This unit focuses on the role of rhetoric and visual images play in creating meaning across various media. While most students recognize that media is a tool used for disseminating information, they tend not to examine how visual and verbal language are manipulated to produce a specific message that may also reflect a particular bias. The selection of broadcast news sources draw students toward a better understanding of the methods that writers and media producers have used to address social and political concerns in our lives. Increasingly, the media has broadened the process of simply gathering information and publishing it, to include forums for discussion as well. This allows for greater inclusion and debate, but can be overwhelming for students who do not have the critical skills yet to mediate all the information and opinions.

After exploring the coverage of an event involving a popular sports celebrity, students will explore different televised news programs to critically analyze the language and images they use. Students have the opportunity to reflect on media intentions and motives, and to interpret visual messaging and tone in art and graphic design addressing the historical “Scottsboro Boys Trial” from the 1930s.

General Understandings
  1. Media is designed to inform, disseminate and publish information and entertainment, and provide a forum for discussion.
  2. Media takes place in various forms of mass communication (broadcast media/print media/Internet) and interactive media.
  3. Media is a tool for informing or misinforming the public depending on the agendas of governing bodies, individuals, and commerce.
Learning Objectives: 21st Century Skills

The 21st Century Skills framework is a complex system that incorporates content knowledge, specific skills, expertise, and literacies to create a cohesive system of student outcomes and support systems. The Teen Thoughts on Democracy program utilizes the Partnership for 21st Century Skills framework to further the skills cultivated through this progressive game-based curriculum such as critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration, and creativity and innovation.


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