No parent or teacher wants to imagine that children could take drugs. But the consequences of drug use are too severe to ignore the possibility: risky behaviour, illness, injury and death. Even legal drugs can be dangerous if they are used incorrectly. Parents and teachers can educate children about drugs with classroom drug awareness activities.
A simple experiment that demonstrates the effects of smoking is suitable for any age group. Stuff a piece of cotton into a small plastic bottle so that the cotton rests at the bottom. Stop the bottle with clay and create a hole large enough for a cigarette. Place a lit cigarette through the hole and squeeze the bottle so that the air pressure simulates breathing, sucking smoke into the bottle. After a few minutes, remove the cigarette and examine the cotton ball. Discuss what happened.
A variation of this activity can be performed by repeating the experiment and exposing the second cotton ball to smoke for a longer period. Discuss whether the cotton ball looks different based on the amount of exposure to cigarette smoke.
The experiment can also be tailored to high school students, who can conduct the experiment themselves. Students can test how the cotton ball looks if cigarettes with different levels of nicotine and tar are used. Tell students to list cigarette brands, take pictures of the cotton ball, describe it, and post their results on a chart.
This project is suitable for students in middle school. Divide students into small groups. Assign each group a drug to research. Tell students to create a presentation about the effects of the drug. Allow them to choose from a variety of formats, such as a short newscast report, a poster or a power point presentation. If time is a concern, you can provide the articles or books they will need for research.
Teachers can initiate school-wide events that remind students not to take drugs. The athletics department or gym teacher can coordinate a two-mile run or another athletic event to promote a drug-free lifestyle. Anti-drug specialists can be brought in to conduct activities related to the event. Require a small fee to participate in the event and furnish all participants with shirts bearing a slogan that discourages drug use. Prior to the event, host a school-wide contest to design a shirt with an appropriate slogan. Art classes can furnish ideas and give students some time to develop their designs. Music classes can get involved by giving students an opportunity to create anti-drug songs to perform at the event.