Application Project Plan (APP) Planning Sheet


Anne Mlod & Jennifer Ridley and Beth Cuddy & Jessie Brown

Tentative Title

Snack Attack! An investigation into the nutritional makeup and advertising of popular snacks

Target Audience

3rd Grade (Genesee) & 4th Grade (Seward)

Brief Description

In this multi-lesson unit, students were introduced to the concept of advertising and how advertising is used to influence purchasing decisions. Students were introduced to the food pyramid/myplate concepts and nutritional labeling. After completing lessons on deconstructing commercials students made their own print ad and video commericials for common snack foods. A video conference between the two classrooms introduced the project. A reception displaying finished work was the culminating activity.

Curriculum Goals: students will:

Understand data collection and analysis through the school wide snack survey
research and present the nutritional components of snack foods
reflect on their own snack choices and potential impact on health

Media Literacy Goals

Identify the advertising techniques for selling snack food
design and create advertisements that present nutritional information using advertising techniques
reflect upon how media influences their snack food choices.

Other Goals


I. We developed a survey using Googe Docs that asked 3rd and 4th grade students about snack foods. We had all 3rd and 4th grade classes at Genesee and Seward complete the survey. Here is a link to the Genesee survey and here is a link to the Seward survey. The only difference between the two surveys is the section asking for teacher name.

II. Using Polycom videoconferencing equipment, we held a video conference between the 3rd and 4th grade classes. The conference was a means for the two classes to meet and introduce the survey results and the snack food research project. The students were asked to make predictions about the data, e.g., "Do you think most students said fruit roll ups are healthy or unhealthy." Students shared their thought on healthy snacks.

III. The classroom teachers introduced the students to the elements of the food pyramid. The students examined the different segments of the food pyramid on the Kids' Health website (see Food pyramid). The teacher then introduced the new version of the food pyramid--the food plate. Students were asked to think about why the pyramid changed to the plate (see Food Pyramid Becomes a Plate). Which is easier to understand? At the end of the lesson, the students used the information they learned about the food plate to play the interactive game Blast Off to a Healthy Diet.

IV. Nutrition labels - Students took a basic look at the ingredients and serving size of popular snack foods. Using the website Figuring Out Food Labels, students learned how to decipher food labels. Students participated in a cookie experiment. They were given a Chip Ahoy or Oreo and their Who Nu? counterparts. Students were asked to use their five senses to evaluate the two cookies and write down their thoughts in a Top Hat organizer. They then looked at the nutritional content of each cookie, and reflected up on which cookie they would choose based on their knowledge. The students chose the Who Nu? cookies because it was a healthier choice. While it is a healthier choice than an Orea or Chips Ahoy, it is still not a healthy snack. Students had a discussion why that was the case, and talked about healthier alternatives to cookies.

IV. Advertising - Students examine the following questions:
  • What is advertising?
  • Why does it exist?
  • What tools do advertisers use to sell their products?
The librarian introduced the Gender Remix website. Students were asked what they noticed by just looking at the screen. The students were asked why do we advertise, and who are the advertisments made for? The lesson was then redirected back to the website and we looked just at the picture clips and asked the same questions. Then the ads were mixed and the students decoded what they noticed about the sound and about the video. Advertising "tricks" were discussed. A "Buy Me That" (Hailey please link this to the hover craft segment in the k-1 kit)segment was used from a previous Project Look Sharp kit was used to assess the students' understanding. The students deconstructed the commerical then watched as the children in the segment deconstructed the claims of the toy. Another helpful website is

The classroom teacher introduced print ads to the students. Students were asked the same questions, why is this being advertised, and who is this ad targeting? Advertising tricks were discussed based on the print ads that were taken from magazines. Students came up with a list of tricks used to sell to children and a list of tricks used to sell to adults. As an assessment to check their understanding of the lesson, students were asked to use two advertising tricks used on children and two advertising tricks used on adults to advertise the same healthy food. A piece of construction paper was split down the middle and one side was the ad for a child and the other side was an ad for the adult. Students presented their ads and the class decided what tricks were used in both of their ads.


V. Decoding snack food advertisements - Students were asked to think back to their discussion about advertising. Why does advertising exist? What are some things advertisers use to make their products look more attractive? The teacher in collaboration with the librarian initiate a discussion about common advertising techniques. They led decoding sessions with a handful of snack food commercials (see commercials below under Resources/Support). The students reflected upon the commercials and discussed what was said about the snack food's ingredients and impact on health. Some questions to ask: Who was this commercial made for? What are the people in the commercial doing? What do you learn about the snack food from the commercial? Do you know its nutritional content? The ingredients? Why would the commercial not share that information?

VI. Project work - *This is a tentative timeline. We have yet to reach this step of our project.* The librarian in collaboration with the teacher will introduce the Big6 research process. Students will be instructed that they will follow the research process while they researched a snack food. The students will be shown a powerpoint outlining the six steps: task definition; information-seeking strategies; location and access; use of information; synthesis and evaluation. The fourth graders will select an unhealthy snack; the third graders will select healthy snack. Students will formulate questions to ask about their snack food. For step 2, the librarian will lead a few lessons about choosing appropriate resources and introduce how to evaluate websites. The teacher and librarian will guide the students through the research process, introduce note-taking strategies ("cave man" speak) and provide students with guidelines to follow in order to make their "Talking Head" commercials. Students will work in groups of 3 or 4 to write out a script and film their commercials using a handheld digital camera.

VII. Snack Food Commercial Premiere. The classes will come together a final time to showcase their work at the Auburn Public Theater. The audience will participate by viewing the commericals and voting whether the snack is healthy or unhealthy through the use of handheld signs. The students will eat a healthy snack and reflect upon what they've learned about snack food choices from this project.



Oreo Fudge Cremes commercial:
Another Oreo commercial about Mother's Day:

Doritos Super Bowl commercial. It's interesting to note how most Super Bowl commercials all incorporate humor in some way:
Another Super Bowl Doritos commercial. Definitely going with sex appeal, may not be 100% appropriate:

Baby carrots commercial. It's extreme!

Gogurt commercial:

Crunch Pak fresh sliced apples commercial. This ad really stinks but the product is actually good, branded with Disney characters to improve appeal to children. Could be a nice exercise in how to improve a commercial:

Funny Cheez-it commercial:

Lays potato chips commercial. Who's the target for this ad?
Now who is Lays trying to target?