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Communication Applications: Preparing Formal Presentations

Context for this Lesson


Topic: Preparing Formal Presentations

Purpose: To learn and apply the steps of the presentation process for creating and giving a formal presentation. To learn and undersatnd the differences between persuasive, motivational, and informational speeches.

Prior knowledge: Basic knowledge of the steps of creating a formal presentation


  • Paper slips with steps of presentation process

  • Paper slips with applied research steps of process

  • Spy technology research worksheet

  • Costume piece(s) for role work



Data Processing


Choose an area(s) where students have enough room to create a single file line(s). Explain that you have “a challenge for the group.” Explain that they must see how quickly the entire class can line up from shortest to tallest without making a single sound. Let them know that if there is a sound that we will stop and try it again. When students have completed the task, see how quickly they can form a perfect standing circle with students lined up alphabetically by last name from A to Z without making a sound.


Divide the group into two groups of about 8. Give each group students the 8 slips of paper with steps of the presentation process on them (one paper/step per person). Ask students to line up silently in the order from first to last communication step. Next, give each group the slips of paper with the applied steps of the process and have them line up again.


Reflect on activity:

·      What did you have to do in that activity?

·      What was easy? Hard?

·      Did you know the presentation steps? Why did we have you put them in order? Do they have to go in that order?





PROCEDURE: Explain to students that in this game, the facilitator will stand in the middle of the room. Designate three corners of the room as informational, persuasive, and motivational. Each round, the facilitator will name a topic or title of a presentation; the students should move to the part of the room that best describes the purpose of the topic. Some topics could potentially have more than one purpose, so pick what you think fits best. Name topics one at a time and after each, ask briefly why students moved where they did.


Sample Titles:

How to Bake a Cheesecake

National Football League Safety Policies

The Politics of Abraham Lincoln

Lamar Middle School: The Greatest in AISD

Why Drama Should be Taught in Schools

The Power of Daily Exercise

I Have a Dream

Volunteers Unite: The Happiness of Giving


Mantle of the Expert- Spy Academy




Tell students that we now are going to go into role to work through the presentation process. Students will be in role as experts from the Spy Academy of America. They will learn about the teachers’ role once we begin. The role work will begin when the facilitator puts on a costume piece (i.e. scarf, jacket) and counts down from 3. Invite students to close their eyes and imagine who their character is. What is the character’s name? How might a spy sit? Carry him/herself? Talk? Tell students we are now going into role and invite them to open their eyes at the end of the countdown: 3, 2, 1…


SALLY: Hi everyone! It is such an honor to meet you. Really, an honor. My name is Sally Jones and this is my partner Maria. We have a problem. See, we’re special research consultants to the CIA and we’ve been asked to do some research on spy technology. But our contact just told us this morning and the presentation is due tonight.


MARIA: Wait! I know what we need! I’ll be right back (Lianne leaves room to get “Wikipedia” article on spy technology)


SALLY: Okay… anyway, we needed help getting this presentation together and our contact said to come to the Spy Academy of America because you all are the most up-to-date experts in the field of spy technology. And they said you might know something about how to put together this presentation we have to give. Could you help us?


MARIA: (coming back into the room) I’ve got it! Don’t worry, we don’t actually need your help after all. Here it is:


Lianne- do you want to write the bad Wikipedia piece here?


SALLY: Hm. Experts, what do you all think? Is there any kind of technology missing here? (give students time to think/answer) Oh. Okay, well I guess we need you to figure out something else. So here’s what we know: our overall topic is spy technology. That feels kind of huge though. Do any of you have a suggestion for what we should do next? (limit topic)


MARIA: How do we limit the topic? What could the limited topic be? (get suggestions and pick one)


SALLY: Okay, so now we have a limited topic. What do we need to do next? (purpose; get suggestions and pick one)


MARIA: Good ideas. Now can we do research?


SALLY: Yes! I think to get this done in time we need to divide and conquer.


Research and Sharing


Freeze. Tell students we are going out of role. Explain that to do the research, we will divide into four groups. Each group will get a worksheet to create their own research. They should choose an artifact to create or describe- it could be an image, an article, a video or audio recording, etc. The research should tie directly to the specific topic (so something related to spy technology).  After deciding on the artifact, students should also decide on the source of the material and explain why the source is credible.


After groups have created their research, we will come back together in role to share.


SALLY: Okay, everyone. Let’s see what you’ve done. Each group will share your research and tell us where you found it and why the CIA will find it credible.


Each group presents their research.




Describe: What did we do in our activities today?


Analyze: How do we (or how did your group) know that this (your) source is credible? Why did you choose the artifact your chose—what was the deciding factor?


Relate: How can actually using the steps of the research process help guide you through creating your own presentation? Why do you think it’s important to break down the steps this way? (Or do you think it’s important?) How can this research process help you in the “real world?” Meaning, where do you think you might also encounter a situation in which you will have to organize/research information and share it?