The Power of Persuasion A Webquest


A student believes he should get a higher grade on his essay as he approaches his teacher. A young child walking through the mall with his mother sees a toy in the display window that she wants. A college recruiter visits the home of a promising athlete, who is considering which college to attend. What do these three scenarios have in common?

In the above scenarios, each pair has someone who is trying to convince the other person to do something. Advertisers are writers who use the power of persuasion to convince their target audience to do a wanted behavior. Regardless of what the advertiser is trying to persuade, there are basic fundamental techniques that are involved. In this webquest scholars will learn the basic philosophy behind the art of persuasion and investigate the Essential Question, "What strategies do advertisers use to convince consumers to purchase their product?"

The Task

  1. For this assignment each scholar will investigate the philosophy of rhetorical persuasion and the associated techniques. Scholars will investigate in cooperative groups, but each scholar is expected to individually complete his or her own webquest notes.
  2. Scholars will assess their understanding of these techniques by identifying how they are used in popular commercial ads. Each scholar will produce a persuasive technique brochure as a final product to illustrate his or her findings.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY: RI.11-12.7; W.11-12.1E

Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a question or solve a problem.

Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.

The Process and Resources

Use the Avid Cornell Notes Template to set up your notes in your day book. As you go through the lists, write the bulleted tasks (listed below) in the questions column and your findings in the large "notes" section.

  • Who is Aristotle?
  • What are some of his contributions to the world we know today? In other words, what is his claim to fame?
  • How does Aristotle explain rhetoric and why we all need it?
  • What are the three persuasive categories?
  • Explain the purpose of each.
  • What are the three argumentative appeals that Aristotle lists?
  • How can the appeals be used effectively?
  • When can they be used ineffectively?
  • Which one of the three appeals presents as being most effective?

Matching Activity:

Match the six following ads to the proper rhetorical category that is primarily used. Then match the ad by writing the name of the product being sold. For example if Subway is using emotions to sell food I would match Subway next to pathos.


Complete the summary section of your Cornell Notes by answering the Essential Question.

Create A Brochure Product


For this assignment each student will need one sheet of card stock (or regular unlined) paper that measures 8.5 X 11. Fold the card stock lengthwise (hot dog). The front will look like a tall book.

 Use a ruler and a pencil to create a 1 Inch border on the top to create the header. Make a 1 inch border on the bottom of the cover to create a footer. Open the brochure and repeat the measurements across the left and right inside of the brochure. You should have a header and footer on the front and across the inside.

 Flip back to the front of the brochure. Using the line from the header as your starting point, measure three inches down and draw a horizontal line. From the new line you just drew, measure down three inches and draw another horizontal line. This will separate the remaining space between the header and footer into thirds. You should now have a header, three equal rectangles in the middle, and a footer. Open up the brochure and repeat this process on the inside.

 On the front of the brochure write a title for your brochure in the header.

 Under the title section label each rectangle with the following subtitles: Ethos, Pathos, or Logos. It doesn’t matter what the order is. Create a picture symbol in each rectangle. Color the symbol.

 In the footer write your name, block, and date.

 Open the brochure. On the inside left flap. Write the appeal and the definition associated with each subtitle listed on the front. Make sure the front appeal matches its section. Draw an emoji that might be used to convey that appeal (you can create one of your own). Color it.

 On the inside right flap List two advertised product that often use that appeal to persuade consumers to purchase their product. You may not use any of the examples from our Webquest. Your examples should be advertisements that you have recognized on TV, billboards, or in magazines. Draw the trademarks of those products. Include slogans when appropriate. Color accordingly.

 Close the brochure. On the front of the brochure cut the lines from the right to the fold. This should create 5 flaps, one for each section.

 Paste down the header and the footer to the inside. This will leave three flaps that can be opened and closed.

 Your brochure should be neat, colored, and free from stray marks or debris.

 Use complete sentences and proper punctuation.

 Allow your brochure to dry before submitting it for a grade.

Created By
Kolani Fowler

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