This activity is a part of the Misunderstood Microbes unit. 

1. Project groups determine the key design features for their PSA.

  • Review the design features in Misunderstood Microbes: PSA Rubric so students can ensure that their PSA will meet the project and assessment goals.
  • Direct students to revisit the design squares on the PSA Design Analyzer from the Microbes in and on Humans lesson, on which they recorded notes about the design elements of the sample PSAs.
  • In their project groups, students should discuss their ideas about the key design features of the sample PSAs. Prompt groups to record the elements that they agree should be part of their PSA in the blank design square on Part C of the Misunderstood Microbes PSA Project Builder.
  • As groups discuss, circulate to help them come to a consensus. Emphasize that the notes that go in the square should relate to the design of the PSA, rather than the content (which will be addressed in Step 2).

2. Project groups determine which information to include in their PSA.

  • After groups decide on the design elements for their PSA, they should use the Storyboard Template in Part C of their project builder to compile the key information, timing, text/audio, and visuals for each section of their PSA.
  • Review each group’s storyboard before they move on to the creation of their PSA.

3. Project groups collaborate to create their PSA.

  • Encourage group members to take on different roles as they create their PSA. Roles can include fact checker, actor/narrator, video producer, animator/illustrator.
  • Given the limited time that students have to create their PSA, emphasize execution over perfection. Ensure that they address each part of the storyboard to create a narrative arc that fits the PSA genre.
  • Introduce and provide access to the options available to students for creating their PSA, including but not limited to: online animation tools, short live action films, a visual poster, or collaborative presentation.  

4. Focus group feedback and finalize PSAs.

  • Provide time for groups to share their PSA with a “focus group” who can provide feedback on the clarity of their message.
  • The PSA Rubric can be used to evaluate the PSA at this time.
  • Give groups time to edit, revise, or polish their PSA.

Informal Assessment

Part C of the Misunderstood Microbes Project Builder can be used to assess group progress on PSA creation, as well as their understanding of their microbe. Consider providing students with a collaboration rubric (such as this one from the Buck Institute for Education), to assess themselves and/or peers on their collaboration skills.

Subjects & Disciplines

  • Biology
    • Health

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Collaborate to create a PSA about their group’s microbe and the importance of its eradication.

Teaching Approach

  • Project-based learning

Teaching Methods

  • Cooperative learning
  • Discussions
  • Writing

Skills Summary

This activity targets the following skills:

Connections to National Standards, Principles, and Practices

Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy

Next Generation Science Standards

What You’ll Need

Materials You Provide

  • Printed handouts or digital access to student handouts

Required Technology

  • Internet Access: Required
  • Tech Setup: 1 computer per classroom, 1 computer per pair, Monitor/screen, Printer, Projector

Physical Space

  • Classroom


Depending on the options available to students for creating their PSA (including, but not limited to: online animation tools used in the example PSAs shown throughout the Microbes in and On Humans lesson, short live action films, a visual poster, or collaborative presentation), have the appropriate tools available.


  • Small-group learning
  • Small-group work

Background Information

Microbes are organisms that are too small to be seen by the human eye and include bacteria, archaea, protists, viruses, and fungi. Although some microbes cause disease, they are also crucial to the functioning of human bodies through processes such as digestion and aiding the immune system. The microbes found on a person’s body are collectively known as a person’s microbiome, especially those found in body organs and systems such as their skin, hair, and digestive system.  


Most of microbes’ interactions with humans are neutral or beneficial. However, they also can make us sick by acting as infectious agents. Microbes can cause disease through a variety of body organs and systems, which has cascading effects throughout the whole system and human body. Depending on the nature of their impacts on humans, the importance of eradicating particular microbes may vary.


Public service announcements (PSAs) are a way to communicate important information (often about a social issue or health concern) to a broad audience. A successful PSA is short, engaging, and contains a persuasive message for the viewer to act on in their everyday lives.


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