Friday, March 30, 2012

Media Literacy: Well Dressed Food Lessons

Source: The Prophet
Sometimes it’s hard to convince kids that not everything is what it seems. They are so taken by advertising and too often believe everything they see is real. Kids need to know that designing information is the foundation of all media. To help them learn to question media, we have taken to using the acronyms LAMSTAIH (Look At More Stuff; Think About It Harder, from Look At More by Andy Stefanovich) and FEAR (False Evidence Appearing Real, origin unknown).

Both acronyms point the students in the right direction. In order to tell if something is true, they need to look at more things and think about them. Simply put: analyze the evidence to determine reliability.

Source: Don't Buy It! - PBS
We use several resources to drive home the point of FEAR to reinforce our students' media literacy skills. The first is the Don't Buy It website produced by PBS. This website is full of resources, from being an ad detective to buying smart, but one of our favorite parts to visit with students is the Food Advertising Tricks page. They find it amazing that food is manipulated with everything from glue to a blowtorch to make it look delicious. It's hard for them to believe at first. They are surprised to learn that photographers use dyed shortening instead of real ice cream, because it would melt too quickly under the lights. They're fascinated that to photograph a juicy hamburger, food stylists can use up to 100 hamburger buns, 2 cases of lettuce and a dozen tomatoes before they get the perfect picture for the ad.

Source: Don't Buy It! - PBS
Most kids have never heard of a "food stylist" or a food "makeup artist." It thoroughly amuses them that people do this for a living. Advertising is big money, and it costs a lot to produce beautiful ads to sell goods and services. Companies depend on getting a return on their investments. For a great closer to a lesson on creating well-dressed food, show them the following video segment, Food Ad Tricks: Helping Kids Understand Food Ads on TV. This is part of the series Buy Me That, which can be taught using a valuable lesson plan by Frank Baker, who maintains the Media Literacy Clearinghouse website.

By constantly talking to kids about FEAR, we can continue to help them grow as media savvy individuals who question what they see because they know how to LAMSTAIH.


  1. Just to clarify, I did not write the Buy Me That series: I did however write the lesson plan that utilizes this clip. Frank

    1. Thank you very much for the clarification. We will update the post with the correction. Thank you, too, for sharing your expertise with teachers and other educators.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Pin It