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Create a Magazine

Students investigate the history of magazine publishing and analyze the components of modern magazines. Then they create their own magazines with features, a format and functions that will appeal to a specific target audience.

PROCESS:

  1. Display the Smithsonian National Postal Museum's fact sheet on magazine publishers. As a class, explore how magazine publishing has evolved since 1741, when the first magazines were published in the colonies. (You may wish to review and summarize this information before conducting the activity with younger students.)
  2. Instruct students to conduct research to learn more about the history of magazines. Challenge them to identify technological innovations, sociological changes and economic factors that have influenced the magazine industry over time. 
  3. As a class, compile a list of elements commonly found in today's magazines. (i.e., types of articles, advertisements, photos, interactive features, etc.) Be sure to analyze both print and online versions. Discuss how the target audience influences the features, format and function of various magazines.
  4. Using that list as a guideline, instruct students to create their own magazines. Challenge them to select features, a format and functions that will appeal to their target audience.

ASSESSMENT: 

Invite students to share their work with the class. Discuss reasons why certain features, the format or specific functions are appropriate for the target audience.   

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:    

Grades 3-4:
Complete this project as a class. Have students create a magazine for students in their school. Provide samples of print magazines aimed at this age group. As you review those periodicals, encourage students to identify features they like and the format they think will most appeal to their readers. Assign each student a task to be completed before a specified deadline. Collect all materials. Guide students as they compile their work into a classroom magazine.

Grades 5-6:
Divide the class into two groups. Instruct each group to create a magazine for students in their school. Provide samples of print magazines aimed at this age group. Give each group time to review the materials. Challenge them to identify features they like and the format they think will most appeal to their readers. Instruct groups to assign each member a task. Give them time to complete their work and compile the components into a magazine. Have groups share and compare their finished products.

Grades 7-8:
Divide the class into small groups. Give groups the option of creating print or digital magazines. Instruct them to identify a target audience and then select features, a format and functions that will appeal to those readers. Give groups time to complete their work. Have them share and compare their finished products with the class. 

Grades 9-10:
Divide the class into small groups. Instruct each group to identify a target audience and create a digital magazine. Challenge them to select features, a format and functions that will appeal to their readers. Give groups time to complete their work. Have them share and compare their finished products with the class.