In both language
arts and social studies lessons students will review
a variety of public service announcements and create
public health service messages in other forms. Be
sure to collaborate with the social studies and language
arts teachers to make sure that overlapping use of
public service messages is minimal among the subjects.
(There are more than two involved, right?)
Throughout the semester students have considered
a number of local public health issues. Having been
introduced to disease, immunity and issues of vaccinations,
antibiotics and emerging diseases, they will develop
a poster that communicates an important aspect of
the science behind the prevention or treatment of
a disease or another public health issue.
1. Begin the class by sharing some public health
service message posters. These can be found at the
school nurse’s office, local community health
center, etc. You may also wish to connect with the
public health visitor who you had visit earlier in
the semester to identify some posters that focus
on the science aspect of local public health issues.
There are also a number of posters available online
through the Center for Disease Control, http://www.cdc.gov and through the National Institutes of Health, http://www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/visualculture/vchome.html;
use the search function to find posters.
2. Ask students, “Why might it be important
to communicate the science behind an issue?” Is
it important to have a scientific understanding of
an issue? Do students think that having scientific
literacy is conducive to being health literate and
also being an informed patient?
3. Remind students of their challenge: They are to
create a poster that is appealing and understandable
to their chosen audience in addition to explaining
the science behind the issue.
4. Students have already identified the audience;
you may also wish to put them in charge of identifying
venues and requesting to have their posters displayed
there. Next week students will share their posters
and other aspects of outreach to their peers, but
it is actual outreach into the community that is
5. As a class, draw upon the posters that they have
seen and use examples to establish what would be
important features to include in the poster, including:
who is the audience, the amount and level of content,
graphic design, size etc. You may wish to use their
feedback to develop a class rubric.
While students may not be working with the same
students as in their social studies and language
arts classes, they will be working on the similar
topics. This allows them to develop a larger collective
6. During the previous week students have been working
in groups on their topics. Now they will begin working
on putting their ideas and research on paper. Students
should identify the one message they want to get
across. How are they visually going to address that
message? They should sketch this message out. How
would they get this message across in words? Can
they keep the written version short and catchy?
7. Once students have a rough draft, set up a peer
editing session. Students should peer edit for both
spelling and grammar and also for content. If you
have chosen to develop a more explicit class rubric
for the posters, peers should use this to edit. If
you are able to connect with the public health official,
and they have the opportunity, including them in
this editing process can give students valuable feedback.
8. Allow students to develop their final poster product.
9. Before any of the materials are shared, check
that the content is correct.
Students may wish to work on the poster at home.
poster allows for assessment of students’ ability
to explain the scientific principles behind a public
health issue in a visual manner.