TOPSS — Psychology Awareness Initiative (PAI) Activities

The Psychology Awareness Initiative gives teachers maximum flexibility in helping promote awareness of psychology in their schools and in their communities. Below is a list of suggestions from the TOPSS Committee that may be used as a guide for implementing your own psychology awareness program.

If you have any questions about these awareness activities or a suggestion to add to this list, please contact one of the TOPSS committee members.

Psychology Awareness on Your Campus

In your classroom:
  • Create t-shirts highlighting psychological information or people
  • Create a class website that contains general information about psychology and also links to stories about recent research in psychology
  • Invite professional speakers to your class and invite other classes to listen in, especially with topics related to adolescents (eating disorders, dating and violence, depression, etc.)
  • Team teach with another teacher on coordinated lessons
Around the school:
  • Use the hallways of your school to display student work
  • Create posters indicating how psychological research affects and improves our daily lives
  • Promote or create a school Psychology Club 
  • Celebrate a special week (such as Brain Awareness Week or the birthday of your favorite psychologist) with trivia contests, prizes and announcements
  • Advertise your course during registration time so that even students who do not enroll in your course this year will know what happens in psychology
  • Use your school’s website, newspaper or TV channel to promote psychology awareness or focus on specific psychology-related issues
  • Share what you know from psychological research about how learning happens (in areas such as memory, attention, effective ways to study, motivation and others) with other teachers at your school and in your district

Psychology Awareness in the Community

  • Put on a display or have an informational booth at a school Open House or PTSA meeting about psychology
  • Share 5-10 minute demonstrations on psychological topics at Open House to both show parents what happens in your classroom but also to educate them
  • Volunteer to do a brief demonstration about psychology in a local middle or elementary school class
  • Put on a display at the community/public library/local museum
  • Create a reach out program with middle and elementary school aged students
  • Promote Mental Health Awareness in your community--help identify supportive resources (especially ones that would appeal to adolescents)
  • Create psychology trunks that illustrate different psychological principles and share the with middle school teachers, or take them to community outlets
  • Create a service learning program at your school for psychology students
  • Create a Psychology Newsletter providing information to the community on psychological issues
  • Create bookmarks highlighting psychology information and make them available in your public library

Psychology Awareness Through Student Research

  • Sponsor a Psychology Fair that is open to the whole school
  • Highlight student research projects in the school paper or poster displays in the library
  • Recognize winners and past winners of psychology contests and fairs at your school and in the community newspaper
  • Hold a “teach in” to discuss ethical issues, the APA ethics code, the role of an IRB, etc.
  • Invite members of a local university’s IRB to your school to talk about how they make decisions