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Child Abuse

Main Core Tie

Adult Roles And Responsibilities
Strand 5 Standard 4

Additional Core Ties

Adult Roles and Financial Literacy
Strand 8 Standard 4




Students will understand signs and types of child abuse and prevention strategies.


Supplementary Resources

  • National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome. 2955 Harrison Blvd., Suite #102 Ogden, Ut. 84403 (801) 627-3399, (888) 273-0071 FAX (801) 627-3321. SBS has lots of teaching aids, lesson plans, information, DVDs, etc. available to purchase and use in your classroom. They also have information on their website and experts that are available for consultations as well as a list of speakers.
  • Reality Works. 1-800-830-1416

Instructional Procedures

Use the Vocabulary Worksheet and Key (pdf) to introduce and reinforce the vocabulary for the lesson.

Spilled Milk
You are sitting around a dinner table and two-year-old Johnny is present. Johnny's mother gives the boy a tall glass of milk. Before dinner has even begun, Johnny reaches for the glass of milk and sends it tumbling over. Mommy patiently wipes it up and returns with another glass of milk.

Dinner begins and Johnny is still thirsty. Again, he reaches for his glass of milk and as he brings it to his mouth it spills all down the front of him. Mommy wipes up the milk and cleans up Johnny. Again Mommy fills the glass of milk and returns to her own plate.

Only seconds after Mommy has been seated, Johnny reaches for a roll and the glass of milk topples and spills. Mommy cleans it up and fills the glass again.

Just then Johnny decides he does not like squash and with a disgusted grunt he pushes his plate away, bumping the glass over one more time, spilling it all over the table and getting others wet this time. Mommy is embarrassed and apologizes to those present, then wipes up the mess and fills Johnny's glass.

Johnny is getting tired and decides he does not want milk to drink but soda pop instead. When Mommy informs him that he will have to finish his dinner and his milk before getting soda pop, Johnny gets angry and throws the glass of milk on the floor, splashing milk all over everyone and everything.

At what point in the story would you have become angered? If you were a parent, at what point in the story would you have become angered? What would you have done in this situation?

Content Outline, Activities and Teaching Strategies
(All options do not necessarily need to be taught. Select ones to cover standards and objectives and according to your district policies.)

Option 1: Coping Threshold
Present the teacher information (pdf) about the coping threshold of parents. Show the Coping Threshold Transparency (pdf).

Option 2: Child Abuse Information
Present the information on child abuse (pdf).

Option 3: UEN Lesson Plan
This is a lesson plan on child abuse by Virginia Nicholson Go to

Option 4: Newspaper Article Activity
At the end of the abuse unit, bring in newspapers for 2 weeks and have the students check for stories of abuse. Cut out those articles and put on a bulletin board. Students could also bring in current event items from the news pertaining to abuse. If they heard it on the news they could write it up and submit it. Teacher could decide if extra credit would be given for this information. At the end of the 2 weeks have the class discuss how prevalent this topic is in our society. How much was found in 2 weeks and then compare that to a year if you were to collect it for a year. How much do you think happens that no one is aware of, or goes unreported? Take some time discussing what they have learned and how knowledge helps to prevent abuse.

Option 5: Shaken Baby Syndrome
Present the information on Shaken Baby Syndrome (pdf).

Option 6: Video
Eli's story(or one of the DVD stories about Shaken Baby Syndrome). Story of a victim of SBS. Can be obtained from National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome. See supplementary resources.

Option 7: Reality Works Doll
This is a doll that shows how shaking effects the brain. Great teaching tool. Can be purchased through Reality works. Reality works also has a free download powerpoint on shaken baby.

Option 8: Guest Speaker
Invite a guest speaker on child abuse or shaken baby syndrome.

Child abuse is an unfortunate reality of our society. Unless we educate our population with the problems and solutions that exist with child abuse it will remain a reality. Education is essential to stop child abuse. We must understand what it is, how to prevent it, and the signs of its existence so that we can stop it and help those that it is occurring to. It is important to tell someone if abuse happens, and you keep telling others until the abuse stops. Abuse is never OK. It is important that everyone understands that we all have the ability to become abusive and understand our coping threshold and how to avoid abuse from happening. We need to know positive ways to deal with stressful situations. SBS is result of a violent shaking from a frustrated caregiver. It can cause lifetime disabilities or death.

Created: 08/03/2011
Updated: 02/05/2018