Reaching Your Audience
Author: Catharine Niuzzo Honaman

Time: 1 class
Preparation Time: 1 hour to read the lesson and to watch the animation on
Materials: A computer to show/view the website http://www.agr.gc.ca/pfra/flash/robocow/en/robocow_e.htm

How does an organization or governmental body get a message out to a large group of people? After viewing a public service message students will come up with a list of questions and criteria that will help them tailor a message to a specific population. This is an Engage Lesson. The students will see how a message is disseminated to a large audience and what makes that audience care to listen to it.

Students will be able to:
1. Analyze a public service message to determine if it communicates ideas effectively;
2. Determine the intended audience of a public service message.

National English Education Standards
Standard #6
Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions, media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and non-print texts.

Arizona State Standards
VP-P1. Analyze and evaluate visual media for language, subject matter and visual techniques used to influence attitudes, decision making and cultural perceptions.

Teacher Background
It would be helpful for teachers to read the associated social studies engage lesson for this learning cycle to see how campaigns to change human behavior to combat disease were carried out in times past.

Related and Resource Websites



1. Begin class by watching the animation from the Canadian Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration entitled Robocow: http://www.agr.gc.ca/pfra/flash/robocow/en/robocow_e.htm
This will take approximately five to eight minutes depending on how fast your network connection is.

2. Ask the students to then write down some observations about Robocow.

What was the message of Robocow?
What did you learn from it?
Who do you think was the target audience? Back up your answer with evidence/examples.
Are you part of the target audience? Why or why not?
Did you like watching Robocow?
Was it amusing?

3. After the students have had time to write down their answers to the above questions have a class discussion in which they share their responses.

4. Ask the students if they would have enjoyed watching Robocow had it not been slightly amusing. Ask them if making a public service announcement funny detracts from the importance of the message or makes it more noticeable.

Ask students to think about the public service campaigns that are being used now in their community. Make a list of those that they have seen on television, heard on the radio, seen posters for, or heard speakers deliver information in conjunction with these campaigns.

Embedded Assessment
Students’ written responses to the questions about Robocow allow for assessment of their ability to identify and analyze in written form the factors important in communicating a message.


PULSE is a project of the Community Outreach and Education Program of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center and is funded by:

NIH/NCRR award #16260-01A1
The Community Outreach and Education Program is part of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center: an NIEHS Award


Supported by NIEHS grant # ES06694

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Last update: November 10, 2009
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