Create a Commercial

Author: Jill Torrey Emmons

Time: 1 period
15 minutes
Materials: Reserve video camera, 1 blank VHS tape, butcher paper and markers for each team.


In this lesson, students will utilize what they have learned about persuasive techniques to create commercials to promote an environmentally friendly product or issue. This lesson invites students to use a variety of skills, including writing, acting, directing, and applying what they know about persuasion. It also capitalizes on the students’ love of creative, active project creation. The goal of this lesson is to give students a chance to apply what they have learned about the persuasive appeals in a slightly new context.

Students will be able to:

1. Apply their knowledge of the persuasive appeals by creating a commercial which uses one or more of the three appeals (logos, pathos, and ethos) in order to persuade.
2. Differentiate among the three appeals as used in their peer’s work.

National English Education Standard
Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences for different purposes.

Teacher Background
The teacher should be familiar with the 3 persuasive appeals and how they are used in writing and in the media.

Related and Resource Websites

See web sites for previous lesson.


1. Before students come into the classroom, write the following options on the board:

  • Prevent soil contamination (dispose properly of chemicals, paints, batteries)
  • Reduce paper waste in our landfills (stop junk mailings)
  • Save energy (turn off the lights when you aren’t using them)
  • Support renewable energy sources (promote wind/hydro-electric power plants) that are clean.
  • Reduce fossil fuel usage (buy hybrid cars, non-gasoline powered cars) and reduce particulate matter in the air.
  • Reduce air pollution (ride share or use public transportation) and particulate matter in the air.
  • Prevent child lead poisoning, carefully maintain painted surfaces.
  • Change water filters regularly. If you use a filtered water system, filters must be changed regularly to be effective.
  • Support environmentally friendly products (buy biodegradable cleaning supplies)

These products and practices listed above deal with various environmental health issues. You may want to write only the first part of each option and exclude the segment in parenthesis; thereby encouraging students to come up with their own ideas on how to put into practice each principle. However, this may prove difficult for some students.

2. Inform students that today they are going to use their knowledge of the 3 appeals in order to create a commercial promoting an environmentally friendly product or practice. Put students into groups of 4 and assign or allow them to choose one topic from those you have written on the board. Explain to them that the goal of the project is to create a commercial that clearly uses one or more of the 3 appeals, that is persuasive and professional. However, allow students to be creative and dynamic with their commercials. Each group of four should have one member in each of the following roles:

  • spokesperson (will narrate the commercial),
  • script writer (will write the spoken text in the commercial)
  • actor (will act in the commercial)
  • graphic designer (will create a poster or visual background for the commercial)

3. Give students about 25 minutes to create and practice their commercials.

4. In the last 15-20 minutes of class, allow the groups to present their commercials to their classmates while you film them. You may want to limit the time allowed for each commercial to approximately one minute. After each presentation, invite the class to critique their peers’ work and identify which of the 3 appeals were used in the commercial, pointing out specific evidence to support their conclusions.

Ask the class about the importance of the environmental health issues raised and if they already practice any of the suggestions made in the commercials.

None for today.

Embedded Assessment

Student commercials can be evaluated and judged with a variety of parameters, but most importantly ensure that the students can identify and use the 3 appeals in their final product.

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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