Note to teachers

The instructions for this first class are written as if Healthy Living 9 students have been exposed to the concept of three types of influences that can affect their decisions around alcohol, cannabis, and other drugs. Consequently, it is brief (five-minute maximum) and serves only as an introduction to the rest of the unit. In the first year that
A Question of Influence is used in the Nova Scotia school system (2007-2008), teachers will need to extend the length of time for this introductory class and insert Activity 7.1: Circles of Influence from the grade 7 unit of A Question of Influence. Add instruction points 1 through 3 of that activity to the beginning of this introduction to the grade 9 unit and drop instruction point 1 below.


This first session of grade 9 is a very brief refresher to the concept of influencing factors connected to alcohol, cannabis, and other drug-related decision making. It carries through with the grade 7 Healthy Living curriculum outcome “Identify personal, social, and cultural influences related to alcohol, cannabis, and other drug use (B3.7)” that forms the foundation of this curriculum supplement. It also introduces grade 9 students to the entire unit and sets the stage for an ongoing discussion on alcohol, cannabis, and other drugs. It can be delivered in 5 to 10 minutes and can be combined with Activity 9.1 in the same class session.

A summary of the curriculum links, activity objectives, time and preparation required, and the necessary materials can be found by clicking
here or on the Outcomes link in this section.


  1. Remind students that the alcohol, cannabis, and other drugs material they have covered through Healthy Living classes in grades 7 and/or 8 have all looked at three types of influencing factors that can have an impact on their decisions and behaviour. Ask the students to recall the three types of influences. Explain that the activities that will be covered in Healthy Living 9 also look at ways they can influence themselves, how others influence them, and how they are influenced by the world around them.

  2. Explain to the students that the activities related to the three types of influence in this unit are more in-depth than in previous grades. Tell the students that, in the first few classes, they will be asked to really think about and research the potential risks and harms connected to alcohol and other drugs. They will be asked to translate their research into a prevention and education resource that can be shared with other students.

    After that, they will focus on ways of telling if their friends are having problems with alcohol or any other drug and what to do to either prevent the problem from going any further or take action in an emergency situation. Tell the students that they will also be “going to a party” a bit later in the unit. Finally, tell the students that they will be considering some of the broader, societal aspects of responding to alcohol and drug- use problems in Canada, and they will be asked what they think of some of the actions that have been taken.

  3. Begin the unit by moving on to Activity 9.1 before the current class ends.