How Do We Convince Others of Our Beliefs?

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SWBAT...research facts and create a poster that persuades their audience of their side on the gum chewing issue

Big Idea

Good writers can influence their audiences even if they don't agree with the issue. Advertisements give writers the visual edge to influence the masses!

Creating the Purpose

15 minutes

This is the fun part of the lesson where students get to apply what they learned for the purpose of getting to chew gum in class....yes I use a bit of bribery here because the subsequent lesson was so difficult for them. My purpose is to excite them to complete the project to the best of their abilities - and amazingly gum does the trick!

I first show them some examples of advertisements both good and poor and have them evaluate what they liked and disliked about each and why. This group discussion really gets them thinking about what effective strategies should be used in their own works.

I introduce the objective that they are going to get the opportunity to persuade their audience to either agree or disagree with the gum chewing during testing issue. The catch is that they will pull random slips of paper that will issue each their side of the issue. They will then work in small groups to research and create a poster to support their side of the issue. 

Group Work Time

45 minutes

I have each pull a slip of paper and have the "pros" and "cons" go to each side of the room. I had my students move into groups of three.  They self selected but you could also pull sticks to make it more random. I shared that in high school and college they would be required to work in random groups to support issues with facts and opinions.

Their objective for this project will be to use at least 2-3 facts, 2-3 opinions and some catchy designs and slogans to persuade our principal and the other staff (their intended audience) of their side of the issue (even if they didn't agree with it). To get the "cons" more motivated I shared that if she was convinced and impressed by the arguments made on both sides they would get a gum-chewing day to test out the theory.  

Groups quickly banded together and the "cons" received red poster paper and research links for anti-gum chewing articles/ and the "pros" received green paper and other research links in support of the issue. They could use these or research their own on our classroom computers. You could also print out the articles pros and cons and have them read and highlight them if you are limited on computer access.

I set a timer for 55 minutes and projected it on the board so teams could keep track of time and work completion. It went so smoothly it was amazing I think because of their higher investment in the issue and the gum chewing day.   

They worked well and all were able to complete their work within the time limit. Those who finished early helped others begin to clean up. So much creativity going on! 

Here's a video clip of what they produced:

Closing Questioning

10 minutes

I closed by having each group present a quick review of their poster and the direction they had taken with their persuasive advertisement.

We then closed by asking students Why companies advertise products and services? What benefits do they get? Is there a risk? If so what could some of the risks be? and finally what risks are we taking with our advertisement? Why do we share both sides of an issue?

This last question was more difficult for them to answer but I wanted them to think about ethics along with the importance of planning for the counter arguments. They seemed to understand but I think they now had the fear that the gum chewing cons did too well of a job and they might not get to have gum at school for testing. Little did they know that we had already decided that chewing gum would be a good benefit - but having student buy-in to an issue is such a great way to build motivation that I couldn't let it out yet. 

To end on a happier note I shared that gum had another benefit that they probably had not thought of in their advertisements - art! I showed them some unusual creations all made from used gum.