I recently took Sprite through a three week course about advertising. This fits into language arts under media literacy and touches on propaganda, persuasion, and rhetoric. Regardless of where it would fit into a standard scope and sequence, being able to evaluate advertising is a life skill that everyone needs to master.
I was pleased to see Sprite catch on to the various methods of persuasion and even call them out when we were watching a movie preview during family movie night. Being able to name the tactic used by the advertiser gives her power to objectively evaluate the claims and make good choices as a consumer. (It is also a practical stepping stone to studying logical fallacies.)
She did a combination of lapbooking/notebooking for this study, but everything was bound with the Pro-click binding system. (Thanks, Barb!) Here are some photos from the notebook.
A lot of what we did was to read about advertising methods and the look for them in actual magazine, newspaper, and television ads. Yes! As a part of this study, I asked Sprite to watch television and make notes about the appeals used in commercials. She was so funny to listen to as she complained about all the pharmaceuticals and cheesy persuasive appeals. I am glad that she can watch television with a critical eye and ear. (We do not watch a lot of television. Thankfully it is not our habit, and we don’t have cable to entice us.)
Free Online Resources About Advertising
- Stay Free Magazine great resources aimed toward high schoolers. Scroll to the near bottom where there are advertising resources. The PDFgives actual ads for three products over the years so students can trace the evolution of advertising appeals. Fascinating!
- Practical Money Skills has an excellent lesson on The Influence of Advertising (aimed at grades 7-12).
- Propaganda gives explanations of the main advertising appeals
- Houghton Mifflin activity pages include a chart with the primary persuasive techniques in advertising.
Have you ever done a study of advertising in your homeschool? How did it turn out?