Taking it to the Community

Author: Rachel Hughes

Time: 2+ days
Preparation Time:  

Student-created poster
props for commercial
public service message sheet

Over the past quarter students have studied various aspects of diseases and epidemics in social studies, language arts, mathematics and biology. By this time they have created a poster in science, a commercial in social studies and a bookmark or some other take-away outreach item in language arts. They developed these materials around different local health issues. They are now ready to share their outreach materials with their peers and then with their chosen audience within the community. Students may already have established contacts with whom to share their work, or you may wish to connect with an organization on behalf of your students. If possible, inviting the public health visitor from earlier in the semester would be a wonderful way to connect again with an outside group(s) this individual may have ties with.

Students will be able to:

1. Communicate with an audience about a public health issue in multiple manners.

National Science Education Standard:
Content Standard F - Science in Personal and Social Perspective
The severity of disease symptoms is dependent on many factors, such as human resistance and the virulence of the disease-producing organism. Many diseases can be prevented, controlled, or cured. Some diseases, such as cancer, result from specific body dysfunctions and cannot be transmitted.

Personal choice concerning fitness and health involves multiple factors. Personal goals, peer and social pressures, ethnic and religious beliefs, plus an understanding of biological consequences can all influence decisions about health practices.

Teacher Background
You may wish to connect with the public health official who visited earlier in the semester about displaying the students’ work with a local community health office, doctor’s office, library, community center, hospital lobby, or non-profit health related organization (ex. American Lung Association). You may ask the students to make the initial contact and arrange the posting of their work.



This lesson should be timed to coincide with the completion of the other materials in social studies, language arts and mathematics. The students will share their outreach materials within their science class. It should not matter whether they were with the same group in the other disciplines as students will be responsible for work on one public health issue in each discipline. For each discipline studied, each group should produce enough so that they can take any materials to their science groups’ outreach exhibition.

1. Today is the groups’ opportunity to show off all their hard work and to get a final review before they take the materials to the larger audience. To fully benefit from the museum walk, students are to be given a comparison task. Share with the students that the more informed they are about the other public health issues, the better they will be able to revise their own materials. Remind them that the purpose of the posters, take-away outreach materials and commercial is to pass on a message to an audience. Public health service messages often aim to change a behavior. Having their peers review their poster will give them the first assessment if they have met their original objective. Do their peers leave with the right message?

2. Students set up their displays; they should include examples of their ‘take-away’ outreach items, their poster and the storyboard and script of their commercial. There will be one student, a curator, at their display at any given time to answer questions. While there is a curator at the display at all times the rule is that they may not be asked a question or answer any question in any form of the following query: “What is the hoped for behavior modification of your public service message?”

3. Students rotate the role of curator among the group allowing all students to review the displays and to individually complete their public service message sheet. Each student must identify the behavior modification that the public service message attempted to address and how that is linked to the public health issue.

4. Approximately every ten minutes into the museum walk remind students that someone in their group must switch with the curator to allow them all an opportunity to review the displays. Allow 5-8 minutes at the end of class for the groups to reconvene and identify 3 approaches that they saw in other groups’ displays which they think might have been particularly effective and something that they particularly appreciated about the display(s).

5. Ask students to identify each others message and the scientific explanation for that message in either a written form or in a class discussion.

6. After reviewing the student assessments, you should share the feedback with the groups so that they may modify their projects as needed.

7. Students can now share their materials with the organizations that they have contacted.

Embedded Assessment

Peer assessment of the effectiveness of outreach materials gives immediate feedback to students as to their ability to communicate a message.



PULSE is a project of the Community Outreach and Education Program of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center and is funded by:

NIH/NCRR award #16260-01A1
The Community Outreach and Education Program is part of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center: an NIEHS Award


Supported by NIEHS grant # ES06694

1996-2007, The University of Arizona
Last update: November 10, 2009
  Page Content: Rachel Hughes
Web Master: Travis Biazo