Lesson “Questions About Drugs—Answers From Scientists”
First published 2015. To view the latest Heads Up content, click here.
As a teacher, you know your students have questions about drugs. While the Internet and their peers may provide answers (accurate—or not), it is crucial that teens learn the facts about drugs from a reliable scientific source. Drug and Alcohol Chat Day, an annual live online chat between students and scientists at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), helps serve this need. This article and lesson on some of Chat Day’s most popular Q&As can help students find unbiased, scientific answers to their questions about drugs and health.
Download a PDF version of this lesson page and accompanying work sheet.
Student Article/Informational Text:
Students will gain a scientific understanding of the answers to common teen questions about drugs and health.
Student Work Sheet:
The work sheet gives students an opportunity to synthesize facts about different drug dangers. (See the “Additional Tools” document below for guidelines and answers on how to evaluate student responses.)
Additional Tools (PDF):
Grade-tiered resources to support teaching the lesson and student article:
- Expanded Answer Key for Critical-Thinking Questions and Work Sheet
- Tiered Adaptations of Critical-Thinking Questions
- Academic and Domain-Specific Vocabulary Lists
- Additional Writing Prompts
- Expanded Paired-Text Reading Suggestions
- Expanded Standards Charts for Grades 6-12
STANDARDS FOR ENGLISH
|NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR THE
|Science Literacy||RI.1 Cite textual evidence||LS1.A Structure and Function||Structure and Function in Living Things||Individual Development
|English Language Arts||RI.2 Central idea and details||LS1.D Information Processing||Personal and Community Health|
|Health/Life Skills||W.1 Write arguments|
1) Why can drugs be described as having hidden dangers? Cite examples from the article. (People who make drugs often mix in other drugs and chemicals, so users don’t actually know what they are really taking.)
2) How are drugs marketed through their names, and why might that be dangerous? Cite examples from the article. (Nicknames like Ecstasy and Molly [for MDMA] make the drugs sound fun and also distract from the fact that they are mind-altering chemicals that pose real dangers.)
3) Why is it important that information about drugs comes from a scientific and trustworthy source? (There are many inaccurate sources of information about drugs—trusting these sources can lead someone to make deadly choices. Scientific sources like NIDA provide current and accurate information. Paying attention to this information can save your life.)
→ Refer to the “Additional Tools” (PDF) for expanded answers.
Instruct students to use evidence from the article in their responses to the writing prompts.
- Grades 6-8: How would you convince a friend or loved one to stop using tobacco? In your response, synthesize information from two relevant Q&As in the text.
- Grades 9-10: What are the risks of marijuana for teens? Synthesize evidence from two relevant Q&As in the text and infer what real-life consequences might result.
- Grades 11-12: What questions would you ask drug scientists if you had the opportunity? Research answers on teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts and include them in your response.
- Grades 6-12: “Real Teens Ask: How Can I Help?” teens.drugabuse.gov/blog/post/real-teens-ask-how-can-i-help
- Grades 6-12:“Marijuana: Breaking Down the Buzz,” headsup.scholastic.com/teachers/lesson-marijuana-breaking-down-the-buzz
- Grades 6-12:“Have You Seen Molly?” teens.drugabuse.gov/blog/post/have-you-seen-molly-even-if-you-think-so-you-may-have-been-fooled
- Website: National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week®, January 25-31, 2016, teens.drugabuse.gov/national-drug-and-alcohol-facts-week
- Interactive Website: “Drugs + Your Body: It Isn’t Pretty,” scholastic.com/drugs-and-your-body
- Videos: headsup.scholastic.com/students/video-collection
RESOURCES AND SUPPORT: