Censorship in the Classroom

It is important for young people to understand their individual rights and what they, as citizens, can do to protect these rights. In addition, young people need to understand the way in which bias and stereotyping are used by the media to influence popular opinion. In this lesson, students examine propaganda and media bias and explore a variety of banned and challenged books, researching the reasons these books have been censored. Following this research, students choose a side of the censorship issue and support their position through the development of an advertising campaign.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
CLE 3003.2.6
Deliver effective oral presentations.
CLE 3003.4.2
Gather relevant information from a variety of print and electronic sources, as well as from direct observation, interviews, and surveys.
CLE 3003.4.3
Make distinctions about the credibility, reliability, consistency, strengths, and limitations of resources, including information gathered from websites.
CLE 3003.5.2
Analyze text for fact and opinion, cause/effect, inferences, evidence, and conclusions.
CLE 3003.5.3
Evaluate an argument, considering false premises, logical fallacies, and quality of evidence presented.
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.
Learning objectives: 

Students will:

  • Explore bias and media stereotyping
  • Identify and analyze propaganda techniques and how they are used in magazine and television advertisements to persuade an audience
  • Read and examine a specific banned or challenged book
  • Identify and discuss the issues surrounding the banning or challenging of texts
  • Explore the issue of free speech and how it applies in the classroom
  • Demonstrate their understanding of propaganda techniques by creating an ad campaign to support their position on the censorship of a specific text

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Extension suggestions: 
  • Have students write letters to the school committee addressing the banning of books in the school system.
  • Have students explore stereotypes and bias in health-related advertisement and services and the use of propaganda and media bias in anti-drug and anti-smoking campaigns.
  • Have students research landmark cases that influenced the issue of free speech. Then, follow up by holding a mock court case to debate whether a controversial book should be banned or not in an elementary classroom.
  • Have students debate the censorship of movies or television programs.
  • Have students create a top ten list of the most important books of their time and why the issues addressed in them are crucial to study.

Helpful Hints


  • A variety of magazine ads
  • Student response journals