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The Drama Game
Write a Commercial for a Product That Does Not Exist!
Divide students into groups of 4 or 5. You will need to give them time to work and plan together.
The assignment is for them to come up with a product that does not exist, write a commercial for the product, then perform it for the class. They are welcome to use whatever props that they can find in the classroom (anything at all, they might want to use a jacket or a book.) They are welcome to pantomime objects if they feel the need to.
This activity is not purely pantomime; the students will script the commercial and perform using words.
As a Drama Game, this is grand fun. It gives the students the opportunity to collaborate, to let their creative juices run wild, to write a short script, to rehearse, and to perform.
This activity can be utilized in other classes, as well.
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Have fun with this activity. Afterward, each student will write a five paragraph persuasive essay either endorsing or warning consumers against any one of the products created during this drama game. If you feel pressed for time, you can assign the persuasive essay as homework.
Use this activity as a beginning activity in your critical reading curriculum. This exercise can prime students to look for stated facts versus opinions and influence.
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Social Studies Class
Commercials say a lot about a culture. What things do people want, and what things do people really need? Do people want the products because they saw them advertised, or do advertisers try to sell what people already want?
For social studies, you might want to take this a step farther and have the kids do the activity again, this time writing commercials for real products.
You can also have them write and perform commercials for products appealing to different cultures and societies -- whatever you are currently studying.
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This can be a great exercise to foster discussion of needs vs. wants. It is also a way into discussions regarding deceit, undue influence, and other issues of morality.