Watching the Elections - Lesson Lesson Plan

Level: Grades 8 to 12

Author: Matthew Johnson, Director of Education, MediaSmarts


In this lesson students look at how elections are media events. They compare American and Canadian elections to other mass media events and then watch one or both debates with an eye to analyzing them as media constructs. Students will then study advertising techniques frequently used in political ads, then watch American and Canadian campaign ads from past years. They will then analyze the use of advertising techniques in these ads and compare the ads in a variety of ways, looking at how older ads differ from newer, Canadian from American, and categorizing ads by their approach. As a summative activity students will create a political ad that draws on the approaches and techniques they have studied.

Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • Learn advertising techniques used in political advertising
  • Analyze elections, debates and campaign ads as media products
  • Compare and categorize political campaign ads
  • Design a political campaign ad

This lesson and all associated documents (handouts, overheads, backgrounders) is available in an easy-print, pdf kit version.

Lesson Kit