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Brain Power: Grades K-1

Introductory Story for Module 5

Juan and Julia are sitting in the club house reading magazines. "Juan, I have a headache," groans Julia. "Can you give me something to make it go away?"

"I can’t give you anything, Julia. You should only take medicine from adults you trust, like your mom, or the school nurse," says Juan. "You should have gotten something before you came here."

Just then, Beth and Max come walking in, and Corty appears on the screen. "Sorry to hear about Julia’s brain pain, but I’m going to take your mind off it. I’ve got a mission for you!

Remember how you learned some ways to keep your brain healthy—and the last one was not to smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol?"

They all nod their heads in agreement.

Corty continues, "Well, that leads us to some things you can do to keep your brain safe. This mission requires learning about some harmful drugs and helpful medicines. Your first assignment is to answer this question: What are two helpful substances, and how should they be used?"

Beth guesses, "Let’s see, Juan. Helpful substances would stop pain, like Julia’s headache. So aspirin is probably one of them."

"That reminds me of another helpful medicine. Antibiotics are used to fight infections. But you should only take these medicines from a trusted adult," adds Juan.

Corty replies, "Good work, Junior Scientists. Now, what are two harmful substances, and why can they hurt you?"

"I know that cigarettes are harmful. There is a chemical in cigarettes called nicotine. Nicotine can change a part of the brain and cause a person to keep smoking. If a person continues to smoke they can badly damage the lungs," says Beth.

"Oh, and remember that kids aren’t supposed to drink alcohol. It can hurt your brain," reminds Max.

Corty appears with a party hat on, and confetti falls around him. "Bingo! You’re excellent Junior Scientists! But I still have one more question: Which of the substances we talked about can be both a harmful drug and a helpful medicine?"

Juan responds, "Well, we know cigarettes are always bad."

"Well, my dad drinks beer sometimes, and I don’t think it hurts him," Max says.

Beth explains, "Alcohol can be okay for adults in small amounts. So it may not always be a harmful drug, but it isn’t helpful either. What else?"

Juan exclaims, "I’ve got it! Maybe helpful medicines like aspirin and antibiotics can be harmful if you take too much of them, and that’s why we have to be sure we get them from a responsible adult, like a parent."

Corty congratulates them again. "Good thinking, Junior Scientists. Taking too much of almost anything can be harmful to your body and your brain."

Beth concludes, "So now we know that we have to keep our brains healthy, and we also have to keep them safe by protecting them from harmful substances."

Juan agrees, "Right, because we know how important the brain is. It lets us think, play, sleep, and even breathe."

"It’s a really cool thing, the brain," says Max.

"You’re right, Max! We can’t live without it!" says Julia.

Corty chimes in, "Now you’re using your heads! And as a brain, I take that as a personal compliment!"

This page was last updated September 2009

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NIDA. (2009, September 1). Brain Power: Grades K-1. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/brain-power/brain-power-grades-k-1

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