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Brain Power: Grades 4-5

Introductory Story for Module 1

Beth and Juan are members of the Brain Power! Club. They are hanging out in the clubhouse reading magazines. Beth is looking at an ad for alcohol, showing happy people drinking.

Beth says, "You know, Juan, I just can't believe magazines are allowed to run ads like this after all we've learned about how bad drinking alcohol is for you."

Juan says, "Let me see," and he takes a look at the ad. He replies, "Yeah, I've seen ads like that, too, with people drinking and looking all happy and smiling. Don't they know that alcohol can kill brain cells if they drink enough?"

Beth jokes, "And some of us need every brain cell we have!" as she bounces a large soft rubber ball off of Juan's head.

Juan rubs his head and says, "Speak for yourself."

"But it bugs me that the advertisers make it seem like drinking is cool," Beth says.

"Maybe they're a little short on brain cells!" Juan says.

They go back to thumbing through the magazines when Corty, the animated brain, pops out of the pages, startling the kids. "Hi, kids!" Corty says. "I brought some friends." Corty introduces Latisha and Jay from the Spectacular Scientists Club.

“Uh-oh, I feel a mission coming on!” Corty says all excited. “Mission alert! Mission alert!”

Jay and Latisha look at Corty like he’s crazy. “Wow! What’s wrong with him?!” asks Jay.

"Oh, he just loves missions," says Juan. "I'm Juan and this is my friend Beth. Ww're Junior Scientists and what we're studying is the problem of drugs in our society."

Juan chimes in, "And when we say "drugs," we mean things like alcohol and cigarettes, too."

"Hey, that's what we've been working on, too," says Jay. "Have you learned about the difference between legal and illegal drugs?"

Beth replies, "Yeah, medications for headaches and colds are legal, but they should only be given by a trusted adult."

Juan adds, "Cigarettes and alcohol are legal for adults, but they can still do a lot of damage. And they're always illegal for kids! But drugs like marijuana and cocaine are illegal for everyone."

Beth picks up the magazine that she and Juan were reading before and says, "Before you came in, we were talking about all the ads you see for liquor, wine, and beer, and how the people in the ads always seem so cool and happy."

Corty chimes in, "That has a lot to do with your mission. Your mission is to find out why people keep taking drugs that are bad for them. I hope you will all work together on this challenge."

The kids settle down to work. Juan says, "There are ads that make smoking and drinking look cool, but why do people use illegal drugs? And where do they find out about them, anyway?"

Latisha says, "We get information about drugs in newspapers, magazines, and on TV. I have an idea. Let's make a scrapbook showing all the different places you can get information on illegal drugs."

Stop here until students have completed their scrapbooks.

The kids get busy building a scrapbook. When they are done, they begin flipping through it. When they turn the page, there's Corty, flattened inside the plastic photo sleeve. The kids are surprised to see him in there.

Corty laughs, comes out of the scrapbook, and says, "Well, how did you do?"

Juan replies, "We've gathered a lot of information on how advertisers and the media sell things that really aren't very good for people."

Jay adds, “They make drinking and smoking look fun and cool, even though they can be harmful.”

Latisha says, “And in movies, you see people using illegal drugs, and sometimes it seems like they’re having a really good time, too. So that’s almost like an advertisement, although it’s not supposed to be.”

Beth says, “So in a way, we understand why people might start using them, but what we still don’t understand is why they keep using drugs.”

Juan says, “Yeah. They must know they can get really sick.”

“I’d also like to know why some TV commercials and advertisements make bad things look good,” says Juan.

Corty replies, “Those are really good points. So what can you do about it?”

Juan says, “Well, we can tell our friends about what we’ve learned: that just because& something looks good doesn’t mean it is.”

Jay says, “And we can control what we put in our bodies, so we can serve as good examples to others.”

Corty says, “Those are all really great ideas. Next time, we’re going to learn about how drugs and alcohol affect our brains—a subject near and dear to me.”

This page was last updated September 2012

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Cite this article

NIDA. (2012, September 1). Brain Power: Grades 4-5. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/brain-power/brain-power-grades-4-5

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