Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Interactive Activities: ATOD Unit (Part Two)

Today I'm going to post a link to the lesson plan that may be my favorite classroom activity. This activity was partly developed by one of my outstanding professors at Springfield, Dr. Shannon Whalen. The activity, "Alcohol Simulation Stations" is located in a book she co-wrote with Dominick Splendorio and Sal Chiarello entitled, Tools for Teaching Health. I used this book during undergrad and I've used different lessons from it in my job, too. It's located at Amazon.com for purchase; if you would like a preview of the book Google Books has a few pages scanned in. I really hope that she writes another book in the future. She has so many great ideas!!

When talking about alcohol, it's easy to list, lecture, or show videos demonstrating the short-term effects alcohol has on the body. With such a captivating topic, who wants to sit and lecture to students?! (Lectures do have their place, sometimes) Wouldn't it be better if they could actually experience those effects in a safe, controlled manner? The simulation stations combine activities from many sources in order for students to see how alcohol can effect them in the short term. Some of these activities I have seen in Tom Jackson's books, one of which I mentioned in my last post. Others, I'm sure the Dr. Whalen and her colleagues came up with themselves.

This activity requires extensive preparation, and I highly recommend that you try out the activities yourself beforehand. This lesson definitely deserves a test run before you teach it. If you're short on classroom time, simply select a number of activities that will fit your schedule. You may need to adapt it in other ways, too: I would never bring in sewing needle into my classroom, so for the station needing a needle I just have students thread a button with string sans-needle.

I've taught this lesson to colleagues at the MAHPERD Conference and to college freshmen as a senior during undergrad, as well as an adapted lesson to eighth grade students in middle school. I find this activity ideal for high school age students. Each time, it was well received.

As a side note, the formatting on the PDF might be off. As always, personalize the document! Revamp the accompanying worksheet to make it yours. I always reformat documents with my own unique style. Lastly, I feel okay posting this for many reasons. One, Dr. Whalen always said the best teachers were the best stealers. Two, we passed out lesson plans for this lesson at MAHPERD in 2007.

Also, for me the post-activity discussion was when the light bulbs went off. It's so important to debrief the activity and emphasize the dangers of what could happen if students consume alcohol (or, for a college crowd of of-age drinkers, if they consume it irresponsibly). Connecting the effects with their resulting dangers is a main point of this lesson.

So, here it is! Click here for a PDF of "Alcohol Simulation Stations." If you use this in your classroom of want any pointers, let me know!

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