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Lesson Plans

Use this Lesson Plan with the following health topics or with other relevant content from the textbook:
  • Fitness
  • Cardiovascular Endurance

Media Literacy Lesson Plan: Recognizing a Message's Point of View
Student Resource: "What Exercise Can Do for You," by Sheila Globus [Jamestown]
Media Type: Article


After completing this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Describe physical, mental, and social health benefits of regular exercise.
  • Identify ways in which they can make physical activity a regular part of their life.
  • Apply the media literacy skill of recognizing a message's point of view to an article advocating the benefits of exercise for teens.
Introducing the Lesson

Tell students you are going to conduct an informal survey. Begin by asking how many of them enjoy swimming. Take a show of hands and write the results on the chalkboard. Do the same with cycling, skateboarding, snowboarding, skiing, hiking, or any other activity that is readily accessible in your community and that you think students might enjoy doing.

Pretend to shift direction in your questioning by stating in a sober fashion that you have one more question for students. Then take a breath and ask pointedly, "How many of you like to exercise?" Allow for the possibility of groans and protests.

Write the term exercise on the chalkboard alongside the list you have created. Circle the list, and draw an arrow pointing to this term. Explain that all of these enjoyable sports and recreational activities are forms of physical activity that provide the same fitness benefits of exercise. Note that in addition to being fun, these activities provide many health benefits. Add that students are about to read an article on this subject that may contains some surprises.

Teaching Strategies

Ask how many students have seen the following message or some variation of it on television: "The views expressed in this program are not necessarily those of this station." Ask: What kind of programs usually carry warnings of this kind? (Shows with a controversial theme or content)

Observe that this message reveals a difference in point of view, people's reaction to a particular topic. Refer back to the list you created on the chalkboard during the introduction to the lesson. Explain that the differing numbers represent different points of view with respect to the sports and activities named.

Note that when approaching any media message, whether it is a TV show, a written article, or some other medium, it is important to be aware of:

  1. The point of view of the creator/writer/producer.
  2. The point of view of any and all participants and interviewees.

Explain that it is only when a message is approached in this fashion can the consumer be sure of reaching his or her own conclusions. Have students go to the website, or hand out printed copies of the article.

After students have completed the reading, you may use the following either as class discussion questions or assign them as individual or group work. The student worksheet version can be printed and handed out as a homework assignment.


  1. Awareness. In which section of the article does the author first present her point of view on the topic? Which statement or statements best captures her views on exercise? In what ways does her point of view mirror that of the teens quoted at the beginning of the article? In what way does it differ? Explain.
  2. Analysis. Identify at least three physical benefits of participating in sports and recreational activities. In what ways do these activities provide mental benefits? Social benefits? Back up your answers with specifics from the article.
  3. Evaluation. Reread the first sentence of the section of the article titled "Reducing Risk." Whose point of view is the author expressing? Do you think the opinion expressed is shared by fitness experts? Why or why not?
  4. Communication. Review the author's advice in the final section of the article (headed "Fitting Exercise In"). What specific activities does she mention in support of the view she puts forth? What other activities can you think of that you would enjoy doing to make physical activity a regular part of your lifestyle? How can you share your choices with classmates?

Evaluating the Point of View in Another Medium

The airways (TV, radio, the Internet) and print media (magazines, newspapers) are filled with messages on exercise and fitness. Some of them have points of view similar to those expressed in this article. Yet, in most of them, there are differences.

Select one of these media, and focus on a particular message that has to do with exercise and getting in shape. Possibilities are a TV commercial for a health club or a magazine ad for a dietary supplement that claims to help people shape up. Analyze the point of view, then state the message being sent. Share your findings with those of classmates.

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