Drug prevention lesson plan for kindergarten through third grade

k3icon.gif (3524 bytes)“You can’t judge a book by its cover”

Objective
To learn that how something is packaged is not necessarily the way it really is.

Background
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.

Activities
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.

Resources
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.

Teacher tips
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 won’t 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.

Download Activity Worksheet

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