Teaching Tool - Be Drug Free
This presentation teaches students about the effects of drugs, including alcohol, cannabis and tobacco.
Target audience: students in Grades 6
Length of core content presentation: 1 to 2 class periods (45 - 90 minutes)
||Grades 1-8: Health and Physical Education (2015)
||C1.1, C1.2, C2.4
In delivering this presentation, the teacher will:
- Engage students in discussion and activities that present the harmful effects of tobacco, alcohol and cannabis
- Create an environment that the students feel comfortable asking questions about drugs
By the end of this presentation, students will:
- Identify the effects of alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis use
- Learn factors that influence substance use
- Practice strategies for personal safety, empowering them to make healthy choices
Core Knowledge Content
Core knowledge content provides the teacher with the background information needed to prepare and teach this health class.
Drug and their effects (essential: option 1)
: 45 minutes
- Cue PowerPoint presentation on SMART Board
- Deliver presentation to students, using notes embedded in presentation
- Pause periodically throughout presentation, asking questions to assess comprehension and engage students in discussion
If the content of the presentation is overwhelming for your class, consider delivering the presentation over the course of three lessons by dividing the content into smaller segments (e.g. present the section on tobacco in lesson one, the section on alcohol in lesson two, and the section on drugs in lesson three) followed by a review using the Be drug-free trivia game.
Become an expert (essential: option 2)
: Two 45 minute periods (Day 1 = research and preparation; Day 2 = presentations)
- Series information sheets produced by Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH):
- Dictionary or glossary
- Presentation materials (varies depending on format - see Variations section below
- Other resources:
- CAMH materials are written at roughly a mid-6th grade to 7th grade readability level. Review the texts to identify words that may be unfamiliar or challenging to the students.
- Provide instruction to introduce relevant vocabulary that the students will encounter in the texts or prepare a glossary of terms to accompany the resources
- Alternatively, instruct students to use reference materials (e.g. dictionary, online reference tools) to look up unfamiliar words
- Organize students into small groups and assign each group a different substance on which to become experts
- Optional: have one student in each group responsible for a different content area relating to the substance (e.g. background, physical health effects, regulation, relationship to mental health, factors influencing use, refusal)
- Provide students with appropriate resources from which to gather information
- Direct groups to use resources to create a report or other visual/written/verbal presentation on their assigned substance
- Allow each group to present their reports/presentations to the rest of the class
- Review key content and supplement/correct information where required
- Have each group of students create one piece of a larger class project (e.g. each group completes a section of a substance misuse prevention handbook)
- Allow students to present information in a variety of ways (e.g. create a video, oral presentation, visual representation such as a poster, brochure, written report, dramatic skit)
- Modify grouping based on students' needs and abilities
- Use heterogeneous groups to allow students with varying needs and abilities to participate in the activity with the help of peer support
- Use homogeneous groups to provide additional support to struggling students, while allowing advanced students to work more independently
- Arrange for students to share their presentations with other classes in the school
This activity can be connected to curriculum expectations in Language (Ontario Curriculum, Grades 1-8, Language (2006), Grade 3: Oral Communication, 2.3; Writing, 2.1, 3.8) and The Arts (Ontario Curriculum, Grades 1-8, The Arts (2009), Grade 3: Drama, B1.1; Visual Arts, D1.3).
What would you do?
: 20 minutes
- Briefly review the effects of substance use and some refusal skills students might use when offered alcohol, drugs, or tobacco (to do so, provide a summary or initiate a brief discussion
- Organize students into small groups or pairs
- Have a student read the scenario on the card aloud to the whole class and/or have a group of students act out the scenario
- Ask students to discuss the scenario in their groups, reflecting on how they would feel and what they would do if they were in that situation. Prompts:
- How might you feel?
- What could you do?
- What could be challenging about that?
- What or who can help you in this scenario (e.g. skills, resources)?
- After a few minutes, ask students to share some of their reflections with the whole class
- Repeat this activity with different scenarios
- Close the activity by reviewing some of the refusal skills and resiliency resources (e.g. trusted adults, supportive friends and family, school, community, talents/skills, etc). Write skills and resources on chart paper to be displayed in the classroom
Quick Review: Whenever time permits (5-10 minutes), revisit one or two scenarios.Place the scenario cards in a box and pick one at random whenever time permits (e.g. a short break between lesson periods or before dismissal).Read the scenario aloud and allow students to discuss it in small groups or as a whole class.
- Students can discuss scenarios in pairs or small groups as an enrichment activity after completing other work
- Students can come up with their own scenarios to which their classmates can respond
This activity can be connected to curriculum expectations in Language (Ontario Curriculum, Grades 1-8, Language (2006), Grade 3: Oral Communication, 2.3; Writing, 2.1, 3.8) and The Arts (Ontario Curriculum, Grades 1-8, The Arts (2009), Grade 3: Drama, B1.1).
