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6th Grade Session 2: Making Our Own Choices



Teacher Preparation

1. Prepare enough blank index cards for each student to receive one card. If you do not have index cards, you can cut a blank sheet of paper into four squares to make cards.

2. Pull up the video What Could Go Wrong.

3. Make enough copies of Handout 1: Adult Interview for each student to receive one.

4. Get a ball or make one out of paper or tape.


Activities Materials and Teacher 411 Resources

1. Introduction 

 3-5 minutes
Teacher Materials:

2. Direct Instruction 

 3-5 minutes
Teacher Materials:

Teacher 411 Resources:

3. Work Time

  20-25 minutes

 Teacher Materials:

Teacher 411 Resources:

4. Closing

  1 minute

 Teacher Materials:

Total Time: 

approx.  35 minutes



Lesson Objectives

Students will:
  • Identify the percentage of E-cigarette users in high school and middle school and describe nonsmokers as the majority.
  • Describe the harmful consequences of E-cigarette use.
  • Identify reasons why teens may begin using E-cigarettes.
  • Identify positive alternatives to using E-cigarettes.
  • Develop, practice and demonstrate refusal skills and smart exit strategies.

Lesson Plan

Suggested Length: approx. 35 minutes 


 3-5 minutes
    1. Show the video What Could Go Wrong.



Direct Instruction

 3-5 minutes
  1. Ask students to write down their guess on scratch paper: What percentage of high schoolers smoke E-cigarettes? What percentage of middle schoolers smoke E-cigarettes?

  2. Ask volunteers to share their guess with the class.
  3. Reveal the actual numbers: As of 2018, 20.8% of high-schoolers and 4.9% of middle schoolers have smoked an E-cigarette in the last 30 days.
  4. Discuss: Most teenagers surveyed disapproved of E-cigarette use. Very few high schoolers, and even fewer middle school students, smoke E-cigarettes. Ask: Are these numbers surprising? Why do you think students’ estimates are usually higher than the actual number? (possible answers: advertising, YouTube and social media, bragging, etc.) 

    Note: Students often overestimate the number of people they think use E-cigarettes, just as they do with conventional cigarettes. By presenting facts about the teen prevalence of E-cigarette usage, students will understand that not “everyone does it.” 


Work Time

 20-25 minutes 

Activity 1: Reasons Why Young People Experiment with E-cigarettes and Positive Alternatives (10 min.)

  1. Ask students to assemble into their groups.

  2. Distribute an index card or square of paper to each student.

  3. Ask students to record responses to the following question on the front side of their index card: Why might young people experiment with E-cigarettes? On the back side of their index card, ask students to record responses to the following question: What are some positive things young people can do instead of using E-cigarettes?

  4. Share: Ask each Peer Group Facilitator to collect the index cards and read aloud reasons for use and positive alternatives to their group.

  5. Ask Peer Group Facilitators to report 2-3 of the reasons for use their group listed along with positive alternatives until all responses have been recorded on the document projector or board.

    • Example Reasons for Use: To rebel; because they are curious; to be accepted; to look cool; friends use it; to look older; parents use it; to taste new flavors
    • Example Positive Alternatives: join sports team/club; invite friends to a movie or concert; workout/exercise for energy; volunteer to take on more responsibility

Activity 2: Refusal Skills (15 min.)

  1. Ask: What are some situations and places in which you may be offered an E-cigarette?
  2. Record situations and places on the board.
  3. Explain: With your group, you will brainstorm smart exit strategies/refusals to use when offered an E-cigarette. Record the strategies on scratch paper.

    Example Exit Strategies: Just say no; Stand tall with friends; Suggest something else to do; Give your own reason for saying no; Add some humor

  4. Game: Instruct entire class to stand and form a circle. Explain: We are going to see who has the best refusal skills. You will toss the ball to each other. When you receive the ball, you must give one refusal/exit strategy and then toss the ball to a different person. You must come up with a unique refusal on the spot to remain standing. Can play until the last student standing wins, or as time permits.


 1 minute
  1. Distribute Handout 1: Adult Interview to each student, and then either read aloud, or call on a Peer Group Facilitator to read aloud the directions.
  2. Emphasize that students should interview one of their parents or guardians, but if they cannot arrange that, they should find another adult to interview.

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I like peer facilitators, index card activity, game of improv refusals, adult interview assignment. All good engagement tools.

Daniel D - over 2 years ago

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