Lesson

"Marijuana: Breaking Down the Buzz"

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Amid changing marijuana laws, surveys of teens nationwide show an increasing perception that marijuana is safe. But the fact is, marijuana use can have serious short- and long-term consequences for the developing teen brain. The teaching resources below highlight crucial scientific facts on the risks of marijuana, while challenging students to apply skills in reading comprehension and critical thinking to informational texts.

MATERIALS:

Student Article/Informational Text:
Students will learn facts about the science of marijuana—as well as lessons from the history of tobacco—to help sort out questions as marijuana attitudes and laws continue to change across the country.

> HTML version
> PDF version
> Digital interactive version
> Leveled version (PDF) - grades 4-5 reading level

Student Work Sheet:
Students will analyze statistical information regarding attitudes toward marijuana compared to actual use. Additional critical-thinking questions help students synthesize what they have learned.

> PDF version
> HTML version

Additional Tools (PDF):
Grade-tiered resources to support teaching the lesson and student article:

  • Answer Key for Critical-Thinking Questions and Student Work Sheet
  • Academic and Domain-Specific Vocabulary Lists
  • Expanded Writing Prompts
  • Expanded Paired-Text Reading Suggestions
  • Expanded Standards Charts for Grades 6-12


The PDFs above meet Section 508 accessibility guidelines.


STANDARDS:

SUBJECT COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS NEXT GENERATION SCIENCE STANDARDS NATIONAL SCIENCE EDUCATION STANDARDS NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR THE SOCIAL STUDIES
Science Literacy RI.1 Cite textual evidence LS1.A Structure and Function Structure and Function in Living Things Individual Development and Identity
English Language Arts RI.2 Central idea and details LS1.D Information Processing Personal and Community Health
Health/Life Skills W.2 Write informative texts
Current Events



LESSON:

CRITICAL-THINKING QUESTIONS:

Grades 6-8:

a. What are some similarities and differences between marijuana and tobacco? Consider the scientific understanding and history of both in your response.

b. How do you think people might view marijuana in the next ten years? Explain your reasoning.


Grades 9-10:

a. What are some parallels between marijuana and tobacco? Conversely, how do they differ? Include the scientific understanding and history of both.

b. Predict how attitudes toward marijuana may change over the next ten years. Explain your reasoning.


Grades 11-12:

a. Develop an argument supporting the claim that the history of tobacco has implications for the unfolding story of marijuana. Describe the parallels and contrasts using both historical and scientific information.

b. Give your assessment of how people’s opinions toward marijuana may shift in the next decade. Explain your reasoning.




WRITING PROMPTS:

Instruct students to use evidence from the article in their responses to the writing prompts.

  • Grades 6-8: Describe the ways in which marijuana use can affect a young person’s brain and life.
  • Grades 9-10: Summarize the reasons why marijuana use has risks for teens.
  • Grades 11-12: Explain how you would convince a friend to avoid marijuana use.



PAIRED READING:




ADDITIONAL SOURCES:




RESOURCES AND SUPPORT: