This is a complete lesson pack with a selection of exercises that takes 120 minutes in total. The purpose of this lesson is for pupils to understand some frequently used methods of influence, and to reflect on the media landscape and targeted messages. If you prefer you can pick the exercises you think suits your group of pupils by using the filter function on the start page.
This section contains the following exercises:
There are many methods to influence people to do what you want. The classical examples of influence are whips and carrots, in other words punishment and reward. In the information we access daily a number of different methods are used to get us to think and even act in a specific way. The aim of the exercise is for pupils to firstly gain more in-depth knowledge on methods of influence, and then to examine how they are used.
Which methods of influence do you know of? Discuss which of these are the most effective. Motivate!
In this exercise our starting point is seven different methods that are used to get people to think in a specific way. The methods of influence are presented in the printable reference materials pdf. Print out the reference materials pdf, cut out the cards and give one card to each group. Then split the participants into seven groups where each group is responsible for one method.
Instructions to participants:
The groups discuss and come up with how their method of influence can be countered. This is presented in the form of a short action plan with phrases such as:
The film about raccoons, Det nya hotet, shows how you can create fear and rejection through propaganda. This has happened many times in the history of mankind, and in the worst case has helped make it possible to murder thousands of people. The aim of this exercise is to connect the conclusions in the film with real life events. This is done by examining how different groups of people have been singled out in the society they live in.
> Watch the film Det nya hotet (English subtitles)
> Watch the film Det nya hotet - så gjorde vi filmen (English subtitles)
The task is to compare the methods used in the film with some real life events:
A lot in our society revolves around selling. Advertising is of major importance and companies invest a great deal of money in marketing. Still, most of us say that we are not influenced by adverts. Is that really true? The aim of this exercise is to practice critical examination of advertising messages.
Imagine that a line runs through the room. The line symbolises a scale where the one end represents “not at all” and the other end represents “very much”. Read a statement and let the pupils place themselves on the line according to how much they agree with the statement.
Look for two examples of adverts that you feel target you. They may be advertising images, texts and advertising films.
A conspiracy theory is a belief that there is a conspiracy to control what happens in different contexts. The reality we think we see, through for example the media, is not true according to conspiracy theorists. Conspiracy theories have always existed and are spread more easily today than ever before. One explanation for the distribution is modern technology. Many people believe in conspiracy theories and it can be extremely difficult to convince them of anything else. The aim of this exercise is to problematize why people believe in conspiracy theories and what it can lead to.
Split the participants into groups and let them examine two sites (SMHI and a personal blog) which both look at the phenomenon of chemtrails. Chemtrails, are the condensation trails left by high-flying aircrafts, which according to conspiracy theorists consist of toxins that are spread in the air by the US military.
Both sites are in swedish. Try to make a general assessment of the sites above and review them critically.
Follow up the discussion by letting the participants listen to the radio documentary “Giftet i luften” (roughly translated as “poison in the air”) which is about the conspiracy theories focusing on so called “chemtrails”.
The documentary is in Swedish, it is 28 minutes long.
Summary of the radio documentary:
In the radio programme, radio hosts Martin Wicklin and Tove Palén take a journey to the periphery of reason, where conspiracies and plots reign supreme.
The programme looks at one of the fastest growing conspiracy theories called chemtrails. According to this theory the streaks you see in the sky that you thought were tracks left by airplanes, are actually a poison that the US is spraying over us. In the radio documentary listeners follow the chemtrail tracks in the clouds and meet the people that are convinced that SMHI is conspiring against us and who are investigating these claims.