Health Education I (7-8)
Strand 4: SUBSTANCE ABUSE PREVENTION (SAP) Standard HI.SAP.4:
Health Education I (7-8)
Strand 4: SUBSTANCE ABUSE PREVENTION (SAP) Standard HI.SAP.1:
Students will identify the effects of alcohol and how it impairs function, as well as reasons to be alcohol-free.
Lesson at a Glance
Introduction (Setting Focus)
Discuss the following:
Liver cirrhosis activity:
To show the effects of alcohol on tissue, submerge a small piece of raw liver in a shallow bowl of rubbing alcohol and keep it overnight. Within minutes, the liver will begin to change in color (denatured alcohol will cause more rapid changes). Show how the bottom has been less affected because it has less exposure to the alcohol. On the following day, show how the outside has become harder, discolored, and almost crusty. The same thing can happen with the human liver (cirrhosis) as a result of drinking alcohol.
Physical skill impairment activity:
Divide the class into groups of about five and give each group a dime. Instruct them to take turns picking up the dime, straight off the desk, and putting it back down. Time them to see how long it takes each group to complete the task. Tell them that picking up a dime isn't very hard, so now you're going to impair them, just as alcohol impairs basic functions. It can make things harder. Give each team a pair of heavy gloves and have them repeat the activity. Discuss how it felt to be impaired and the difference in their team's time.
Mental impairment activity:
Students gather in two equal-sized groups and form parallel lines facing away from each other. At one end of the two lines, place a garbage can and a wad of paper. At the other end of the lines, the teacher flips a coin to either heads or tails. The person nearest the teacher is the "eye" and the person nearest the garbage can is the "foot." All other students are the "nerves" and hold hands to make the best possible connection. Since nerves can only communicate with impulses, no talking is allowed.
When the coin is displayed with "heads," the "eye" sends the signal to the next "nerve" by squeezing the hand. This squeeze or impulse is sent down the nerve-strand one squeeze at a time until it arrives at the "foot." The foot quickly grabs the wad of paper and throws it into the garbage can, simulating quickly stepping on the brake pedal of a car. If the coin is displayed with "tails," no action is taken.
Only correct impulses allow a rotation of the group. If the group sends a signal when "tails" of the coin is displayed and the foot places the paper in the garbage can, the other team is allowed to rotate.
One line of students simulates the physical effects of alcohol on the nervous system by not holding hands. Students must pass the signal down the group by giving each other a "high five" or tapping their neighbor on the shoulder. Play the game again and discuss how difficult mental functions become when under the influence of alcohol.
Basic life support skills impairment activity:
Mark a driving course on the floor with tape. Students take turns walking the course after being spun around 15 to 20 times and while wearing a pair of glasses with petroleum jelly smeared on the lenses. Discuss the impairment that the students experienced and how it affected their performance.
Demonstration of alcohol absorption
Use three different sizes of bottles almost full of water and drop the same amount of food coloring in each. Point out that the food coloring, much like alcohol, spreads immediately and circulates to all parts of the bottle.
Briefly discuss role of the liver in ridding the body of alcohol.
Make the liver quiver activity
Select eight students and have them form a circle. Choose one of the students to represent the liver. Introduce several soft squeeze-balls and suggest that they represent alcohol (three balls are equal to one can of beer). It will be the responsibility of the "liver" to squeeze each ball, one at a time, 15 times before setting them down outside of the circle. The squeezing represents the slow, fixed rate of oxidation of alcohol by the liver. The remaining students in the circle represent the body. They pass the balls (alcohol) around the circle. If the "liver" is still squeezing one of the balls, they pass him/her by and pass the ball to the next person. This represents the alcohol going to all parts of the body through the bloodstream. Students should move the balls around the circle as quickly as possible until the "liver" has been able to get rid of the balls (alcohol).
The "liver" begins by squeezing a ball (this represents the normal work of the liver.) The group begins passing two to three balls (that are different from the first one, representing alcohol) around the circle. As soon as one of the new balls get to the "liver," have the student pass the first ball on and begin to squeeze the new balls representing alcohol. The remaining balls continue being passed around the circle until the "liver" is able to get rid of all of the balls representing alcohol.
Start passing 15 more balls around the circle. The students in the circle usually become louder, less coordinated, and off balance. The task becomes more difficult and disorganized. Just as the body is unable to function as well, the liver will eventually slow down and become damaged.
Process the activity using the following prompts:
How well did the group first handle the squeeze-balls or small amount of alcohol?
What did the group do when more alcohol was introduced?
What eventually happened to the liver?
What are similar effects of alcohol on a real body?
How could people avoid the damage caused by alcohol?
Use the bottles of dye used previously. Place chlorine bleach into each bottle (more in the bigger bottle and less in the smaller ones) to demonstrate how time is needed to rid the body of alcohol. The liver is a vital organ in the body and without it, life is not possible. It is the organ responsible for the purifying of blood and removing toxins, such as alcohol, from the body. The liver identifies alcohol as a poison and immediately prioritizes its cleaning of blood to rid the body of this toxin. The liver ignores working on other jobs and handles the alcohol first. The use of alcohol can extract a devastating toll on the liver. The liver oxidizes alcohol at a slow, fixed rate, and it takes longer for a smaller and younger person to get rid of the alcohol poison in the body. Have the students observe the bottles throughout the class period. It is interesting to note that even though the dye will eventually clear from the bottles of color, they will be slightly discolored and not as clear as a bottle of water without the bleach and dye. (Show a bottle of clear water.) Even though a person will eventually become sober, it doesn't mean the body has been unaffected. Damage has occurred.
Alcoholism affects more than just the alcoholic:
Students divide into groups of three to four. Each group reads a story from a magazine, newspaper, etc. on a societal problem related to alcohol use (FAS, drunk driving, children of alcoholics). Each group discusses all the people or groups of people that are affected and then sets up dominos to represent these people. Have the students summarize their story to the class and, using the dominos, discuss how others are affected. Students allow their domino formation to fall at the conclusion of their presentation.
Closure (Wrap-Up and Extensions