Adversmarts: Understanding Food Advertising Online Lesson Plan

Level: Grades 2 to 3

About the Author: This lesson was written for MediaSmarts by Ethan Anderson

Duration: 1-2 hours

This lesson is part of USE, UNDERSTAND & ENGAGE: A Digital Media Literacy Framework for Canadian Schools.


In this lesson, students are introduced to the idea of online advertising and look at the ways that marketers create immersive and appealing online environments that draw and hold children’s attention. After studying common advertising techniques, students play an educational game online that lets them put their learning into action by “creating” a site advertising a fictitious cereal, Co-Co Crunch. Students then look at examples of real commercial environments and watch for “weasel words” used by advertisers. 

Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • begin to develop an understanding of the commercial objectives of immersive online environments, specifically those characteristic of websites for food products
  • identify the purpose and the intended audience of these types of websites and describe how audiences might respond
  • recognize and identify the advertising and marketing elements and characteristics associated with commercial websites
  • identify overt and implied messages of websites that market to children their age
  • identify the characteristics and techniques used in the creation of online immersive environments
  • utilize their information to simulate the creation of a media text
  • begin to develop an awareness of the strategies marketers use to engage children online
  • begin to develop an understanding of the commercial nature of the Internet

Home and School Connection

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