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Peer Pressure

Main Core Tie

Health Education - 6th Grade

Additional Core Ties

Health Education - 6th Grade

Health Education - 6th Grade

Time Frame

1 class periods of 45 minutes each

Group Size

Small Groups

Life Skills

  • Thinking & Reasoning
  • Communication




This lesson plan allows students to make estimations, calculations, and to collaborate with other students to solve a problem. It also teaches valuable refusal skills to combat negative peer pressure and provides students an opportunity to role play.


  • Glass jar with a lid
  • small candies--like skittles--to fill the jar
  • paper and pencil for each student

Background for Teachers

Peer pressure is the influence to go along with the beliefs and actions of one's peers. Peer pressure may be positive when it inspires a person to do something worthwhile. Positive peer pressure uses encouraging words and expressions. Negative peer pressure tries to get a person to do something harmful. It may involve threats, bribes, teasing, and name-calling.

Refusal skills are communication strategies that help a person say "no" effectively:

1. State reasons - you don't have to apologize or defend your position, but if you wish to, state your reasons clearly.
2. Don't agree to meet the other person halfway - giving in a little is still giving in, and it leaves you open to continued pressure
3. Use strong body language - look the person in the eye when your are speaking to show that you are serious
4. Suggest alternatives - try to interest the other person in doing something else with which you're comfortable
5. Walk Away - if all else fails, walk away
6. Plan ahead - talk to someone you trust about people who pressure you. Trusted adults can help you avoid these pressure situations in the future.

Student Prior Knowledge

Familiarity with the concept of estimation.

Instructional Procedures

Before class begins, fill the glass jar completely to the top with candies. Make sure you know how many candies are in the jar.

Hand each student a piece of paper and a pencil. Show students the jar and have them guess the number of candies in the jar.

Remind students of the estimation techniques that you have learned in Math. Have them write the estimation down on their paper. Next, have each student work with a partner and compare answers. Each pair should agree on the guess and write it down. Continue the process in groups of 4, and then 8. When the class is basically divided in half, inform the class that the group with the closest estimation will receive the candy to divide evenly among themselves. Tell the students the number of candies in the jar.

Discussion Questions

1. How did you make your estimate?
2. How, if at all, did your peers influence your decision?
3. Did you accept the decision of the group each time? Explain.
4. Did you stand up for your answer?
5. Did you come to a compromise within your group?
6. Did one person make the choice for the entire group? Did you agree with that person?
7. Did you change your answer, against your better judgment, because of the influence of the group?
8. Did you make a better or a worse decision because of the influences of others in your group?
9. How does this activity relate to influences on the decisions you make on a daily basis?

After concluding the activity, introduce the concept of positive and negative peer pressure. Have the students list some types of positive peer pressure (any pressure that inspires you to do something worthwhile) and some types of negative peer pressre (pressure that could hurt you or others).

Talk about refusal skills.

Ask students, "How do you say no?" Have the students get into groups of 3 or 4 and role play a situation where they may encounter negative peer pressure. Have the students practice refusal skills.

Assessment Plan

Peer Pressure Quiz

1. Define the term peer pressure in your own words.

2. What is the difference between negative and positive peer pressure?

3. List one example of positive peer pressure

4. List one example of negative peer pressure, and provide a refusal
skill to combat the problem.

5. List 3 people who can help you make good decisions and will
be your personal support system.


Glencoe/McGraw-Hill. Teen Health Course 3. 2003. Prevention Dimensions "Jelly Bean Jar". UEN and USOE.

Created: 07/29/2002
Updated: 01/15/2020