1. Explain to the class that one of the challenges in alcohol and other drugs education is finding meaningful ways to communicate factual information to students without boring them and having them stop listening. Yet, having the facts, particularly about the potential harms linked to substance use, is essential in making healthy choices. In this unit, the class will take on the responsibility of becoming a communication team responsible for youth prevention education. The way that this will be done is by developing a series of information resources on five topics.

  2. Ask the class to break up into six groups of no more than five students. [If there are more than 30 students in the class, you can add a seventh group and give out one of the topics twice]. Using the Prevention Education Resource Topics slide (9A), either ask students to choose a topic for their group or assign the topics to the groups yourself.

  3. Distribute copies of Student Handouts 9.A through 9.F-Prevention Education Resource Research Starting Points to the appropriate student groups. Explain to the class that the task of each group is to develop an education resource such as a pamphlet or a poster that presents the facts on the risks related to their topic.

  4. Distribute copies of Student Handout 9.G-Prevention Education Resource Research and Development Guidelines to each student or group. Go over the points on the handout to make sure the students understand. Although a pamphlet or a poster is the typical education resource, encourage the groups to use another means (such as a brief video if someone can use their family's video camera or the school has access to one, a web page or site, a computer assessment quiz, a teen magazine quiz, or a board game about the facts) if they believe it will be more effective.

  5. Students have the rest of the current class and, if time allows, the next class or two (three classes maximum) to prepare their prevention education resource. Groups may need to work on the assignment between classes, by having group members download and summarize resource material from the Internet, for example. Monitor the groups' progress at the start of the second class to see if they are going to need additional time and adjust the other sessions accordingly.

  6. If the school does not have the resources for the students to design and produce their pamphlets, the emphasis will be on the information presented in the pamphlet as well as the group's plan for what the final product would look like if it could be designed.

  7. If the resources can be designed and the students want to do it, consider how the resources might be distributed to other students in other grades within the school. The final results of each group's work will be presented to the rest of the class through group presentations. If possible, distribute final copies to all class members, and have each group present highlights of their efforts in a presentation of three to five minutes.

  8. After all the groups have presented their prevention education resources, ask the class to think about and discuss the following questions:
    • What are some of the main points that you have picked up from the other groups' presentations? (Note the responses on the board or a flip chart).
    • What are the risks associated with ___________ [specify each of the substances discussed]?
    • What did you think about the facts and the presentations? Were they interesting to you? Were they more or less believable than if a health professional had been brought in to present these facts? Why is that?
    • What did you learn from researching and developing your own topics?
    • Would you recommend doing this same activity next year with new grade 9 students? Why or why not?