Split the children into groups. Hand out one copy of each trading card to each group. Without discussing the cards first, ask students to group the cards as described below. You may want to write the different groupings on a large piece of paper and hang it in the room. Tell students to record their groupings by writing down the names of the medicines or drugs.
- Have the students put the cards into two piles. One pile will be helpful medicines, and the other will be harmful drugs.
- Have the students group substances by how they are taken. Have one group be “Substance Taken by the Child Alone,” and the other group be “Substance Given by an Adult.” If a card doesn’t fit into either category, put it aside.
- Have the students group substances by amount taken. Have one group be “Must Take Only a Certain Amount of the Substance,” and the second group be “Never Take.” If a card doesn’t fit into either category, put it aside.
- Have the students group substances by when they are taken. Have one group be “Only Take at Certain Times,” and the second group be “Never Take.” If a card doesn’t fit into either category, put it aside.
- Give students about 10 minutes to group the cards in the categories requested, and then discuss the groupings. Did most students group the cards correctly? If so, can they explain how they made their decisions? If they were not able to group the cards correctly, discuss what problems they had.
- Talk with students about the relationship between the substances grouped in each category. Do students notice any patterns emerging about which substances fit into each group? For example, point out to students that all the helpful medicines must be administered by an adult, given at the right time, and taken in the right dosage. Helping students understand this tells them that the healthy medicines are very powerful and must be taken carefully.
- Ask students whether there are rules about alcohol and nicotine, and if they are put in place for children. Point out that these substances are very powerful. Alcohol can be very harmful if too much is consumed. Over time, alcohol can cause severe problems in the body and brain. Children should never drink alcohol because their brains are still growing. Tobacco is the primary way people receive nicotine. Tobacco is harmful to the brain and body, and nicotine’s addictive effects are the reason people continue using tobacco. Tobacco is illegal for children because it is dangerous.
- As a class, have students draw some final conclusions based on this activity. What is the most important thing they learned about helpful medicines? What is the most important thing they learned about harmful drugs? How will they apply this information to their own lives?
- If you think your students are ready to discuss alcohol and illegal drugs, information you can use to start such a dialogue can be found at the end of the Background section.
- After learning about illegal drugs, what conclusions can students draw? They will discover that the illegal drugs—cocaine and marijuana—have negative effects on the body and the brain and should not be taken at all. Alcohol also must be taken with great care; too much alcohol has a detrimental effect on just about every system in the body and is illegal for kids.
- Congratulate the students. They have just completed the final mission in the NIDA Brain Power!Program and are now members of the Brain Power!Club.
- If you did not discuss illegal drugs and alcohol, ask students if they are familiar with any other substances that could be considered healthy or harmful. Make a list of their ideas. If the students come up with illegal drugs or alcohol, tell them that they will learn more about these substances in the next Brain Power! curriculum. If you did discuss these substances, ask students if they have any additional questions about them. Give students an opportunity to express their ideas about what they have just learned.
- Ask students to think back on what they learned in Module 4 about keeping the brain healthy. How do those ideas and what they learned today work together? If students put into practice what they learned in both modules, would they be living a healthy lifestyle?
Brain Power Video Modules: Grades K-1
T-shirts, Stickers, and Buttons: Grades K-1
As a result of scientific research, we know that addiction is a disease that affects both brain and behavior.