Teaching Tool - Substance Misuse

This presentation teaches students about the effects of alcohol, cannabis, prescription medications and designer drugs.

Target audience: students in Grade 8
Length of core content presentation: 75 minutes

Criteria Met

Grade Ontario Curriculum Codes
8 Grades 1-8: Health and Physical Education (2015) C1.2, C1.3, C2.2, C2.3

Goals

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

Objectives

By the end of this presentation, students will:

  • Identify the effects of substance use and misuse
  • Learn factors that influence substance use
  • Practice strategies for personal safety, empowering them to make healthy choices
  • Learn emergency procedures and become familiar with community resources
  • Recognize the link between mental health and substance misuse

Core Knowledge Content

Core knowledge content provides the teacher with the background information needed to prepare and teach this health class.

Learning Activities

  • Crash landing presentation (essential)
    Time: 45 minutes

    Materials

    Instructions

    • Cue PowerPoint presentation on SMART board
    • Deliver presentation to students, using notes embedded in presentation
    • Pause periodically throughout presentation pose questions to assess comprehension and engage students in discussion

    Variations

    • When prompted in the presentation notes, have students complete Scenario worksheets and discuss their responses
    • If the content of the presentation is overwhelming for your class, consider delivering the presentation over the course of two lessons by dividing the content into smaller segments (e.g. present the section on alcohol in lesson one, and the section on drugs in lesson two) followed by a review using the substance misuse trivia game
  • Scenario worksheets (essential)
    Time: 30 minutes

    Materials

    Instructions

    • Open activity with a brief discussion of refusal strategies and resiliency resources. Ask:
      • What are some ways to say "no" when you do not want to participate in something?
      • What things (e.g. people or skills) can help you stick to decisions and make healthy choices?
    • Divide students into 5 groups and assign each group a different scenario worksheet
    • Instruct groups to work on their scenarios for 10 minutes, during which time they are to complete the worksheet provided
    • After 10 minutes, gather the students for a whole class discussion
    • Ask the first group to read their scenario aloud and to present their response
    • Allow other students to offer their interpretations and suggestions for appropriate responses and strategies
    • Supplement responses using answer sheet to assist with discussion as needed
    • Repeat with the remaining scenarios

    Variations

    • Have students complete scenario worksheets individually and collect them for assessment
    • Have students complete this activity throughout the Crash landing PowerPoint presentation using the prompts integrated in the presentation notes
    • Allow students to complete this activity in small groups, using a Gallery Walk format
      • Place each of the scenario worksheets at a different table or station in the room with one group at each station at a time. Have each group work on a different scenario for 5 minutes before moving to the next station. Repeat until groups have responded to each scenario.
    • Have students complete a parent-adolescent agreement or contract to establish rules relating to substance use and personal safety in various situations
    • Supplement: Choose Your Path video
  • Don't use. Refuse!
    Time: 20 minutes

    Materials

    Instructions

    • 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 discussion)
    • Organize students into small groups or pairs
    • Have a student read the scenario on the card aloud to the class
    • 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
    • Supplement or clarify information as needed using Core Knowledge Content
      • Refer to Supplemental Knowledge section to find information to promote mental wellness
    • 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.

    Variations

    • Have students act out the scenarios and responses
    • Have students discuss scenarios in pairs or small groups as an enrichment activity
    • Have students come up with their own scenarios to which their classmates can respond
    • Quick Review: Whenever time permits (5-10 minutes), revisit one or two scenarios

    Curriculum Connections

    This activity can be connected to curriculum expectations in Language (Ontario Curriculum, Grades 1-8, Language (2006), Grade 8: Oral Communication, 2.3) and Arts (Ontario Curriculum, Grades 1-8, The Arts (2009), Grade 8: Drama, B1.1).

    Use scenarios to initiate a discussion about mental health and promoting mental wellness (Ontario Curriculum, Grades 1-8, Health and Physical Education (2015), Grade 8: Healthy Living C2.3).

  • Substance misuse trivia game
    Time: 20 minutes

    Materials

    Instructions

    • Divide the class into 2 or more teams. Teams may take turns responding to questions or "ring in" to answer first.
    • Read a question from one of the trivia cards aloud
    • Allow one team to answer the question. If the answer is correct, award that team one point. If the answer is incorrect, permit the other team(s) to answer.
    • Confirm the correct response, expanding on it if students appear confused
    • Repeat with the rest of the trivia cards

    Variation

    • Students may play this game in small groups or pairs as an enrichment activity after finishing other work
    • Allow students to do research to create additional trivia questions and answers and integrate those into the game
    • Quick Review: use cards at a later date for quick review whenever time permits
  • Show what you know about substance misuse
    Time: 15 minutes

    Materials

    Instructions

    • 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 or in pairs
    • Correct the worksheets as a class
      • Project a blank worksheet onto the SMART board
      • Go through each question, having students provide their answers
      • Correct and supplement any information using the answer key and the Core Knowledge Content as needed
      • Write correct response to each question on the projected worksheet before moving on to the next question
    • Ask students how well they feel they were able to complete the worksheet
    • Ask them to reflect on what they learned and what prior knowledge they were able to use

