In this project, students become media savvy. Middle school students analyze marketing techniques used by advertisers. They consider how commercials contain social values and stereotypes. Then they team up to make commercials using basic video equipment and Blender. They use the persuasive and production techniques of the professionals, giving careful consideration to the purpose, target audience, and message of their video production.
- Media Literacy Lesson Plans
Develop critical thinking for a generation of students who live in a world of nonstop media messages and information. By first analyzing commercials and then creating their own ads, students build awareness of techniques used by advertisers.
- Real World Content
Project-based learning challenges students to devise solutions to authentic problems. Students are engaged when they tackle a task that is meaningful to them. By creating their own commercials in this project, students not only master technology skills, but also build critical life skills such as problem solving, creative thinking, effective communication, and more.
- Collaboration and Team Work
Although each student creates their own unique commercial, they must first work together in production teams to storyboard, plan, and film video footage. Together, they consider target audience, selling techniques, and convincing messages. They team up to decide on the action, characters, props, and camera position. After filming the raw shots as a group, each student uses Blender to produce their own final product.
- Resources Designed for Middle School Grades
Included in the project are a Teacher Guide and Student Workbook, which comes in both printable and paperless worksheets. Assessment Tools include a Summary of Skills Checklist, Storyboard Planning Sheet, and Evaluation Rubrics. Review questions and enrichment challenges are additional optional activities.
- Free, Open-Source Software
Use Blender, an online computer graphics software tool to teach video production techniques. No need to purchase expensive software!
Session 1: A Look at Commercials
Identify target audience, selling techniques, messages, and stereotypes.
Session 2: A Look at Blender
Edit a commercial: add video effects, transitions, and music.
Session 3: A Look at the Camera
Study impact of camera angles. Record a video practicing camera technique.
Session 4: Film the Commercial
Storyboard each commercial shot before filming.
Session 5: Edit the Commercial
Edit videos: remove frames, add effects, transitions, voice-over, text, and music.
Session 6: Air the Commercial
Go Live! Prepare and share commercials for viewing.
Optional Media Literacy Lesson Plans
- Analyze the Commercial: Practice critiquing ads.
- Slogans and Catchphrases: Create slogans.
- Blender: Complete a review quiz.
- Word It Well to Sell It Fast: Explore sales tactics.
- The Speed of Shots: Find out what you remember.
- Music and Narration: Include both soundtracks.
Produce a Commercial using Blender
Integrate technology into a drama or language arts unit with media literacy lesson plans. Use Blender to promote media literacy with middle school students.
Analyze persuasion and production techniques
Define use of camera angles, movements, and shots
Work cooperatively in a production team
Plan and organize ideas using a storyboard
Adjust camera settings to capture video
Isolate a frame and split a clip into two parts
Delete frames, add transitions, and apply effects
Add and format text overlay
Record a voice-over or import background music
Produce a commercial directed to a target audience