Scholastic Lesson 1: Choices and Benefits

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Goal:

Explore the choices involved in saying “YES” to a healthy lifestyle and “NO” to underage drinking

Time required: 40 minutes, plus homework

Materials required: Student Magazine, Worksheet A, Internet access or printouts of the Student Assessment, pen or pencil, paper, family activity sheets

Getting Started

  • Assess student knowledge! Distribute copies of the Student Assessment. Ask students to check the “pre-assessment” box and take the pre-assessment to show what they know.
  • Discuss actions that support a healthy lifestyle, including physical activity, eating healthy food, wearing helmets when biking,and saying “NO” to underage drinking.

Using the Student Magazine/Worksheet

  • Distribute copies of the Student Magazine. Read about how Ashley Wagner’s choices helped her become a champion figure skater.
  • Ask students to discuss the things that can make it difficult to make healthy choices (e.g., peer pressure, believing that nothing bad will happen to you). Brainstorm ideas for adopting attitudes or life plans that support students in making healthy choices.
  • Distribute Worksheet A. Place students in groups to identify the choices required to meet life goals. Ask the groups to present their ideas to the class.

Wrap-up

  • Write this statement on the board: Your brain doesn’t stop developing until your mid 20s. Explain that—because their brains and bodies are still growing—the healthy choices students make today influence their brain function and mobility into adulthood.
  • For homework, ask students to use the back cover of the Student Magazine to write three reasons why underage drinking does not support a healthy lifestyle. Distribute the family worksheets and instruct students to discuss underage drinking with their family members and complete Family Activity Sheet B at home.

Lesson 2: Know Your Body- What Helps It, What Harms It

Goal:

Understand the ways that alcohol affects various internal organs

Time required: 40 minutes, plus homework

Materials required: Student Magazine, Worksheet B, highlighters, poster board, markers or colored pencils

Getting Started

  • Ask students what their bodies need to be healthy. List their responses on the board.
  • Review the chart “A Work in Progress” in the Student Magazine. Discuss the factors that developing bodies need to be healthy, and how alcohol affects those factors.

Using the Student Magazine/Worksheet

  • Distribute Worksheet B. Discuss how alcohol affects various internal organs.
  • Draw a chart titled “Impacts of Underage Drinking” on the board with three columns: Physical, Social/Emotional, Academic/Athletic Performance. Separate students into groups and have them create their own impact chart identifying and categorizing eight to 10 consequences of alcohol use into one of the three categories.

Wrap-up

  • Write this statement on the board: Alcohol is absorbed through the stomach and travels through the body in the blood. Alcohol impacts every organ in the body, and only takes 30 seconds to reach the brain.
  • For homework, instruct students to use “A Work in Progress,” Worksheet B, and independent research to create posters or storyboards illustrating how one internal organ operates in the body, how to keep that organ healthy, and how alcohol can damage that organ.

Lesson 3: Alcohol and the Developing Brain

Goal:

Understand the harmful effects of alcohol on the teenage brain

Time required: 40 minutes, plus homework

Materials required: Student Magazine, Internet access or printouts of the Student Assessment, paper, pen or pencil, drawing paper, colored pencils

Getting Started

  • Write “Short-Term Effects” and “Long-Term Effects” on the board. Discuss the short-term effects drinking alcohol has on the brain, e.g., slowed thinking, impaired judgment, and diminished coordination. Describe how—due to his or her slowed reaction time—an intoxicated person may slur or stumble, as well as have dangerously delayed reactions while driving.
  • Explain that, because drinking alcohol impairs people’s ability to reason, they may engage in dangerous behavior—such as drunk driving—without being fully aware of how significantly their brain functioning has been impaired. As a consequence, we have laws about driving under the influence of alcohol.
  • Explain that the amount of alcohol in the body is measured by the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) and the legal limit for driving after drinking alcohol is a BAC of 0.08. But if you are underage, any amount of alcohol can result in a DUI (driving under the influence) arrest.

Using the Student Magazine/Worksheet

  • Ask: What is the legal age for drinking alcohol? Write the following statement on the board: It is against the law to drink alcohol if you are 20 years old or younger. Explain to students that their brains are still developing. Drinking alcohol can have a damaging effect on brains that have not yet fully matured.
  • Ask students to carefully review “Brain Drain” in the magazine to identify which parts of the brain are most harmed by underage drinking. Write this statement on the board: Your brain contains multiple systems that control all of your body functions. Alcohol affects your entire brain and can permanently damage how your brain operates.
  • Separate students into groups and instruct them to create a graphic that illustrates the short-term and long-term effects of alcohol consumption. Challenge them to consider how underage alcohol use can contribute to risky decision making and social problems.

Wrap-up

  • Assess student knowledge! Distribute copies of the Student Assessment. Ask students to check the “post-assessment” box and take the post-assessment to show what they learned. Discuss the correct answers to the assessment with students: 1. (A) Every organ; 2. (B) 30 seconds; 3. (D) Your entire brain; 4. (A) True, (A) True, (A) True; 5. (D) All of the above; 6. Answers will vary; 7. All boxes should be checked.
  • Give students a copy of the quiz to bring home. Encourage them to challenge their family members about their knowledge of alcohol’s effects on the body.

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