The grade 8 component of A Question of Influence covers the three spheres of influencepersonal, social, and culturalin the form of three learning themes: how I influence myself, how others influence me, and how I am influenced by the world around me. Each learning theme includes a set of activities and associated teacher and student materials matched to the Nova Scotia Healthy Living curriculum outcomes for grade 8. The three learning themes are preceded by an introductory session that introduces the complete unit to the students and lays the foundation for the learning theme activities. A fifth and final wrap-up session completes the unit. It is designed to encourage students to reflect on what they have learned about what influences their decisions around alcohol, cannabis, and other drugs. It also provides the teacher with an opportunity to assess what students have learned from the unit as a whole.1

Each of the three learning themes, the introductory session, and wrap-up session begin with introductory notes to help orient the teacher to the content of that session or learning theme. A summary table is provided at the beginning of each session/learning theme to identify the Healthy Living curriculum outcome links, specific activity objectives, estimated time frame, and preparation required to work through each activity in class. Separate pages for teaching aids, referred to as
slides throughout the unit, and student handout materials are found at the back of the unit.

The time estimates included here are based on the actual outcomes of the resource field test in the winter and spring of 2006. The complete unit is intended to be delivered in five to six hours of instructional time or a maximum of eight 45-minute classes. Not every teacher will have Healthy Living classes that run for 45 minutes, and the delivery of the activities will have to be adapted based on the length of class time available.

It is strongly recommended that none of the learning themes be dropped in an effort to shorten the time required to deliver the unit. Instead, suggestions for shortening individual activities include the following:

  • Reduce the number of case studies or stories used for group activities.
  • Reduce the number of groups and increase the group sizes. If increasing the size of small groups is not an option, assign the same story to more than one group, ask one group to report back on the story and, once they finish their report, ask the other groups with the same story if they have anything to add.
  • Place strict time limits on brainstorming activities (five minutes, for example) rather than try to get every last idea or comment.
  • Place case studies on slides and discuss them with the entire class.

1. Suggestions for assessing other aspects of student performance throughout the unit can be found in the Appendix D: Assessment Rubrics.