Be drug-free trivia game
: 15 - 20 minutes
- Divide the class into two teams and inform them of the game rules
- Either establish a system for teams to signal in order to answer questions or alternate between teams for each question
- Each team's objective is to spell "Be drug-free" before the opposing team, earning a new letter with each correct response
- Read the first question aloud to the students and allow students to answer the question
- If the answer is correct, the team earns a letter
- Optional: If the answer is incorrect, the other team will have a chance to steal
- Supplement or clarify wherever necessary, with the help of the Core Knowledge Content
- Close the activity by discussing what they learned and how they can "Be drug-free". Ask the students: "If a group of your friends are considering using alcohol or other drugs and your decision is to remain drug-free, what could you do/say to resist this pressure?"Reinforce to students that this is not easy to do because we typically want to be liked by our peers/friends and to feel like we fit in. In some situations you might have to say "no" numerous ways and numerous times.
- Avoid the group
- Walk away
- Give reason/excuse i.e., I am in training for track and field
- Suggest an alternative i.e., let's go to the movies
- Say... "Can you imagine what would happen if my parents found out? No way - I want to live until at least tomorrow"
- Say... "Respect my decision - I respect yours"
- Say... "Look I'd rather not"
- "I'll catch up with you tomorrow - I've got other things I'd like to do"
- Quick review: Whenever time permits (5-10 minutes), the questions and answer cards from this game can be used as a quick review activity by asking the students to answer as many questions correctly in the available time as possible
- Students can also play this game in small groups or pairs
Know the facts about drugs
: 15 minutes
- Distribute a worksheet to each student
- Ask a student to read the instructions on the worksheet aloud to the class
- Have students complete the worksheet individually
- Collect the worksheet for assessment
- Instead of collecting worksheets, discuss answers together (small group or whole class)
- Allow students to complete worksheets with a partner
- Read questions aloud for struggling readers
- Allow struggling writers to respond to short answer questions verbally and/or have someone scribe responses on the worksheet
- Rather than using this as an assessment, complete worksheet questions as a whole class by projecting it onto the SMART Board
Fact vs. fiction
: 20 minutes
- SMART board
- Examples of substance use in media (images, songs or video clips)
- Chart paper or white board and markers
- Search online for examples of substance use in media, especially in movies, music and TV shows that are popular among students in the class
- Examples of tobacco use in films can be found at smokefreemovies.ca
- IMDB includes information about substance use in movies/shows (Parents Guide)
- Examples from movies:
- Alcohol in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Alcohol in Beauty and the Beast
- Alcohol in Guardians of the Galaxy (video game and film)
- Alcoholism in The Hunger Games series
- Tobacco and alcohol in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
- Tobacco and alcohol in Snatched (14A)
- Tobacco and alcohol in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
- Examples from TV shows:
- Drugs and alcohol in 13 Reasons Why (US Rated TV-MA, unsuitable under 17)
- Drugs and alcohol in Switched at Birth
- Drugs, alcohol and tobacco in Awkward
- Drugs, alcohol and caffeine pill addiction in Pretty Little Liars (14A)
- Drugs, alcohol and tobacco in Teen Wolf
- Tobacco and alcohol in Modern Family
- Examples from songs:
- Drugs, alcohol and tobacco in Castle on the Hill by Ed Sheeran
- Drugs and alcohol in Here by Alessia Cara
- Alcohol in Say You Won't Let Go by James Arthur
- Alcohol in Hotline Bling by Drake
- Organize students into small groups (3-4 students)
- Play a short clip of a popular song (including a reference to alcohol, drugs or tobacco) and have students discuss what they heard
- Ask students to think about the TV shows and movies they watch and whether they have noticed any substance use. Ask them to discuss how substance use is depicted in their favourite shows, movies, songs, etc.
- Present images or video clips of examples and ask students to discuss how the use of drugs, alcohol and tobacco are depicted in the clip
- Ask students to discuss other places they might see substance use in the media (e.g. TV commercials, ads at sporting events) and how these depict substance use
- Move on to a whole class discussion about their perception of substance use in the media. Ask students what kinds of things they notice about how substance use is portrayed in ads, movies, TV shows and songs
- On chart paper or a whiteboard, create a t-chart and in the left column (Fiction) write down some of the students' reflections on the examples shown, using key words or phrases (e.g. "cool", "rich", "fun", "sick", "peer pressure", "gross", etc.)
- Ask students to discuss briefly with their groups what they know about the effects of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco (e.g. physical health, mental health, relationships, behaviours, etc.)
- Move on to a whole class discussion about the effects of substance use
- In the right column (Fact) of the t-chart, write down the effects identified by the students
- Ask the students to discuss with their groups the similarities and differences between media depictions and the real effects of substance use
- Ask students to discuss why media depictions glamourize substance use (i.e. what purposes and audience media creators are trying to reach, what messages they are trying to portray, and what factors, such as advertising dollars, influence the representations of substance use in media)
- Have students complete their own t-charts using a simple graphic organizer worksheet when presented a video clip or image
- Have students create an illustration contrasting media depictions of substance use and the reality of its effects
- Have students find examples of depictions as homework and bring them in to present them to the class
- This can be made into a group project in which small groups contrast depictions of one of the substances discussed and create some visual or textual comparison between media and reality. This can become a presentation to the whole class.
This activity can be connected to curriculum expectations in Language (Ontario Curriculum, Grades 1-8, Language (2006), Grade 6: Media Literacy, 1.2, 1.5).
Consult Your School Health Nurse
Your school's public health nurse can help you prepare for delivering this presentation and can assist you in developing engaging projects and extension activities. To reach your school health nurse, contact email@example.com or 905-688-8248 ext. 7379.