K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

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Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • Recognize that food supplies our bodies with nutrients by reading the nutritional labels on boxes of cereal.
  • Identify five words and/or phrases that advertisers use to entice the public to buy certain brands of cereals.
  • Create a cereal box using a website. This activity will demonstrate how the use of certain colors, slogans, and prizes influences our decisions as consumers.
  • Demonstrate how the media influences our decisions by writing a slogan or jingle.
  • Conduct a taste test of four different cereals, respond to the questions, and graph the results.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

90 minutes

Materials/resources

  • Arthur and the Cereal Crunch Contest by Marc Brown
  • notebook paper—one sheet per student
  • pencils—one per student
  • two large boxes of sugary cereals (ex. Lucky Charms)
  • two large boxes of healthy, high fiber cereals (ex. Raisin Bran)
  • four ounce paper cups—four per student
  • drawing paper—two sheets per student
  • rulers—one per student
  • crayons/markers—one set of five of either per student

Technology resources

computers with internet access, preferably one per student

Pre-activities

Read the book: Arthur and the Cereal Crunch Contest by Marc Brown. (The lesson can be done without the book; however, the book makes an excellent pre-activity. It is readily available in most elementary school libraries.)

Discuss the book with the students with specific focus on why the cereal company would need a jingle, and the types of words that might make them want to try the cereal. Ask the students to name ways that advertisers try to entice them to buy cereal (e.g. cartoon characters such as Tony the Tiger; use of “magic” words as in “magically delicious” or “grrrrreat!”).

Activities

  1. Facilitate a class discussion of advertisements for cereal that are familiar to most American families. (For example, Lucky Charms and Frosted Flakes). Point out examples of how advertisers use such words and phrases as “magically delicious” and “grrrrreat.”
  2. As a class, brainstorm a list of five words or phrases that could be used to sell cereal. For those students who don’t watch TV or don’t have access to one, the teacher may provide print ads or videotape the TV commercials.
  3. Have each student design a cereal box using this website (requires flash), available through “Don’t Buy It: Get Media Smart.” If there is a computer lab available, the students may do this at the same time. If only one computer is available, one student at a time can be called by the teacher to come to the computer to complete this activity which takes only a minute or two. The other students could be working on writing their jingles or slogans.
  4. Have each student write a jingle or a slogan to advertise the cereal he/she designed. The jingle will be a minimum of two lines and a maximum of four. The students may use a familiar tune (e.g. Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star) if they so wish. The slogan should not be based on any already familiar slogan. (e.g. They’re magically delicious) The students will read/sing their slogans or jingles to the class.
  5. Panel Taste Test: Group the students into panels of six students each. Conduct a taste test of each of the four cereals. Serve each student in the panel each of the four cereals. Serve the cereals dry and in color coded paper cups. As a class discussion, ask the students the following questions:
    • What do you think is in the cereal?
    • Do you think it is a healthy cereal?
    • How does it taste?
    • Would you buy this cereal? Why or why not?
  6. Have the students vote on their favorite cereal.
  7. Following a teacher demonstration of how to make a pie chart, direct each student to make a pie chart to show his/her results.
  8. Using the labels from the boxes used in the panel taste test, have the students compare the ingredients.
  9. The teacher will demonstrate how to make a bar graph. Using the nutritional label information, have each student make a bar graph to show the amounts of sucrose that each cereal contains. Post the graphs on a bulletin board.

Assessment

Students will be guided in this lesson with teacher observation of students’ completed work. Successful completion will be measured with a rubric to include: a list of five advertising/media type words and/or phrases, completion of the PBS activity of designing a cereal box, a written copy of their slogan or jingle, a circle graph, a bar graph, and class participation.

Supplemental information

Cereal Math Grades K-2, Scholastic Professional Books

Comments

Extension Activities:

  • Divide the class into groups of eight students each. Assign each group to do one of the following:
    1. Design a cereal box. Using a solid colored contact paper or construction paper, have the students design a cereal box. Have the students draw a picture, create a slogan, and select a prize to be included. Cover an old cereal box with their new design.
    2. Create the new cereal. Write a recipe for the cereal. Will it contain wheat, oats, sugar, berries, etc.?
    3. Create an advertising campaign. Write a jingle, create a cartoon type character, and write the script for a commercial.

    When all the groups have finished their activities, have them make a presentation before the class.

  • As an individual assignment, have each student write a letter to the Federal Trade Commission requesting more honesty in advertising. Integrate this into a language arts lesson on writing a business letter. Have the students write a first draft. After the teacher proofreads that draft and makes editorial suggestions, have the students write a final draft. The students can then learn how to properly address an envelope and actually mail their letters.

The address is:

Federal Trade Commission
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, D.C. 20554

  • North Carolina Essential Standards
    • Healthful Living (2010)
      • Grade 3

        • 3.NPA.2Understand the importance of consuming a variety of nutrient dense foods and beverages in moderation. 3.NPA.2.1 Identify the sources of a variety of foods. 3.NPA.2.2 Categorize beverages that are more nutrient dense. 3.NPA.2.3 Recognize appropriate...
      • Grade 4

        • 4.NPA.2 Understand the importance of consuming a variety of nutrient dense foods and beverages in moderation. 4.NPA.2.1 Compare unhealthy and healthy eating patterns, including eating in moderation. 4.NPA.2.2 Explain the effects of eating healthy and unhealthy...
        • 4.PCH.3 Analyze health information and products. 4.PCH.3.1 Outline the functions of various health products. 4.PCH.3.2 Analyze advertisements of health products and services in terms of claims made and the validity of those claims.

North Carolina curriculum alignment

English Language Arts (2004)

Grade 3

  • Goal 3: The learner will make connections through the use of oral language, written language, and media and technology.
    • Objective 3.04: Make informed judgments about television productions.
  • Goal 4: The learner will apply strategies and skills to create oral, written, and visual texts.
    • Objective 4.02: Use oral and written language to:
      • present information in a sequenced, logical manner.
      • discuss.
      • sustain conversation on a topic.
      • share information and ideas.
      • recount or narrate.
      • answer open-ended questions.
      • report information on a topic.
      • explain own learning.

Grade 4

  • Goal 2: The learner will apply strategies and skills to comprehend text that is read, heard, and viewed.
    • Objective 2.07: Determine usefulness of information and ideas consistent with purpose.
  • Goal 3: The learner will make connections with text through the use of oral language, written language, and media and technology.
    • Objective 3.04: Make informed judgments about television and film/video productions.

Healthful Living Education (2006)

Grade 3

  • Goal 4: The learner will apply knowledge and behavior self management skills to areas of nutrition and physical activity for healthy growth, development, and maintenance.
    • Objective 4.02: Explain and analyze the nutrient and caloric information found on a Nutrition Facts label.

Grade 4

  • Goal 4: The learner will apply knowledge and behavior self management skills to areas of nutrition and physical activity for healthy growth, development, and maintenance.
    • Objective 4.03: Utilize the basic information on food labels to make decisions about the nutritional value of various foods.

Mathematics (2004)

Grade 3

  • Goal 4: Data Analysis and Probability - The learner will understand and use data and simple probability concepts.
    • Objective 4.01: Collect, organize, analyze, and display data (including circle graphs and tables) to solve problems.

Grade 4

  • Goal 4: Data Analysis and Probability - The learner will understand and use graphs, probability, and data analysis.
    • Objective 4.01: Collect, organize, analyze, and display data (including line graphs and bar graphs) to solve problems.