    Variations

    • Use the worksheets as a formal assessment activity by having students complete them individually and collecting the worksheets to mark them
    • 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
  • You use, you lose
    Time: 30 minutes

    Materials

    • Student materials vary depending on format chosen to complete activity
    • Chart paper and markers

    Instructions

    • Open a whole-class discussion inviting students to name some of their favourite activities (some may mention playing sports, watching TV, reading, dancing, playing video games, etc.)
    • Instruct students to work individually to create a representation of their preferred activity (e.g. an illustration and/or written description of the activity and what they enjoy about it)
    • As a whole class, discuss the impacts of drug use on the ability to engage in certain activities. Ask students to reflect on what they know about the effects of drug use and whether/how these effects would impact their ability to enjoy those same activities. Examples:
      • Withdrawal from social circles affecting activities enjoyed with friends
      • Slowed brain and body functions caused by depressants can make certain activities more dangerous (e.g. cycling, walking)
      • Blurred vision, decreased coordination, and slowed reaction time (e.g. from alcohol consumption or cannabis use) can affect performance in activities like sports and video games
      • Decreased concentration (e.g. from cannabis use) can make it difficult to enjoy reading or watching movies/TV
      • Athletic performance can be negatively impacted by cannabis (increasing heart rate and irritating lungs) and drinking alcohol (damage to organs, decreased motor skills, weight gain and hangovers)
      • Drugs including cannabis, hallucinogens, and even caffeine can affect mental health and cause restlessness and anxiety, affecting all aspects of a person's life
      • Injury or death would prevent enjoyment of any of these activities
      • Legal consequences of drug/alcohol use, including punishment for behaviours while intoxicated such as driving while impaired might mean they cannot engage in those activities
    • Instruct students to work individually to create a representation of how drugs would negatively impact their ability to enjoy their preferred activity
    • As a whole class, discuss some of the students' representations. On chart paper, write down some of activities that can be negatively affected by drug use. Post the chart paper in the center of a bulletin board or wall in the classroom or hallway.
    • Allow students to complete their representations. Post their work on the board/wall around the chart paper.
      • Optional: Have students create a "You use, you lose" banner to post above the board/wall

    Variations

    • Allow students to act out their chosen activities and the effects of substance misuse presenting a dramatization to a small group or to the whole class

    Curriculum Connections

    This activity can be connected to curriculum expectations in Language (Ontario Curriculum, Grades 1-8, Language (2006), Grade 8: Oral Communication, 2.3) and The Arts (Ontario Curriculum, Grades 1-8, The Arts (2009), Grade 8: Drama, B1.1; Visual Arts, D1.1).

  • What you see versus what you get
    Time: 20 minutes

    Materials

    • SMART board
    • Examples of substance use in media (images or video clips)
    • Chart paper or white board and markers

    Prepare Ahead

    • 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 consumption in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
      • Alcohol consumption in Beauty and the Beast
      • Alcohol consumption in Guardians of the Galaxy (video game and film)
      • Alcohol consumption in The Hunger Games series (one of the main characters is an alcoholic and shown drinking on screen repeatedly)
      • 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
      • Tobacco and alcohol in Suicide Squad (PG-13)
      • Drugs and alcohol in Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (14A; R in USA)
      • Drugs, tobacco, and alcohol in Bad Moms (14A; R in USA)
      • Drugs and tobacco in Dirty Grandpa (14A; R in USA)
    • 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 smoking in Awkward
      • Drugs, alcohol and caffeine pill addiction in Pretty Little Liars (14A)
      • Drugs, alcohol and tobacco in Teen Wolf
      • Drugs and alcohol in The Vampire Diaries (14A)
      • Alcohol and tobacco in Modern Family
      • Alcohol and some drug references in The New Girl
    • Examples from songs:
      • Tobacco and alcohol in Castle on the Hill by Ed Sheeran
      • Drugs and alcohol in Here by Alessia Cara
      • Alcohol consumption in Royals by Lorde (commentary on alcohol in music)
      • Alcohol consumption in Say You Won’t Let Go by James Arthur
      • Alcohol consumption in It Ain’t Me by Selena Gomez
      • Alcohol consumption in Shape of You by Ed Sheeran

    Instructions

    • 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. beer commercials) 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 (Media) 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 (Reality) 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)

    Variations / Additions

    • Students can find examples of depictions as homework and bring them in to present them to the class
    • Students can complete their own t-charts using a graphic organizer worksheet when presented a video clip or image
    • Students can demonstrate learning by creating an illustration contrasting media depictions of substance use and the reality of its effects
    • 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.

    Curriculum Connections

    This activity can be connected to curriculum expectations in Language (Ontario Curriculum, Grades 1-8, Language (2006), Grade 8: Media Literacy, 1.1, 1.2, and 1.6).

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 healthyschools@niagararegion.ca or 905-688-8248 ext. 7379.


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