Are We Brainwashed? The Secrets of Advertising

This lesson plan allows students to analyze the science of advertising. We do not give much thought to advertisements we see daily on television, newspapers, the Internet, or public transportation. However, advertising companies often try to be interesting, shocking and sometimes provocative in order to garner attention from the public. Controversy in advertising is not a new trend, and if the controversy is deliberate, then the intention is to be scandalous and get a point across in a direct method.

This activity provides different types of controversial advertisements for students to analyze. Students will have an opportunity to examine the role it plays in society as well as recognize the underlying message in advertisements.

Common Core Standards in this lesson include:
W.9-10.1. Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
W.9-10.2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content
W.9-10.4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

History vs Hollywood: Analyzing Lincoln

In this lesson, students will review two short representations of the life of Abraham Lincoln — one in the recent Hollywood films, the other in a documentary — and will analyze, discuss, and think further about how history and historical figures are re-constructed through fiction, as well as the boundaries between fact and fiction in such portrayals.

Women in Politics

The objective of this lesson is to examine the growing role of women in politics.

The role of women in our society is growing each year, especially with music powerhouses like Beyonce and Madonna and breakthrough female film directors like Kathryn Bigelow leading the way. These strong females are really setting a benchmark for women all across the country.

Just like women in media, women in politics are breaking down that “glass ceiling.” 2013 marks a milestone in women’s political history, 19 female Senators have taken office. Though women are not a majority, their rise in political power reflects the changing times in our country. The U.S. population is 51 percent female. In Congress, however, 90 percent of the lawmakers are male, 89 percent in the House of Representatives and 80 percent in the Senate.

American History through Hip Hop Lyrics

In this lesson, students pick a frequently represented city in hip hop and use lyrics as inspiration to explore the urban history of the city. They will work in groups and present their findings in an oral presentation.

The Culture of Legend of Zelda

Using the popular gaming series Legend of Zelda, students research the fictional societies that are present in the games and draw conclusions about the societies through cultural analysis.

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Dystopia in Pop Culture: Fiction or the Future?

The most frightening fictional dystopias are recognizable extensions of our current world. 

Dystopias have become a staple of popular entertainment, and despite predictions to the contrary, they show no sign of tapering off. Yet most of us have only the vaguest sense of what a dystopia is.

For starters, a dystopia is the opposite of a utopia. A utopia is a pretty old concept; Thomas More created the term in 1516 to describe a perfect society. “Dystopia” is a more recent term, dating to the 19th century: it comes from the Greek ”dys” meaning “bad” and “topia” meaning “place”. While a utopia is an ideal civilization, where everyone has their needs met, a dystopia is a society that is essentially harmful. The central arc of dystopic fiction almost always puts the hero in conflict with the government or the group of people in charge.

The most frightening fictional dystopias are recognizable extensions of our current world. These worlds answer “What If” questions about the future with the most pessimistic of responses.
What if the earth runs out of oil?

What if we stop having as many children?

What if the government used reality TV as a form of propoganda?

What if there was no law and order?

What if we lived in a military run state?

Dystopian fiction imagines the worst-case scenarios for our future. However paranoid these imaginings may seem, they also expose important truths about our current reality.

Taiwan soldier_194yrbgmd88hyjpg

Dystopia in Pop Culture: Fiction or the Future?

The most frightening fictional dystopias are recognizable extensions of our current world. 

Dystopias have become a staple of popular entertainment, and despite predictions to the contrary, they show no sign of tapering off. Yet most of us have only the vaguest sense of what a dystopia is.

For starters, a dystopia is the opposite of a utopia. A utopia is a pretty old concept; Thomas More created the term in 1516 to describe a perfect society. “Dystopia” is a more recent term, dating to the 19th century: it comes from the Greek ”dys” meaning “bad” and “topia” meaning “place”. While a utopia is an ideal civilization, where everyone has their needs met, a dystopia is a society that is essentially harmful. The central arc of dystopic fiction almost always puts the hero in conflict with the government or the group of people in charge.

The most frightening fictional dystopias are recognizable extensions of our current world. These worlds answer “What If” questions about the future with the most pessimistic of responses.
What if the earth runs out of oil?

What if we stop having as many children?

What if the government used reality TV as a form of propoganda?

What if there was no law and order?

What if we lived in a military run state?

Dystopian fiction imagines the worst-case scenarios for our future. However paranoid these imaginings may seem, they also expose important truths about our current reality.