A Disaster Public Service Announcement

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SWBAT develop focus questions for research and use a graphic organizer to collect and organize information.

Big Idea

Looking at disasters, students learn research techniques to gather information about a disaster in order to creatively design a Disaster Public Service Announcement.

Bell Ringer - What Is A Public Service Announcement?

5 minutes

What Is A Public Service Announcement?

I ask students to Turn and Talk with their partner for 1 minute to discuss the Bell Ringer question "What is a public service announcement?" I ask them to provide examples as well. Some answers to the question include: an advertisement on the TV or radio or a commercial to persuade people to do something. Some examples could be: stop smoking, prevent forest fires, or don't do drugs.

As I look for student responses, we take 2-3 minutes to share answers as the class. I draw all students into the conversation by using popsicle sticks. This provides equal opportunity for all students to participate and respond. I also show images of some Public Service Announcements (PSA) such as: a health advertisement to prevent smoking, the logo for the American Red Cross, and an advertisement to raise awareness of global warming. Images are important because they help students to understand the concept and they get the message across. These images help give a better understanding of a Public Service Announcement.

Memo From The American Red Cross

5 minutes

A Memo From The Red Cross is presented to students as a problem-based learning experience where students answer the questions "How can disasters affect people and communities?" and "How can we respond to disasters?" A problem-based learning experience is open-ended and student centered. This learning opportunity is relevant to students as they learn about disasters, how disasters can affect them, and how they could respond to a disaster. This Master Disaster Unit teaches content through skill development in a need-to-know setting of a real-world challenge.

Students are presented with a Memo From The Red Cross, choose one type of disaster to research, and given a Rubric which defines the goals and benchmarks of the experience. To give the experience a real-world "feel", I assign students to work in "Emergency Management Teams." I assign students to heterogenous groups, where I pair them according to learning styles and abilities.

The lesson focuses on a variety of reading, writing, and research skills including: CCSS.ELA.Literacy.W.6.5 develop and strengthen writing, CCSS.ELA.Literacy.W.6.6 use technology to produce writing and collaborate with others, CCSS.ELA.Literacy.W.6.7 conduct short research projects to answer questions, CCSS.ELA.Literacy.W.6.8 gather relevant information from digital sources, and CCSS.ELA.Literacy.W.6.9 draw evidence from informational text to support research.

Note: Each lesson in this unit, Master Disaster, works towards mastery of the NGSS MS-ESS 3-2 which states students will analyze and interpret data on natural hazards to forecast future catastrophic events and inform the development of technologies to mitigate their effects.

A Graphic Organizer For Research

30 minutes

I ask students to work with their Emergency Management Team (partners) to develop three (3) research questions based on their disaster. Students develop questions (SP#1) such as: What cause volcanoes?, How much damage can volcanoes make?, and How can you stay safe during an eruption?

Students work together to complete the Research Note Taking Graphic Organizer where they fill in their questions and then record each website they used to answer the questions. As students work to complete the graphic organizer, I circulate the classroom, checking to see if they are on target and also assess completion of the tool. As students collect data, they analyze and interpret data (SP#4) for patterns and relationships between their questions and the type of disaster they are researching. Students are trying to determine similarities and differences in their findings so they can report on and communicate that information (SP#8).

Why use a graphic organizer?

Graphic organizers guide the learners thinking as they complete a visual map. They are a very effective visual learning strategy and help the learner to make connections and organizer their thinking. Graphic organizers act as an instructional tool and can also be called a mind map or concept map. This type of tool helps to scaffold the learning for content and vocabulary while engaging all students in the lesson.