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Getting to know the candidates: Analyzing their campaign ads
Learn about the candidates' positions by analyzing their campaign ads.
campaign, advertisements, ads, medial literacy, president, election
Materials needed [shop materials]
The following sites offer video of campaign ads launched during this year's presidential primaries or lessons on how to analyze campaign ads .
This lesson requires Internet access. In the lesson, students review the candidates' campaign ads to learn what each candidate's main issues/themes seem to be.
This activity makes a good cooperative group activity; it can be completed in pairs or in small groups. It also could be completed by individual students.
Assign a candidate to each student/group or have students draw the name of a candidate from a hat. That will be the candidate whose campaign ads the students will review. The ads are available online. (See Materials Needed section above for links to campaign ads. Students will find additional resources on the site of the presidential candidate they are covering.) Decide in advance what you want students to analyze as they review the ads. Have them set up a chart with columns to fill in as they review the ads. Below are a few column headings they might use. If you are working on some special election or media literacy emphasis, you might want to include that among the ad elements/questions you ask students to consider as they review the ads.
Possible column headings
When students have finished reviewing the ads of their assigned candidate, ask them to select the two ads they think best make the candidate appear presidential. Students then write a paragraph for each of the two ads; in the paragraph, they explain why they selected those ads. Use students' presentations as the starting point for a discussion about the candidates and the issues.
AssessmentStudents select two ads they think best convey the positions of their assigned candidate. They write a paragraph for each ad, explaining why they selected it.
Lesson plan source
Find more activities for teaching about the presidential primaries in Education World's Primaries, voting, elections archive.
You might find additional activities of value on our Presidents Day resources page.
Click here to return to this week's Lesson Planning article, Electing a President: Lessons for Teaching About the Presidential Primaries.