Teaching Tool - Substance Use (Grade 8)

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

Learning goals

  • I will identify the effects of substance use
  • I will learn factors that influence substance use
  • I will practice strategies for personal safety, empowering to make healthy choices
  • I will learn emergency procedures and become familiar with community resources
  • I will recognize the link between mental health and substance use

Core knowledge content

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

Ontario curriculum expectations

Grades 1-8: Health and Physical Education (2019)

  • D1.2 identify situations that could lead to injury or death, and describe behaviours that can help to reduce risk (Personal Safety and Injury Prevention). This specific expectation is also connected with the social emotional learning expectations A1.2 Coping, A1.5 Self, and A1.6 Thinking.
  • D1.3 identify and describe the warning signs of problematic substance use and related behaviours for a variety of activities and substances, including cannabis, and the consequences that can occur (Substance Use, Addictions and Related Behaviours).
  • D2.2 demonstrate the ability to assess situations for potential dangers, and apply strategies for avoid dangerous situations (Personal Safety and Injury Prevention). This specific expectation is also connected with the social emotional learning expectations A1.2 Coping and A1.6 Thinking.

Learning activities

Substance use presentation

This presentation gives a brief overview that recaps the different substances that are used, addictions, and related behaviours.

Don't use. Refuse!

For this activity, students will discuss refusal skills that are essential when being offered a substance(s). Students will be provided scenario cards that they will read and discuss in groups.

Substance use trivia game

For this activity, students will be divided into teams of 2 or more. Students will be given a trivia question, where they “ring in” to answer before the opposing team(s).

Show what you know about substance use

This worksheet is for students to review what they know about substance use. Questions are relevant to the crash landing presentation.

You use, you lose

In this activity, the class will discuss the impacts of drug use on the ability to engage in certain day-to-day activities that they participate in.

What you see versus what you get

For this activity, students will be shown images or video clips of examples where substances are used. In groups, they will discuss where they might see substance use in the media and how these depict substance use.

Supplementary resources

Curriculum connections

Oral communication - Ontario Language Curriculum (2006)

  • 1.2 demonstrate an understanding of appropriate listening behaviour by adapting active listening strategies to suit a wide variety of situations, including work in groups
  • 1.5 develop and explain interpretations of oral texts using the language of the text and oral and visual cues to support their interpretations
  • 1.6 extend understanding of oral texts, including increasingly complex text, by connecting, comparing, and contrasting the ideas and information in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights

Reading - Ontario Language Curriculum (2006)

  • 1.6 extend understanding of texts, including increasingly complex or difficult texts, by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other texts, and to the world around them

Writing - Ontario Language Curriculum (2006)

  • 1.6 determine whether the ideas and information they have gathered are relevant, appropriate, and sufficiently specific for the purpose, and do more research if necessary

Media literacy - Ontario Language Curriculum (2006): What you see versus what you get

  • 1.2 interpret increasingly complex or difficult media texts, using overt and implied messages as evidence for their interpretations
  • 1.5 demonstrate understanding that different media texts reflect different points of view and that some texts reflect multiple points of views
  • 2.1 explain how individual elements of various media forms combine to create, reinforce, and/or enhance meaning
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