"You can't judge a book by its
To learn that how something is packaged is not necessarily the way it really is.
Children in the K-to-3 age range are very believing individuals. They feel if someone in a
position of authority, especially an adult, tells them something or requests them to do
something, it is right for them to follow the direction. Children of this age are
vulnerable and may be encouraged to believe, try, or accept something without
understanding the real consequences of their actions. In the area of drug abuse, they may
come to believe that marijuana use is O.K. or that it is not very harmful because someone
older said so. This could lead to experimenting with the drug or becoming an unwitting
participant in its sale or transfer. It is very important for children of this age to know
whom to trust and how to receive the real, accurate message regarding something they are
going to do, buy, or support. Learning to question the truth of messages sent to children
this age can often be a first step to understanding that questioning first is better than
wishing you had questioned after action was taken.
As a warm-up to this lesson have the students recall a time when they purchased a toy that
they saw on a television advertisement. Then generate a discussion about whether the toy
was what they had imagined it would be from the advertisement. If it was not, have them
talk about the disappointment or the frustration they felt when they discovered what they
thought was going to be a certain way was not.
Following this, share with the class items purchased from a grocery store (items
such as bags of pasta, candy bars, bottles of juice) and have them say whether they think
two similar items are the same. Then tell them the amounts in each of the packages. Have
them discuss their thoughts and feelings about packages that look the same but contain
different quantities. Emphasis should be placed on how you have to look very carefully at
an item (message) to be sure of its truthfulness and accuracy. Have the students develop
an advertisement that accurately depicts the toy they talked about in the warm-up exercise
as a follow-up activity.
Articles purchased in a grocery store that are similar such as candy bars, bags of pasta,
bottles of juice. Poster board or paper and crayons or colored markers for students to
make an advertisement for a toy they have purchased.
The direct link between drug use prevention and this lesson is that students (children)
may believe that how someone describes something is right, especially if the person is
older. If, for instance, the older person says that trying marijuana wont hurt you
in any way or holding it for an older sibling is O.K., children may do these things. They
have to be fully aware that they need to get the facts and personally assess the accuracy
of the information before taking an action. During this lesson, it is important for the
teacher to allow students to process the information rather than telling them what is
right or wrong. They need to become comfortable with a personal assessment of situations,
messages, and people.
This worksheet is a Portable Document
Format (PDF) file. If you already have Acrobat Reader, the document will open directly when
you click on the text above. If you need a copy of Adobe Acrobat reader, click here or on
the "Get Acrobat Reader" icon. If you would prefer to save the file to
your computer, right click (click and hold for Macintosh users) on the icon and choose
"save target as."