Commercially Speaking

Commercially SpeakingProject Summary
This project originally took place between students in Oceanside, CA and students in Urbana, IL. Students were most surprised to discover that the majority of products they saw advertised were related to soap and cleaning products, followed by pet foods. The southern California students saw many more commercials for sun tan products, while the Illinois students saw pesticide commercials. Both groups of students enjoyed analyzing the data as much as they did collecting it!

Suggested Grade Level and Audience
5th to 12th

Estimated Time Required
4 to 6 weeks

Student Learning Objectives

  • To collect, compare, and contrast data
  • To discuss the impact of television commercials on the way we think and act.
  • To discover geographical similarities and differences
  • To practice entering information into a data base
  • To introduce the process of statistical data collection and analysis
  • To reinforce word processing skills
  • To communicate with a distant audience
  • To engage in electronic transfer of information

Writing Prompt

Step 1
(Students, individually, in their own homes)

  • Watch a minimum of one hour of television each day for the next five days
  • Each time a commercial comes on, record the product that is being advertised
  • Use the tally sheet provided

Step 2
(Whole class or cooperative groups)

  • Combine findings into one data base
  • Send results to partner classes from different geographic locations
  • Compare, contrast, and analyze findings

Discussion Questions

  • What products have the most advertisements? Why?
  • Which products are advertised more in different geographic locations? Why?
  • In what ways are people affected by television commercials?
  • Why are commercials shown throughout the program, rather than altogether at the end?
  • How much does whether you like a commercial or not influence your decision to purchase that product?
  • What is the percentage of commercials for nutritious foods products, compared to "junk" foods?

Tally Sheet
Date _________ Watched TV from _________
to __________

Cleaning Products (glass/furniture/carpet cleaner, etc) _________________________

Soap Products (dish/laundry/hand/shower soap, etc) _________________________

Paper Goods (tissues, toilet paper, paper towels, etc) _________________________

Containment Goods (plastic bags, plastic/aluminum wrap, etc)_______________________

Pesticides (bug spray, plant spray, etc.) _________________________

Hair Products (shampoo, conditioner, mousse, etc.) _________________________

Personal Hygiene (toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorant, etc.) _________________________

Medication (cold/arthritis/allergy/sleeplessness/headache remedies etc.)________________

Toys and Video Games _________________________

Computers (hardware, software, etc) _________________________

Baby Products (diapers, lotions, etc.) _________________________

Clothing (jeans, clothing stores, shoes, etc) _________________________

Entertainment (movies, other TV programs, special events) _________________________

Dog Food _________________________

Cat Food _________________________

Help Groups (drug, alcohol, depression, overweight, etc) _________________________

Nutritious Foods (milk, eggs, meat, vegetables, bread, etc) _________________________

Junk Foods (chips, cookies, candy bars, etc)

Breakfast Cereal _________________________

Restaurants and Fast Food Places _________________________

Services (cable, phone, electric, mail, etc.) _________________________

Other? _________________________

 

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