Activity Introduction

Quick summary: In this lesson, students will learn new skills that will allow them to critically consider the messages conveyed in visual advertising. They will note their first impressions of a printed advertisement, then take part in a jigsaw classroom activity to build their knowledge of persuasive techniques used in advertising. Students will then apply their new understanding to their analysis the printed ad. They will use their new skills to subvert the message of a printed advertisement using words or images, then engage in a reflection activity to consider how applicable the learning in the lesson is to their everyday lives. 

Learning intentions:

  • Students understand how printed advertisements use visual language to persuade.

21st century skills: 

CommunicatingCritical Thinking





Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 9 English

  • Interpret, analyse and evaluate how different perspectives of issue, event, situation, individuals or groups are constructed to serve specific purposes in texts (ACELY1742)
  • Explore and explain the combinations of language and visual choices that authors make to present information, opinions and perspectives in different texts (ACELY1745)
  • Create imaginative, informative and persuasive texts that present a point of view and advance or illustrate arguments, including texts that integrate visual, print and/or audio features (ACELY1746)

Year 10 English

  • Identify and analyse implicit or explicit values, beliefs and assumptions in texts and how these are influenced by purposes and likely audiences (ACELY1752)
  • Use comprehension strategies to compare and contrast information within and between texts, identifying and analysing embedded perspectives, and evaluating supporting evidence (ACELY1754)
  • Create sustained texts, including texts that combine specific digital or media content, for imaginative, informative, or persuasive purposes that reflect upon challenging and complex issues (ACELY1756)

Syllabus outcomes: EN5-1A, EN5-2A, EN5-8D. 

General capabilities: Literacy, Critical and Creative Thinking.

Relevant parts of Year 9 achievement standards:

Year 9 English: Students analyse the ways that text Commstructures can be manipulated for effect. They analyse and explain how images, vocabulary choices and language features distinguish the work of individual authors. They evaluate and integrate ideas and information from texts to form their own interpretations. In creating texts, students demonstrate how manipulating language features and images can create innovative texts.

Relevant parts of Year 10 achievement standards:

Year 10 English: Students evaluate how text structures can be used in innovative ways by different authors. They explain how the choice of language features, images and vocabulary contributes to the development of individual style. Students create a wide range of texts to articulate complex ideas.

Topic: Consumption. 

This lesson is part of the wider unit of work SugarByHalf – English – Years 9-10.

Time required: 90 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – facilitate student movement around the classroom and guide class discussions.

Resources required:

Keywords: Critical literacy, metalanguage, visual text, visual meaning, language analysis, advertising, SugarByHalf, marketing, graffiti. 

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

Teacher Preparation

Learning intentions: Students understand... 

  • ... how printed advertisements use visual language to persuade.

Success criteria: Students can…

  • ... describe how visual language is used to create a message in a printed advertisement
  • ... edit the elements of a visual advertisement to subvert the marketing messages of the product being advertised.

Teacher content information: SugarByHalf ( promotes action to reduce sugar-related diseases so that Australians live better, stronger and healthier lives.

Their message is simple: to reduce added sugar consumption by half. Eating too much added sugar is a key driver of serious health problems including obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, tooth decay, dementia and mental health conditions. A poor diet also puts children behind their peers, affecting brain development, sleep and ability to learn. Poor diet choices ultimately mean that this generation of children could be the

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: What's the purpose of advertising? 

1. After viewing the printed advertisement, note down your responses to the following:

What can you SEE in the advertisement?


How does the advertisement make you FEEL?


What does the advertisement make you want to DO?


2. Learn more about techniques used in advertising by reading through the information provided to you by your teacher and responding to the prompts below:

What is the purpose of the technique?

How does the technique change the meaning of the text (ad)?

3. Listen to your group members share what they learned about advertising techniques with you. Use this space to take any extra notes:

4. Choose a visual advertisement (for a food or drink product) from the magazines supplied by your teacher, or use a web-enabled device to conduct an online search to find and print a specific ad.

5. Analyse the ad using the prompts below to guide you:

  • What can you SEE in the advertisement?
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