In this lesson, students will consider how language is used in advertising to frame products in a positive light.
The lesson begins with a brief introduction to the concepts of synonyms and connotations, illustrating how deliberate language choice helps advertisers refine and craft their meaning. Through a class discussion, students will develop an understanding of ‘weasel words’, which are words that companies can use to create a specific impression of their products. Working in pairs, students will find a print advertisement that uses weasel words, and, with the help of a set of prompts, perform an analysis of how those weasel words influence our interpretations. The lesson concludes with the opportunity for students to reflect on their changed understanding of weasel words.
We’ve taken elements of this lesson and adapted them for remote learning. You can find this activity here.
- Students understand how word choices can create meaning in an advertisement.
- Topic: Consumption.
- This lesson is part of the wider unit of work SugarByHalf – English – Years 9-10.
- Time required: 60 mins.
- Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – guide class discussions.
- Keywords: SugarByHalf, weasel words, advertising, persuasion, persuasive writing, synonyms, sugar, marketing.
To view our Australian Curriculum alignment click here.
To view our NZ Curriculum alignment click here.
- Student Worksheets – one copy per student
- Article: ‘Healthwashing – 6 weasel words food companies use to fool you’ – printed, one copy per student
- Device capable of presenting a webpage to the class
- Class set of magazines – ideally magazines targeted to a female audience issued on a weekly basis, or even those that feature advertising of food products (optional).
Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian and New Zealand Curriculums.