Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Getting Started on a New Unit of Inquiry

How do people create effective advertisements?  Should we believe everything we read in the media? Who are different messages targeted at?

These are some of the questions the Grade 5 students will be inquiring into over the next five weeks as they explore their new central idea - People can create or manipulate messages to target specific audiences. This unit is a great opportunity to show how PYP units of inquiry can be truly transdisciplinary.  Students will explore the concepts in their Language lessons when they work on persuasive texts and visual literacy.  In their Art lessons they will inquire into how the principles of design are used effectively in advertising.  Music lessons will give the students the opportunity to respond to and create compositions for their own advertisements.  In their homerooms they will be finding out about how audiences are targeted for different reasons and will critically evaluate messages presented in the media. Click on the image below to enlarge the SOLO Taxonomy, which shows the evidence of learning we will look out for throughout the unit.

The unit started with a Logo Quiz.  Students were placed into teams and they had to recognise a variety of logos and characters.  There were shouts of 'easy!' for some logos and some confused responses of, 'huh?' for others.  I wonder why some of the logos were more recognisable to students than others? This led to a discussion on target audiences - would our Grans recognise the Hello Kitty logo as quickly as we did? Would more adults recognise the Mr. Clean logo than children?  Would people in other countries recognise some of the Japanese companies?

Take a look at the quiz and see  how many logos you recognise.  Will you recognise the same logos as your daughter?

After the quiz, students were given the opportunity to respond to different printed advertisements using a Chalk Talk.  They were looking out for any techniques they thought were being used and trying to identify the target audience of each ad. You can see the student responses to the advertisements in the slideshow, below. Pre-assessment tasks such as this are important as they allow students to revisit their initial ideas later in the unit and reflect on how their thinking has changed.  They also help to get students thinking about the central idea and start to formulate their own questions.

What are some of your favourite advertisements?  What techniques or tricks do you think advertisers use to target an audience?  Leave a comment to let us know your thoughts!

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