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Create an Anti-Smoking PSA

Students will compare and contrast a variety of public service announcements. Then they will conduct research to identify odd or lesser-known facts about smoking. They will select one or more facts, identify a target audience and choose a medium to create a public service announcement for an anti-smoking campaign.

PROCESS:

  1. Prior to conducting this activity, obtain examples of public service announcements from print media, radio and television.
  2. Present the examples to the class. Discuss how they are alike and different. Guide students to recognize that, regardless of the format used, each of these is an example of a public service announcement (PSA). Explain to students that a PSA is more than an advertisement. It is a message to the public that is intended to raise awareness or change people's attitudes or behavior toward a social issue.
  3. Discuss the basic elements of a PSA. Point out that the content and approach of the message can vary widely, depending on the target audience. Then have students describe PSAs they've seen that were designed to deter people from smoking. Which ads did students think were most creative? Which do they think might have had the biggest impact? How did the ads targeting adults differ from those targeting children?
  4. Have students conduct research to identify facts about the impact of smoking. Encourage them to search for odd facts or facts that people might not be familiar with, such as the connection between smoke and MRSA that was described in the article.
  5. Give students time to create a PSA for an anti-smoking campaign. Invite them to share their finished products with the class.

ASSESSMENT:

As students present their public service announcements, challenge classmates to identify the purpose and central message of each. Discuss how the content and approach of each message is tailored to attract a specific target audience.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:

Grades 3-4:
As a class, conduct research to identify odd or lesser-known facts about the impact of smoking. Choose one fact from the list. Select a target audience. Then decide which medium-print, radio or TV-should be used. Divide the class into small groups. Provide the necessary supplies-art materials and poster board, audio equipment or digital cameras. Have each group create an anti-smoking PSA that meets all of the requirements the class selected.
Grades 5-6:
As a class, conduct research to identify odd or lesser-known facts about the impact of smoking. Identify the target audience and decide whether to develop the PSA for print, radio, or TV. Provide the necessary supplies-art materials and poster board, audio equipment or digital cameras-for the medium selected. Then divide the class into small groups. Encourage each group to select one fact from the list. Give groups time to create an anti-smoking PSA. Remind students to keep the target audience in mind as they write and produce their messages.
Grades 7-8:
Divide the class into small groups. Instruct each group to conduct research to identify odd or lesser-known facts about the impact of smoking. Encourage groups to select one or more facts from their lists, identify a target audience and select the medium-print, radio or TV-that they would like to use. Provide art supplies and poster board for groups creating print messages and audio equipment or digital cameras for those developing announcements for radio or TV. Challenge each group to develop a unique and appropriate message that will attract the specified target audience.
Grades 9-10:
Assign each student a partner. Instruct pairs to conduct research to identify odd or lesser-known facts about the impact of smoking. Encourage them to select facts that they would like to incorporate into their anti-smoking campaign. Then give partners time to brainstorm creative ways to get their message across to two different target audiences or through two different mediums. Provide access to art supplies and poster board, audio equipment and digital cameras. Give pairs time to create two different PSAs. As partners present, challenge them to explain how addressing a different audience or using a different medium influenced the content and approach of their message.