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Making Choices Around Alcohol


Focus question: How does alcohol affect our lives? How do we have conversations around the affects of teenage drinking?


Vote with Your Feet: Have students walk to different parts of space (labeled: Agree, Disagree) based on their personal opinions. These are not questions with Right/Wrong answers. You can stop and process where students are standing every few questions. The idea of this activity is just to express your own opinions and to see the diversity of ideas around this topic:

• There are many fun things to do in Galena.

• I have some good ways of relaxing and enjoying myself.

• Drinking alcohol is relaxing.

• It’s clear that alcohol is safe because it is legal.

• Alcohol is safe as long as you don’t binge drink or become alcoholic

• Young people drink alcohol because they don’t understand the risks of it.

• This country has rules that are too strict around teen drinking.

• The GILA dorm has rules that are too strict around drugs and alcohol.

• Alcohol breaks families apart.


Role on the Wall: Draw a very large outline of a figure on the board. Let’s say that this is an “Average Alaskan Teenager” who’s trying to make some decisions about whether or not to drink. What messages could this be young person be getting from the outside pushing for and against drinking? Write down students’ answers on the outside of the body. Who might be these sending messages about drinking? Label names next to messages. As a result of these messages, how might this kid be feeling on the inside about themselves and about alcohol? Write down feelings on the inside of the body outline. You can also connect certain phrases/people to certain feelings inside the body.
Persuasion Improv: Let’s say that this same young person is in a situation where they’re deciding whether or not to drink (or binge drink). What might such a situation be? Where would the young people be? Define a location. Let’s see if we can explore this as a quick improvisation. We are going to put two people next to our Alaskan Teenager—one for, one against drinking. The teenager in the middle is going to have to talk with both of these people and respond to their messages. Have students volunteer for roles. Encourage them to use the phrases that were brainstormed during the “Role on the Wall” activity. Let them know we will all help them with ideas.
Set up: Three chairs, middle chair must make decision. Left person talks with center person and convince. Facilitator yells switch, and the right person must talk with the center person and convince. Switch back and forth a few times, quickly…After a while, debrief with the audience. Who was the most convincing? Why? Could they have been more convincing? Would someone else have been more convincing? How could they do it? Optional: Invite others up to try it out after they offer ideas…
Discuss: What are effective strategies to help a teen chose not to binge drink? What kind of support do they need?
Real/Ideal Images (advertising messages): We are going to talk about another kind of persuasion for a few minutes—how advertisers market alcohol to young people. We are going to make a frozen picture of a magazine advertisement for a new drink. The slogan of the ad campaign is “On weekends, relax with friends and a bottle of Porter’s.” (Demonstrate by creating a quick frozen image with volunteers from the audience.)We’d like you to make an image like this, something you might see that sells a drink. Come up with an image and a slogan. Then we’d like you to make a second image—one that is more realistic to you, of how people use alcohol. Give students time to create images in small group. Walk around and assist where necessary. View images one at a time.  Ask Describe, Analyze, Relate questions. What do you see in each? What is the advertisement suggesting? How do you see that in their body language? What about the other scenario? What does the body language say?

  • How did it feel to create the real and ideal images? What are you thinking about now?
  • How did it feel to be in the persuavive improv? Was it hard? Easy? Why?
  • Did some of the conversations around alcohol today seem realistic? Why or why not?
Extensions/Applications : 


• Look at several advertisements for alcoholic drinks. Pretend that you are the advertising agency that created this image. What strategies did you use? What messages did you try to get across? Write a new slogan for the ad that would make into an anti-drinking advertisement…

• What alternatives do young people need so that alcohol is less attractive? Come up with a program that would help teens stay sober in an Alaskan town. What kinds of programming would you create? Come up with a one month plan of activities for your organization.