Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Better to Tell the Truth

Vicky Nichols
Bay District Schools


The purpose of this lesson is to teach students to distinguish between emotional and logical arguments in advertising.


The student distinguishes between emotional and logical argument.


-Big screen tv connected to the computer
-Computer with Internet access
-Video of teacher taped commercials that show different types of advertising.
-Colored construction paper
-Poster board
-Group Assessment Instrument (see attached file)
-New Product and Ad Rating Scale (see attached file)


1. Tape commericials that you would like to use.
2. Have all materials at hand.


This is a 4 day lesson plan for periods of 50-55 minutes.


1. View the website listed in the weblinks sections and the teacher made video of commercials.
2. Direct a discussion of the video and soliciting examples of ads that are logical or emotional. Include discussion of testimonials, bandwagon approaches, cliches, distorted or insufficient infomation, sex appeal, high pressure, etc. List these on the board, with an example of each. Instruct students to copy to use in the next activities.

1. Divide students in groups of 3 and instruct them to find ads in newspapers and magazines illustrating the various types of emotional and logical arguments in advertising discussed on day one. (Students may use their notes.) Review these types. Before students begin, share the Group Assessment Instrument. (see associated file)

2 Instruct students to use the ads to create a poster with labeling and lettering to display their ads. Ads must be labeled as to what type of appeal they make.

3. Remind students to work quietly and that you'll ring a bell, flick the lights or whatever, 5 minutes prior to time to leave, so as to give time for clean-up.


1. Ask student groups to share their ad posters. Give them a time limit of just 2 minutes and then hang the posters around the room for students to look at if they have time or need inspiration.

2. Direct student groups to brainstorm and create a -new product- with a visual/audio ad that they think will sell the product. Allow time for discussion and planning. Have students to write a paragraph describing the product and to create an ad that they think will sell the product. Remind students that they can employ one of the types of techniques discussed in class. Give students a time limit for the product creation and then the ad creation. (For example: 10 minutes to create the product and jot down a description; 10 minutes to create the ad. That way, all members of the group should have a task to perform in order to finish.)


1. Ask student groups to share their -new product- and the ad they created for it. Allow other student groups to judge each other's -new product- and ads based on the -New Product Rating Scale- for advertisement purposes. (see associated file)

2. Allow student groups to assess themselves according to the group assessment instrument. (see associated file)

3. Conclude by asking student groups to write a one sentence summary of what they now know about advertisements based on their discussions and activities in this lesson. Have students share their sentences. Students should recognize that they have to look beyond the type of advertisement in order to make a wise decision about purchasing a product.

Optional: Award a prize for the best ad.


See the Group Assessment Instrument and the -New Product- and Ad Rating Scale. Both can be found in associated files. Use these to assess the students' posters and their new products and ads. Since this assessment is done in a group, only formative feedback should be given.
Formatively assess individual students on their one sentence summaries of what they have learned. Sentences should reflect that people have to look beyond the type of advertisement in order to make a wise decision about purchasing a product.

Web Links

Web supplement for Better to Tell the Truth
Surgeon General's Ad Buster

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