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Choices around Alcohol

Context for this Lesson


TOPIC: Health- Alcohol Use                                                         GRADE: 10th Grade


FOCUS Question/s:  What are the areas of the body affected by alcohol use? What are some choices that you as 10th graders may have to make regarding alcohol? What might be the result of different choices one may make regarding alcohol use?


TEK/S or Related Instructional Goals Used:                                                                


115.32 (15)  Personal/interpersonal skills. The student synthesizes information and applies strategies for making health-promoting decisions. The student is expected to:

(A) apply decision-making skills to health-promoting decisions;

(B)  interpret information provided by parents and other adults; and

(C)  determine causal connections that promote health in relationships.


§117.65. Level II (2) Creative expression/performance. The student interprets characters, using the voice and body expressively, and creates dramatizations. The student is expected to:

(A)  demonstrate safe use of the voice and body;

(B)  analyze characters from various genres and media, describing physical, intellectual, emotional, and social dimensions;

(C)  create and sustain believable characters; and

(D)  improvise and write dialogue that reveals character motivation in short vignettes.


MATERIALS NEEDED: butcher paper with human body outline, markers, chalk



Exploding Atom

"Please get out of your seat and join me in a standing circle. We are going to play exploding atom.  How this works is I am going to ask a question. You will move based on if you agree or disagree. The very outside of the circle represents strongly disagree. The center of the circle is strongly agree. You may also stand at a point some where between strongly disagree and strongly agree. Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks, it is about expressing your own individual opinion. There are no right or wrong answers. Any questions?"

Answer any questions and model anything if this game is new to the group or if there is any confusion.

"The first statement is "I always make clear informed choices"."

Call on students who are on different places on the continuum and invite them to share why they put themselves on that specific point.

"The second statement is “It is hard to make choices when others are influencing you"."

Allow time for at least one student on each part of the continuum to share why they are standing where they are.

"The third question is “It is hard to make choices when you are exhausted or not thinking clearly”."

Call on students to share.


"Thank you for participating in this active discussion. I have heard lots of great things come out of this conversation about choice. Making a choice can be difficult and conflicting at times. I am going to share some statistics with you."


       SHARING information:

Information shared in this section of the lesson was found at

"I am going to share some information with you about alcohol use in the United States:"

“Alcohol is by far the most abused drug of the teenage years. In a 2009 study sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 14.9% of eighth graders, 30.4% of tenth graders, and 43.5% of twelfth graders admitted to drinking alcohol in the past 30 days.”

Write the percentages on the board with corresponding grade levels and re-read the quote.

"Are those statistics surprising to you or not?"

Allow the students to share their opinions.

"Then, some researchers wanted to explore if those young people that choose to drink before they are 21 are more likely to become alcohol dependent. The research says, “New research suggests that the serious drinking problems, including is alcoholism, typically associated with middle age actually begin to appear much earlier, during young adulthood and even adolescence”." (Quote from: Alcohol Alert: Underage Drinking, January 2006, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.)

       Re-read the quote. Discuss if needed.


"We are going to engage in some activities today that follow a character that began drinking underage. We are going to review some information we have already learned in our class and also explore the role of choice making decisions around alcohol."



      1. Procedure: Role on the Wall   

Lay the butcher paper in the middle of the room.

"Please gather in a circle around the butcher paper." There is a shape of a person outlined on the butcher paper, with room on the outside of the figure for writing and room on the inside of the figure for writing.

"We are going to imagine this character as an individual who has made the choice to drink underage. This character is having a hard time trying to decide to drink or not."

"What might be some messages that this character is receiving from others?"

For example:

  • What are some messages encouraging this character to drink?
  • What are some messages from others who are against drinking?

Facilitator allows the students to write the messages just outside the human body drawn on the butcher paper.

"Now that we can imagine the confusing messages that one may receive regarding the choice to drink or not to drink, we are going to imagine that this particular character decided to drink."

"I would like for you to think back to some information we already learned yesterday on the effects of drinking. We are going to visually represent the effects of alcohol on the drawing of our body. If you know an effect, but aren’t sure how we could visually represent it that is okay. We can figure that out as a class. For example, if alcohol affects vision we could draw a pair of eyes. What do you think these eyes should look like?"

Draw the eyes in the way the students suggest (example- bloodshot eyes could be drawn using a red marker).

"Great suggestions. Who else has an effect that we can visually represent on our character’s body?"

        Allow students to volunteer answers (effects and how they can be visually represented). Each time an effect is mentioned allow a student to draw that effect on the human figure.


"Now that we have explored the many effects of alcohol on our character’s body, we are going to move this character forward in time. Our character is now an adult, 22 years old, and he has continued to drink. He was out one night with his friends and he was drinking this particular evening. We know the alcohol already impairs his judgment at this time. He now has the choice to drive home or not."


        2. Procedure: Conscious Alley (aka Thought Tunnel or Decision Alley)             

"Let’s first think about why someone might choose to drink and drive. Go ahead and popcorn out some reasons."

Allow students to brainstorm reasons why a person might drink and drive. Record the reasons on the board.

"Who are the people that might be saying these messages or influencing him? Go ahead and popcorn out some individuals."

Allow students to brainstorm people that might be influencing the character. Record the reasons on the board.

"What might the character be saying to himself that helps convince himself that he should choose to drink and drive? You can popcorn out ideas."

Allow students to brainstorm reasons why someone might make that choice for himself. Record the reasons on the board.

"We are going to create a thought tunnel to explore the moment of his decision to drink. When I say “go” please create two lines in the center of the room. The lines will be across from each other so you see the people cross from you. GO."

              " You are going to give a message to our character as he walks down the aisle. The message is something our character hears or thinks about as he is making the choice to drive drunk or not. The messages can come from those that we recorded on the board or one that you may create. I am going to give you thirty seconds of silence to think of a line of dialogue that you would like to say. "

Give thirty seconds wait time to allow each student to think of a line of dialogue.

"I am going to walk down the alley as the character. When I stand in front of you and point to you I would like to hear the lines of dialogue that is a message our character is hearing as he is making the choice to drive drunk, or not."

Walk down the alley and create the thought tunnel with the students.

"Thank you for participating and you may derole. After hearing all those thoughts and messages, our character decided to drive drunk."


"Our character decides to drive home and causes an accident on his way home. He ends up striking a vehicle and kills the driver. Our character ends up in the hospital with some minor injuries, but survives the accident. Close your eyes and visualize how the outcome might be different if our character made a different choice that evening."



"As you can see our character had a decision to make about abstaining from alcohol that evening or to partake in drinking. Once he decided to drink, he then had the choice to drive or not. Let’s discuss those two choice he made."

Exploring the choice to drink that evening -

  • Why might our character have decided to drink that evening?
  • What risks might our character encounter if he chose to drink over not drinking or vice versa? How might the messages he received influence his choice?

 Exploring the choice to then drive -

  • If he had chosen to _________ instead of drinking and driving, what might the outcome have been?
  • How do you think the character’s life will be affected by those decisions in the future?