Lesson Plans

Lesson Plan #19

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Understanding the Dangers of Drugs/Steroids: A Science and Health Lesson

Grades 7 to 12

Language Arts, Journalism, Science, Health, Social Studies, Mathematics

In this lesson, students examine where one develops his or her views about health and ways in which teenagers exhibit these influences, focussing particularly on the rising trend of anabolic steroid use in athletes and teenagers. Students then participate in either developing and analyzing a survey of the student body regarding health and views of fitness or writing a feature article.




1. WARM-UP/DO-NOW: Students respond to the following questions in their journals:

  • What famous person would you say demonstrates the ideal image of health to you?
  • List attributes that this person has that illustrate his or her health
  • How is this person presented in the media?

Students then share their answers. The teacher should list physical attributes on the board and keep a tally of how often each attribute is listed. Then, discuss why these attributes are considered healthy and whether or not it is realistic for the majority of Canadians to attain such attributes.

.Students work in small groups to respond to the following questions:

  • Without the aid of a dictionary, define health
  • What do you consider healthy-looking, and why?
  • What do you consider unhealthy-looking, and why?
  • Specifically, from where do we develop our ideas of health? Are any of these ideas inaccurate, and if so, which ones?
  • What methods do people use to alter their bodies? In what way can each of these methods be dangerous, either physically or mentally, to the person using such methods?
  • How does one attain physical health?

Students then share and discuss their answers with the class.

. Handout to students the article by SNN Reporter to review focussing on these questions:

  • Is the use of anabolic steroid rising in teenagers?
  • What might influence teenagers to use drugs and anabolic steroids?
  • Why do athletes like Ben Johnson and Mark McGwire use steroids or steroid-like substances when their results are so disputed and may be dangerous? Does their use of drugs and steroids influence teenagers?
  • What do drugs do to the human body?

Students discuss their answers in class.

. Students are to conduct research about steroid use among teenagers and health & fitness through the internet, library books, magazines and newspapers.

5. WRAP-UP/ HOMEWORK: Divide students into two groups. One group will develop a survey to be distributed to the student body regarding health and views of fitness, and the other group will write a feature article (800-1000 words) containing information regarding steroid use and its dangerous effects. This article and survey results can be posted to the school's webpage and as well as published in their own school newspaper or online youth magazine.

6. Because the groups are working on such different products, facilitate each group, providing them with the following guidance:

Survey group: Students in this group will design a survey to be distributed to the student body, responded to anonymously, and analyzed by group members. Students will then publish the results of their survey on the school's webpage. The survey should focus on students views of health and fitness (questions to be gathered through research). To make the survey more statistically accurate, survey questions should ask students to answer with responses such as "always, sometimes, never" or to rank views about health in order of importance. Students should also include a question about the respondent's gender and a question about whether or not the respondent participates in athletic activities. Distribute surveys to as many members of the student body as possible.

Feature story group: Students in this group will use research information as the basis for an informational feature story (800-1000 words) about steroid use in young people, young athletes, which can also be posted on their school website. Students should include at least the following in their story: a definition of "steroid," an explanation of what steroids do to the human body, a discussion of why steroid use is hazardous, and a list of related resources (books, magazine or newspaper articles and Web sites) where students can learn more about steroid use.
Check SNN's Writing Guide for information on doing articles. Remember the 5W's of News: Who, What, When, Where, Why (and sometimes How). Use the inverted pyramid style. This means that articles should be written with the most important information first and the least important last.



Students will be evaluated based on journal entry response, participation in small and large group class discussions, and thorough and thoughtful feature article and distribution of a school-wide survey about steroid use and overall health.



  1. Students from both groups can get together to do an information pamphlet for the school on youth fitness and steroid use.




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