The View from the Classroom Window

Monday, June 14, 2010

Plastic in Our World: Day 8

Welcome to our second and final week of our Plastics Unit. This week we will learn about what happens to our plastic when we are done with it. And we will spend a few minutes talking about hands on, practical and positive things we can do to improve our cultural relationship with plastic.

With your kids
1. Watch the short video, The Story of Bottled Water.

2. Talk about the idea of marketing: how companies try to persuade us to buy their products. Then watch these bottled water commercials (here and here) and discuss them as marketing strategies. (If your kids are like mine, they will think the commercials are fantastic. Which makes the discussion all the more interesting!)

If you like, compare those with this commercial, that shows a very different kind of bottled water. Excellent fodder for discussion about luxury versus necessity; wise, just, and compassionate ways to use money; and human rights.

3. Find a couple of magazines and have your kids look through them to see if they can find any bottled water ads. If you can, talk about the imagery, words, implied fears, desires, etc. in the ad. If you don't find any bottled water ads, speculate about why you didn't--what does that tell you about how the bottled water industry sees the audience of that particular magazine?

(My kids looked through Parenting magazine, and did not see any bottled water ads, which suggests moms are wise to those scare tactics by now. ; ) But we did find an ad for a new product--tablets of sugar, artificial color, and artificial flavor that your kid can drop into his/her glass of tap water so that he/she will then want to drink it. We talked about the subtle implications in the ads--that plain old tap water tastes bad, that your kids won't drink water without incentive, that artificial flavored and colored sugar water is just as good for you as plain water--that tried to create a need for their product.

Studying advertizing is always fascinating, and I don't think we can start educating our kids soon enough on the lies culture often tells us--esp. when someone wants something from us.)

Your kids might get really into this whole reading the messages in advertizing game--a fun thing to do when out and about!

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