Educator Resources

Propaganda Exercise

  1. Anticipatory Set: Pretest—Have each student write down his/her definition of propaganda and give an example during the bell ringer. Ask students to compare the definitions they wrote down, along with examples, with other students. Ask students to "share out" the results of their discussion.
  2. Objectives and purpose: The student will be able to write about propaganda as it relates to their lives and the literature assigned and explain why propaganda is negative. Students will also break into groups and create their own propaganda for a fictional product using posters and markers.
  3. Modeling: Give students the following definition — Propaganda: 1) Information or ideas methodically spread to promote or injure a cause, movement, nation, etc.; 2) the particular doctrines or principles propagated by an organization or movement.

    Watch video of Paul Parks speaking about the United States Army and propaganda films (begins approximately 1:00 and ends approximately 1:05)

    If you are fortunate enough to have "Echoes and Reflections A Multimedia Curriculum on the Holocaust," you can also view Lesson 2: Anti-Semitism, Part 2 about propaganda against Jewish people. If not, Henry Sinason's entire testimony can be viewed on YouTube.

    Then, explain how propaganda is used each day on television and print media. Examples: Advertisements for make-up using well-known actresses, perfume, and clothing. Ask students to then list examples of print and media propaganda they have seen. You may also show television commercials to help students better understand how propaganda is used. (I particularly like the Axe body spray commercials and the Mac vs. PC commercials).
  4. Checking for Understanding: Break students into groups of two and have them write understatements that they use on a regular basis, along with the situation in which the understatement was used. Then, allow students to share out.
  5. Practice:While in groups, give each group a poster board or bulletin board paper and ask them to create a product and design a "billboard" that will be placed in the room. Each class votes on which product they are most interested in. I do this before I begin teaching 1984, and it seems to help the students realize the motives of Big Brother and why people are complacent.