Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Media Violence - The Good, the Bad and the Future

Judith Bachay


This lesson asks students to define, identify, measure and assess the level and impact of violence in media. The media forms that they will evaluate include music, sitcoms, news and other programs that may be identified by the students.


The student knows how messages from media and other sources influence health behavior.


-Newsprint and markers
-Computers with Internet access
-Televised programs (can be taped or students can view 'live' with parent permission)
-Popular culture music (students may listen with parent permission)
-Poster board for presentation


1. Provide a literature review about recent research on the depth and breadth of media violence and the impact on children.
2. Become familiar with websites and be prepared to help students.
3. Be prepared to provide instruction in spread sheet construction.


1. Inform students that by the age of 18, the average American television viewer will have viewed about 200,000 acts of violence on television alone (American Academy of Pediatrics.)

2. Lead a discussion on the concept of violence.

3. Ask students to define violence and non- violence. Discuss: What does it look like in our homes, neighborhoods, schools and community? Where do we get our messages about violence?

4. Brainstorm and list.

5. Group students into research teams of 3 to 5 students and instruct them to develop criteria for their media of study (see instructions in the associated file distribute. Invite them to define and decide on specific observable data that they consider to be violent behavior and make up checklists that all members of the team can use to collect their data. How do we recognize violence in our lives?
A. Ask students what violence looks like? ( e.g. people using weapons to hurt, people harmed physically)
B. What does violence sound like? (e.g. anger that is out of control, words that are hurtful)
C. What does violence feel like? ( violence hurts, makes people feel disempowered)
D. What specific messages about violence can you measure? (televised news shows -violent images, words? radio programs- are there violent lyrics or jokes that use cruel humor?, magazines- are there stereotypes about gender, age or ethnic groups? )

6 The team will present a report to the class with their conclusions based on the evidence of their data collection and they will make predictions regarding the possible effects of violence on themselves, their siblings and on society.


Students will report their individual research on checklists. Performance levels depend upon the length of time the teacher decides for actual data collection (e.g.watching television shows, listening to the radio) Students will provide a team report that they present to the class using a visual demonstration (e,g, pasterboard, spreadsheet, graphs). This report includes their predictions about the effects of violence on themselves, their siblings and their community. Students will create a report that includes the assessment critiria in the associated file.


Student teams can present their reports to other classes and survey their peers about how to create a more peaceful world.

Based on their research, students can develop specific recommendations to those in the media. They can write letters and e-mail these recommendations.

Present a media campaign for peace and non-violence in their class, school, community

Web Links

Web supplement for Media Violence-The Good, the Bad and the Future
Things You Should Know Aboout Media Violence

Attached Files

This file provides a chart and assessment criteria.     File Extension: pdf

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