Grades 5 & 6

Keeping Healthy

This section includes a survey to determine students' perceptions about tobacco, their understanding of its effects, and their experience with it. In addition, it includes activities to educate students about the health consequences of tobacco use.

Activity 3: Tobacco—Using It Is Unhealthy!

  • Skills: Assessing Risks and Consequences
  • Suggested Time Consideration: 25 minutes
  • Rationale

    In this activity, students will review the health information that they learned in Activity Two and reinforce their understanding of the facts.

  • Getting Started

    Before sharing the link to the activity, read the following scenario to your students:

    Janelle’s parents are not home. Her friends call and ask her to go to the movies with them. Janelle knows her parents would not let her go, but her friends beg her to go with them. They tell her she could be back before her parents get home and they would never know.

    Ask your students:

    • What choices does Janelle have? (Write their answers on the board.)
    • What are the possible risks and consequences for each of these choices?
    • Are there any negative consequences associated with Janelle’s options?
    • Can you think of any situations in which there are possible health consequences to consider when making a decision? (e.g., use of drugs or alcohol)

    Next, explain to your students that this example was used to get them to think about evaluating choices and consequences before making decisions. There are health risks to consider with some decisions (e.g., using tobacco), which you will discuss in this activity. Share the digital activity link below with your students. You may wish to present it on an interactive whiteboard (such as a SMART Board) or have students go directly to the activity on their computers. Have them work in groups to assess the risks and health consequences for the smoking scenario. Note that they may navigate back and forth between the activity screens by clicking the “Page” tabs at the bottom of the activity.

    Launch Activity

  • Talking About It

    Facts about the health consequences associated with using tobacco are important for students to understand. Before moving on to the “Take a Look” section, display the “Look what tobacco will do” poster with the images displaying health consequences associated with tobacco use (e.g., diseased gums and lung) and read it with your group. You may wish to display the poster via projector or interactive whiteboard; students will also see it on their individual computer screens, and may click to enlarge it in a separate window. Ask them to keep the separate window open so they can refer back to the poster. The diseased images are included to bring the message home—using tobacco products can seriously impair a person’s health. Students will need to refer to the poster images to complete this part of the activity. Next, have students work in groups to complete the question in the “You Decide!” section. Have a class discussion to review student’s answers.

  • Wrapping Up

    Answers may vary. Explain to students that it is harder to breathe with diseased lungs, making it tough to walk, climb, exercise, and get around. It is important to have a healthy heart because it pumps blood throughout the body that carries oxygen we need to live. Your students need the facts about the health consequences of using tobacco to make smart decisions on saying “no” to tobacco. Seeing a picture of a diseased lung or gums might make them think twice before using tobacco. Other students might say “no” to tobacco because of the cosmetic or social reasons, which the CDC indicates successful prevention programs address in addition to the physiological consequences.4 Explain to your students that in addition to the health issues presented, using tobacco can also result in stained teeth, foul-smelling hair and clothes, and ostracism from non-smoking peers.4

  • Follow-Up Activity

    As a follow-up exercise, ask students to complete the “Choices and Consequences” digital activity below. You may wish to present it on an interactive whiteboard and have students take turns making choices. Alternately, you may share the link and ask students to complete it individually. During or after the activity, ask students to talk about their choices and the possible consequences. Next, use role-playing methods in class to help students think of healthy ways to respond when faced with making decisions about these behaviors. Remind students that the way a person reacts to a given situation will vary based on the individual. Use the supplemental “Summer Boredom” video to complement this section.

    Launch Activity

  • Sources

    4 CDC. Guidelines for School Health Programs to Prevent Tobacco Use and Addiction. MMWR 1994; Vol. 43, No. RR-2; 1-18. Referenced 2017.

“How To Say No” Set of Two posters