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TOPIC: Alcohol

CONCEPT: When you put alcohol into your system there are physiological changes you have no control over. When you use alcohol, one such change is in the area of balance. No matter how hard you try, when you are under the influence of alcohol, you will not be able to physically perform the same activities that you could when there wasn't alcohol in your system. This activity is one of the tests that law enforcement officers will give to a driver that they feel is under the influence.

GRADE LEVEL: 3rd - 5th

Method: Class room demonstration
Time Frame: 10 minutes plus "Discussion"
Material: A straight line on the floor about fifteen feet long. If there is not a line on the floor, you may use masking tape to make the line.


ACTIVITY: Have one student come up to the front of the group. Explain that they are to walk as quickly as they can, but when they take each step their heel must touch the toe of the foot that is on the ground. When they get to the end of the line, they are to turn around and walk back. Demonstrate this to the student so that he/she will understand and the class will see what is to be done. Now have the student repeat what you have demonstrated. This will give you a baseline to compare how he/she performs when under the influence. Since the student should not drink, do the next best thing. Get the student dizzy. This effects the inner ear equilibrium in much the same way that alcohol does. Bring the student back to the start of the line and spin him/her around enough times that he/she becomes dizzy. Now point the student in the right direction and have the student repeat the activity just as he/she did before. You should walk along with the student to be sure he/she doesn't fall or bump into something while in the dizzy state. As the student walks the line, it will be obvious that the student is not doing as well as he/she did the first time. To insure this be sure that you spin the student around enough times to make the student really dizzy. Repeat with one or two other students.

DISCUSSION: After the demonstration facilitate a discussion utilizing the following questions. Be sure to emphasize that the use of alcohol and other drugs impact a persons ability to perform many activities safely.

Discussion ideas:

  • How did the student do the first time he/she tried this activity?

  • How did the student do the second time he/she tried this activity?

  • What was the difference between the two activities?

  • Ask the student how he/she felt during both activities?

  • How do you think this would affect a person trying to drive a car?

  • What are some of the other activities that a person couldn't do when he/she was under the influence?

  • Would you want to ride in a car with a person who is under the influence?

  • How would you say "no" if someone who had been drinking offered you a ride?

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