Making a Difference


Making a Difference: Elementary school curriculum supplement for drug education

Many junior high students will already have been exposed to alcohol and other drug prevention education in elementary school. Elementary school teachers have access to Making A Difference: Curriculum Supplement. A Teacher’s Drug Prevention Resource for Health Education. Grades Primary–6, developed in 2003 by Addiction Services, Nova Scotia Department of Health, and English Program Services, Nova Scotia Department of Education. This junior high–level resource builds on the groundwork laid in the early years. To illustrate this connection, the elementary supplement is briefly described here.

The package contains three lesson plans for each grade (1–6) tied to the scope and sequence of the elementary school health curriculum. The lessons are concerned with the development of attitudes, knowledge, skill, and behaviour identified as contributing to drug prevention, with an emphasis on individual and social competency. The resource promotes the development of a healthy lifestyle, with appropriate drug information woven into the content at each grade level.

The lesson plan components are similar to those in the junior high supplement and include

  • peer support and peer influence, including refusal skills
  • relationships—family and friends
  • self-concept
  • responsibility—individual and social
  • decision making and problem solving
  • influence of the media
  • health-enhancing lifestyle development, including dealing with stress

This junior high school supplement is closely tied to the curriculum outcomes, and lessons for grades 5 and 6; the objectives of the lessons for these two grades follow:

Grade 5
Lesson One—Each Individual Is Unique and Special
  • develop a stronger sense of self
  • examine ways others influence how we feel about ourselves by considering compliments made and responsibilities taken
  • affirm ability to make decisions and take responsibility
  • develop an understanding of self within the community and of how we can affect others
  • recognize in ourselves some of the traits others view as worthwhile
  • encourage positive relationships with others
  • provide an opportunity to share ideas about health-enhancing alternatives to drugs

Lesson Two—Exploring Media Messages and Influences
  • critically examine messages given by the media and society
  • develop questioning skills in looking at advertising
  • recognize influences on our decisions, while realizing that we are responsible for our decisions
  • develop confidence in our ability to assess the influences on our lives and to make responsible decisions based on this knowledge

Lesson Three—Risks and Consequences
  • examine risks and consequences of using drugs
  • develop skills necessary to refuse drugs
  • recognize and develop behaviours that discourage drug use
  • explore optional ways to spend free time

Grade 6
Lesson One—Myths and Truths
  • clarify myths and truths about drugs and drug use
  • encourage students’ questions
  • encourage problem solving
  • provide an avenue for exploring values
  • continue to build self-worth through encouraging creative, independent work
  • provide accurate information about drugs and their effects in the body

Lesson Two—Examining the Issues
  • provide for practice of problem-solving and decision-making skills
  • examine consequences, both for self and others, of involvement with drugs
  • provide for recognition of individual and community responsibility
  • build competence and confidence in handling difficult situations
  • provide accurate factual information about drug terms

Lesson Three—Developing Goals
  • explore creative and innovative healthy ways to have fun
  • develop short-term goals
  • consider and explore possible long-term goals in a non-stressful way
  • encourage building on individual strengths as a way to spend free time
  • consider the possible effects of drugs on these activities and goals.

Available online from