Public Service Announcement Project Ideas

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

By asking students to make a PSA, you can help them learn about issues of civics, public policy, and efficiency in communication. Since so many areas of our lives are impacted by public policy, you can easily connect these projects to many other lessons.

Public Service Announcements

Public service announcements are part of the way that a government communicates with its people. Whether your class is learning about civics and their connection to the government, or are considering careers in government or public service, studying PSAs can be a useful tool. The following projects are designed to be mixed and matched, giving you a number of ways to incorporate them into your classroom. They are made to be easily adaptable, with minor changes to increase or decrease difficulty, to work for various grade levels and abilities.

Public Service Announcement Themes

First, let's look at some themes your PSA projects could focus on. Different PSAs have different reasons for existing and communicate with the people in different ways. For each of these, ask students to consider why the government would use a PSA on this topic and what the ultimate goal is of reaching out to the public.

Natural Disasters

A natural disaster PSA should inform the public about what to do in case of an earthquake, flood, tornado, blizzard, or other natural event. This announcement must outline the steps to take (preventative and reactionary) to ensure the highest chance of safety in the event of a natural disaster.

Public Health

Public health PSAs need to make the public aware of ways to prevent the spread of disease, the health risks that they may be exposed to in different scenarios, or the steps to take if disease is contracted. Each of these ideas carries different implications, and students will have to form different types of PSAs to deal with them.

Public Policy

These PSAs are meant to help increase awareness and knowledge about certain social issues. This could include a very wide range of topics, including bullying, voting rights, gender rights, hunger, poverty, climate change, pollution, environmental issues, safe driving, etc. You could also expand this to let students design PSAs about more humorous issues (bowties are cool; yoga pants are not formal wear), or blend this into a lesson on wartime propaganda (examining World War I or WWII specifically).

Public Service Announcement Projects

With these themes in mind, how do you actually ask students to create a public service announcement? Here are a few ideas:

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