Change Your World! Persuasive PSA

Change Your World! Persuasive PSA
Science – Health
Middle School
Time Frame:
Five to six class periods, depending on homework. [1 class period for introducing the assignment and analyzing PSA’s, 1 class period to research (and homework). 1 class period to plan their PSA and write a treatment, 1 class period to script their PSA and begin filming. 1 class period to finish taping their PSA. 1 class period to edit their PSA.]
Students can change their world by becoming informed and speaking out on an issue that affects their world. The goal is to build awareness, start a discussion, or change negative behaviors. Students will design a 30-60 second Public Service Announcement related to a health issue/risk (e.g. smoking, alcohol abuse, steroid use by athletes, pollution, obesity, etc.). As their PSA will run on a local cable channel, their PSA must conform to industry guidelines, be polished and professional, and be persuasive.
  1. Explain to students that they will be making a PSA on a health risk/issue topic of their choosing.
  2. As a class, brainstorm a list of possible health issues students face.
  3. Show students several PSA’s (using video, print, and radio samples will help the students consider a wider range of styles and techniques). Ask them which ones they like and don’t like and why. Ask the students to list the techniques they think the creators of the PSA’s are using. Repeat the question above for tone and purpose. (Visit the Ad Council’s website
  4. In groups of four, have the students select a health risk/issue for their PSA. They need to also select a purpose (build awareness, reinforce positive beliefs/behavior, change negative behavior, or initiate discussion on a topic) and an audience.
  5. Have students research their topic. One student will search for articles in periodicals, one will use the WWW, one will survey their peers, and one will survey adults.
  6. Students will summarize their findings into 5-10 bullet items describing the most important things to know about their topic.
  7. In pairs, have students brainstorm “tag lines.” As a group of four discuss the options and select one to use. Tag lines help people’s memory and can add power.
  8. Next, students need to decide how they will grab their viewers’ attention (music, visual images, statistics, their tag line or other).
  9. Then, they need to decide what their message will be and how they will convey it (establishing credibility, appealing to logic, appealing to emotions, nostalgia, bandwagon, transfer, humor, sense appeal, statistics, testimonial).
  10. Students also need to answer how they intend to get their viewer to act.
  11. The information discussed in steps 6-10 should then be summarized into a treatment.
  12. After writing their treatment, the group should script or storyboard their PSA.
  13. Then, they should tape their PSA following their scripts (if you only have 1 camera, you may want to have 1 group at a time work during lunch, before or after school, or while the class is doing something else).
  14. Students import their video into the computer and edit the PSA according to their scripts.
  15. Students present their finished PSA’s to the class and submit them to the local cable channel.
  • Health:
    • Standard 2 – Accessing Information – access valid health information and appropriate health promoting products and services.
    • Standard 7 - Health Advocacy – demonstrate advocacy skills for enhanced personal, family, and community health.
  • English Language Arts:
    • Standard 1 – All students will read and comprehend general and technical material.
    • Standard 2 - All students will demonstrate the ability to write clear and grammatically correct sentences, paragraphs, and compositions.
    • Standard 6. Voice All students will learn to communicate information accurately and effectively and demonstrate their expressive abilities by creating oral, written, and visual texts that enlighten and engage an audience.
    • Standard 8. Genre and Craft of Language All students will explore and use the characteristics of different types of texts, aesthetic elements, and mechanics—including text structure, figurative and descriptive language, spelling, punctuation, and grammar—to construct and convey meaning.
    • Standard 11. Inquiry and Research All students will define and investigate important issues and problems using a variety of resources, including technology, to explore and create texts.
  • Technology:
    • NETS 4 – Technology communication tools: Students use a variety of media and formats to communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences.
    • NETS 5 – Technology research tools: Students use technology to locate, evaluate, and collect information from a variety of sources.
  • Textbooks, periodicals, internet sites
  • Spreadsheet
  • iMovie (or similar editing software)
  • iPod touch w/ camera, iPhone, iPad w/ camera, Flip camera, or other compatible camera
  • Links to teacher or student examples.
  • Interview health care workers or people affected by the issue.


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