Media Literacy Lesson Plan: Recognizing
a Message's Point of View
Student Resource: "What
Exercise Can Do for You," by Sheila Globus [Jamestown]
Media Type: Article
After completing this lesson, students will be able to:
Introducing the Lesson
- Describe physical, mental, and social health benefits
of regular exercise.
- Identify ways in which they can make physical activity
a regular part of their life.
- Apply the media literacy skill of recognizing a message's
point of view to an article advocating the benefits of exercise
Tell students you are going to conduct an informal survey.
Begin by asking how many of them enjoy swimming. Take a show
of hands and write the results on the chalkboard. Do the same
with cycling, skateboarding, snowboarding, skiing, hiking,
or any other activity that is readily accessible in your community
and that you think students might enjoy doing.
Pretend to shift direction in your questioning by stating
in a sober fashion that you have one more question for students.
Then take a breath and ask pointedly, "How many of you
like to exercise?" Allow for the possibility of groans
Write the term exercise on the chalkboard alongside
the list you have created. Circle the list, and draw an arrow
pointing to this term. Explain that all of these enjoyable
sports and recreational activities are forms of physical activity
that provide the same fitness benefits of exercise. Note that
in addition to being fun, these activities provide many health
benefits. Add that students are about to read an article on
this subject that may contains some surprises.
Ask how many students have seen the following message or
some variation of it on television: "The views expressed
in this program are not necessarily those of this station."
Ask: What kind of programs usually carry warnings of this
kind? (Shows with a controversial theme or content)
Observe that this message reveals a difference in point
of view, people's reaction to a particular topic. Refer
back to the list you created on the chalkboard during the
introduction to the lesson. Explain that the differing numbers
represent different points of view with respect to the sports
and activities named.
Note that when approaching any media message, whether it
is a TV show, a written article, or some other medium, it
is important to be aware of:
- The point of view of the creator/writer/producer.
- The point of view of any and all participants and interviewees.
Explain that it is only when a message is approached in this
fashion can the consumer be sure of reaching his or her own
conclusions. Have students go to the website, or hand out
printed copies of the article.
After students have completed the reading, you may use the
following either as class discussion questions or assign them
as individual or group work. The student worksheet version
can be printed and handed out as a homework assignment.
- Awareness. In which section of the article does
the author first present her point of view on the topic?
Which statement or statements best captures her views on
exercise? In what ways does her point of view mirror that
of the teens quoted at the beginning of the article? In
what way does it differ? Explain.
- Analysis. Identify at least three physical benefits
of participating in sports and recreational activities.
In what ways do these activities provide mental benefits?
Social benefits? Back up your answers with specifics from
- Evaluation. Reread the first sentence of the section
of the article titled "Reducing Risk." Whose point
of view is the author expressing? Do you think the opinion
expressed is shared by fitness experts? Why or why not?
- Communication. Review the author's advice in the
final section of the article (headed "Fitting Exercise
In"). What specific activities does she mention in
support of the view she puts forth? What other activities
can you think of that you would enjoy doing to make physical
activity a regular part of your lifestyle? How can you share
your choices with classmates?
Evaluating the Point of View in Another
The airways (TV, radio, the Internet) and print media (magazines,
newspapers) are filled with messages on exercise and fitness.
Some of them have points of view similar to those expressed
in this article. Yet, in most of them, there are differences.
Select one of these media, and focus on a particular message
that has to do with exercise and getting in shape. Possibilities
are a TV commercial for a health club or a magazine ad for
a dietary supplement that claims to help people shape up.
Analyze the point of view, then state the message being sent.
Share your findings with those of classmates.