of students representing each point of view create an ad that is designed to shape public opinion and/or affect its behavior. As a class, compare the ads, using the questions in the Analysis Chart.


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