Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Ethos, Logos, Pathos

Persuading Your Audience

K20 Center, Gage Jeter, Andrae McConnell, Brandy Hackett | Published: June 24th, 2022 by K20 Center

  • Grade Level Grade Level 10th, 11th
  • Subject Subject English/Language Arts
  • Course Course
  • Time Frame Time Frame 3-4 class period(s)
  • Duration More 180 minutes


In this lesson, students become familiar with identifying, locating, and analyzing persuasive techniques in writing and multimodal compositions, including their own, by examining the ways in which commercials and infomercials employ these techniques. Using their new knowledge, students will write a persuasive essay, intentionally applying the appeals of ethos, logos, and pathos in order to persuade to their audiences.

Essential Question(s)

What techniques do speakers and writers use to persuade their audiences? 



Students view commercials and discuss persuasive techniques using the Sticky Bars instructional strategy.


Students work through a Magnetic Statements activity where they state their opinions related to statements about persuasive techniques.


Students watch an instructional video focusing on persuasive techniques and revisit the Magnetic Statements activity in order to determine if, how, and why (or why not) their opinions changed.


Students view infomercials to examine how they employ persuasive techniques. Students will have the option of creating their own infomercials using persuasive appeals: ethos, logos, pathos, and various infomercial persuasive techniques. 


Students write persuasive essays, taking into account ethos, logos, and pathos in order to appeal to their audience.


  • Lesson Slides (attached)

  • Magnetic Statements (attached, print one copy for display)

  • Magnetic Statement Note Catcher (attached, one per student)

  • Writing materials: pen, pencil, paper, etc. 

  • Sticky notes

  • Computer with Internet access to view linked commercials and infomercials


Using the Lesson Slides, introduce students to the essential question on slide 3 and the learning objectives on slide 4.

Show slides 5-7 in sequence.

  1. Volunteers of America Stats commercial (slide 5)

  2. Nationwide Our Promise commercial (slide 6)

  3. Coca-Cola Brotherly Love commercial (slide 7)

Using the Sticky Bars instructional strategy, have students place their sticky notes on the board or wall, creating a real-time bar graph of answers. Ask them to group identical or similar ideas vertically in order to create the bar graph. 

Show slide 8. Engage students in a whole-class discussion about the persuasive techniques they notice in the commercials.

Have students discuss similarities and differences in their responses, looking particularly at responses that show up frequently. Point out to them that high vertical bars reflect similar conclusions.

Ask students to discuss how persuasive each commercial is and what strategies make each commercial effective. Have the class identify demographic groups targeted by each commercial. Have them analyze target audiences regarding age, group, gender, and other characteristics that might be relevant.  


Show slide 9. Give students a few minutes to walk around the room and consider each statement. As students reflect on the statements, ask them to stand by one that attracts them the most. Have students discuss their choices with the other students who chose the same statement. Ask students to select a representative from each group to describe what about the statement attracted the group.


After students have completed the Magnetic Statements activity, ask them to return to their seats in preparation for a short instructional video, Ethos, Pathos & Logos. Pass out the Magnetic Statement Note Catcher handout to students.

Show slide 10. The instructional video discusses persuasive appeals, including ethos, logos, and pathos.

Ask students to think about their previous conversations during the Magnetic Statements activity as they watch the video. Have them make notes on their Note Catchers to assist them in understanding these classical appeals (ethos, pathos, and logos.

After the video, show slide 11. Ask students to complete a second round of Magnetic Statements. Have them ) a statement different from their first choice. Once they have selected their statements, have them discuss with their peers if/how/why their opinion changed after watching the Ethos, Pathos, & Logos video.

Allow sufficient time for substantive conversation. During the small-group and whole-class conversations, ask students to focus specifically on the concepts of ethos, logos, and pathos addressed in the video. 

Show slide 12, the Perfect Bacon Bowl infomercial. Have students examine the persuasive techniques applied in the video.

As students watch the infomercial, ask them to jot down the instances of persuasion they observe. Have them identify persuasive techniques and appeals they notice by name. Refer to their previous discussions. Have students share out what they noticed about the infomercial. 


Show slides 13-18. Have a whole-class discussion about various persuasive techniques and appeals. Below is a list of techniques that can be used to support one or more of the appeals:

  • Testimonials

  • Case studies

  • Magnified problem

  • Repetition

  • Scarcity

  • Call to Action

Show slide 19. Ask students to watch the video “Breath Right”. Have them point out specific instances of infomercial persuasive techniques they have identified in earlier discussions and examined in the Ethos, Pathos & Logos video.


Show slide 22. Ask students to reflect on their projects and imagine how they can transfer these principles to their own writing. Have them draft a persuasive essay in which they use ethos, logos, and pathos to appeal to their audience.