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The Gateway Drug: Marijuana

Main Core Tie

Health Education - 6th Grade
Standard 2 Objective 1

Additional Core Ties

Health Education - 6th Grade
Standard 2 Objective 2

Time Frame

1 class periods of 45 minutes each

Group Size

Large Groups


Utah LessonPlans


Students will understand both the short- and long-term effects of marijuana use.



  • cannabis
  • Mary Jane
  • pot
  • joint
  • THC
  • reefer
  • grass
  • weed
  • dope

Background for Teachers

Lesson at a Glance

Note to Teacher:
Before teaching this lesson, review "Marijuana Facts."

1. Marijuana: What Do You Know?

2. Marijuana Pretest
3. Marijuana Discussion
4. Marijuana Basketball

5. Marijuana Post-test

Instructional Procedures

  1. Marijuana: What Do You Know?
    • On the board, draw a porcupine with lots of spikes or quills.
    • Name the porcupine "Marijuana."
    • List any statement from the students, whether accurate or inaccurate, next to a spike on the porcupine.
    • What do you know about marijuana? List the statements of the students by the quills as described above.

  2. Marijuana Pre-Test
    • Orally give the Marijuana pre-test. Have students write the answers on a piece of paper.

  3. Marijuana Discussion
    • The porcupine is a slow animal that protects itself from aggression with very sharp quills. The quills detach and stay stuck in the aggressor.
    • If you play with a porcupine, you will get stuck with quills.
    • How is a porcupine like marijuana use?
      users will get hurt, lots of inaccurate information, looks easy to avoid but easy to get stuck

    Use the teacher resource sheet to clarify the fuzzy and inaccurate information from the porcupine's quills.

  4. Marijuana Basketball
    • Use the questions on page 59 to play this game.
    • Divide the class into two teams.
    • Alternating between teams, each team scores by having one of its players answer a question about marijuana correctly (or the team confers with a "captain" who speaks for the team).
    • If the question is answered incorrectly, the point amount of the question is deducted from that team, and the other team has a chance to answer the question correctly.
    • The team that reaches 30 points first (or another agreed-upon number) wins.

  5. Marijuana Post-test
    • Give the Marijuana post-test as instructed on the test form.
    • Have students compare answers with the pre-test.


This lesson is part of the Utah State Board of Education Prevention Dimensions program.

Created: 01/26/2017
Updated: 02/05/2018