Plan Your PSA

In this lesson, students will use what they've learned about impaired driving, how it affects their peers, and how to design and deliver an effective message to create their own PSA storyboards. Students will use the experiences from this unit as a springboard for planning their entries for the Drive2Life PSA Contest. (Please note that only individual entries will be accepted.)

Students will analyze the impact of communication and messaging on behavior and plan a clear message to promote passenger and driver safety in impaired-driving situations with friends.

W.11-12.2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

Students will be able to:

  • Create through images, words, and explanation informative PSAs that incorporate research from multiple sources, reach the intended audience, and use various communication techniques to express a clear, accurate message that promotes passenger and driver safety in an impaired-driving situation with a teen driver.


PSA Storyboard Graphic Organizer and Storyboard Rubric [download PDFs]
Sample Student PSA Scripts and Storyboards:


Introduce the overarching question: How much impact can a PSA have on our behavior? 

As a class, watch and discuss other iconic and effective PSAs:

For each video identify the message and discuss: What tactics were used to communicate the message? How has this message become part of our collective psyche? Do the videos use positive reinforcement to encourage positive behavior or change?

Explain to students that they will be designing their own PSAs that encourage drivers and passengers to make safe decisions if they're impaired, or when a friend they're getting a ride from or are in a car with is impaired, or if a friend who is about to get into a car to drive is impaired. Challenge students to come up with messages that will resonate as much as the examples they viewed. 

Directions for the PSA Storyboard
A storyboard is a visual way to plot out a TV script and story. Movie directors and animators use storyboards to plot out their thinking and ideas. You will be creating a storyboard for a PSA that shows a teen passenger or driver making a safe decision in an impaired-driving situation.

In the blank boxes, draw images of what you want to show on the screen. On the lines underneath, write the audio portion. In the "audio" lines, write music, sound effects, and dialogue. In the Special Effects (SFX) line, write any effects, such as distortion, blur, and color alteration. Finally, in the "Superscript" line, write any text, such as titles or credits, that you want to add to the screen. As you work, use the assignment rubric to guide your PSA.

Suggestions and Modifications

  • For students who need additional support with sequencing, have them break down an NRSF PSA into a storyboard before starting their own.
  • During the brainstorming process, students can use sticky notes to create the first drafts of their storyboards.

Final Reflection
After students have completed their storyboards, have them write two-page reflection papers about their PSAs. What do they want the viewer to take away? How did they achieve their final messages?

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