Climate Education in an Age of Media > Bring Student Media Production Into Your Courses > Public Service Announcement (PSA) for grades 6-12

Public Service Announcement (PSA) for grades 6-12

Angelica Allende Brisk, Cambridge Media Arts Studio (original author); Ana Caldeira, Somerville, MA High School, Tobe Stromberg, Cambridge (MA) Rindge and Latin High School, Candace Dunlap, TERC (editors)
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Students research a climate change topic of their choice and create a Public Service Announcement (PSA) that communicates their understanding of the science, raises awareness about the causes and consequences of climate change and motivates people to take action in their communities, families and their own lives. Students learn first-hand about the challenges of communicating about climate change in a compelling way. The PSA project offers students opportunities to use creativity and twenty-first century technology skills while empowering them to become stewards and advocates for social change as it relates to climate change.

Learning Goals

Content/concepts goals for this activity

The PSA lesson assignment allows students to choose from a wide range of climate change topics and questions. Here are some examples of key questions they can address with their PSAs:

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

PSAs rely on a number of higher-order thinking skills including:

Skills goals for this activity:

When creating a PSA, students learn and apply the following media skills:

Context for Use


The climate change PSA lesson is suitable for students in middle school and high school. Examples of content areas that are natural fits for a climate change PSA include:

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

The PSA activity may be more meaningful for students if they have previously had some background in climate science and media production skills. However, creating a PSA can serve as a powerful vehicle to learn important climate science content knowledge and media skills regardless of prior experience.

How the activity is situated in the unit or course

The climate climate PSA project is well suited for a culminating project to a unit of study. Alternatively, a unit on climate change may be structured around creating the PSA. In this approach, the student's ability to research, evaluate, organize and structure climate science information in order to create the PSA becomes the primary focus for assessment.

Description and Teaching Materials

The climate change PSA lesson follows a sequence of activities. Some of the activities can be done for homework. Pre-teaching climate change science content will differ from class to class based on age and needs.

In groups, students will:

Materials and resources:

CAM PSA Project Handout for Grades 6-12 (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 660kB Dec5 13)

CAM Storyboard Template (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 558kB Dec3 13)

CAM Shot List (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 552kB Dec3 13)

CAM - Powerful PSAs (PowerPoint 745kB Dec3 13)

CAM Before You Tape (PowerPoint 24.7MB Dec3 13)

CAM Field Production Cheat Sheet (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 1.1MB Dec3 13)

CAM Peer Review Form for Video Projects (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 111kB Dec3 13)

Teaching Notes and Tips

Teaching Tips and Notes:


There are several points in the development and completion of the PSA project that offer opportunities for assessment. For example:
  1. The PSA Script can be assessed for clarity, creativity, scientific accuracy and planning
  2. The pitch, rough cut(optional) and final critique offer numerous opportunities to assess the following:
    • creation and use of audio and visual assets to communicate a key message
    • editing skills
    • scientific accuracy
    • oral presentation skills (as students explain what they are trying to convey, especially during the pitch and rough cut screenings).
    • quality of visual and audio aspects of the video as well as editing of the final cut
    • the efficacy of the PSA message to inform and motivate
    • effective critique skills
  3. Peer review of team members to review each others' roles and contribution to the team effort.
  4. Group screenings with constructive feedback provided by a wider audience (classmates, other students, families). Group screening offer students an opportunity to refine their climate science knowledge and public speaking skills.

References and Resources

CAM Climate Science Resources -good websites for climate science information and images

CAM Media Production Resources - print and online tools for creating media projects

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