For teachers with Web access, the first lesson of the module begins by having students watch two short video clips of mouse activity. Students then record their observations of the behavior of the mice. Students come to realize that the differences in behavior are due to the effects of alcohol intoxication. Students are then confronted with a series of statements about alcohol and asked whether they agree or disagree with each statement. This activity helps you assess students’ prior knowledge of the topic while helping students clarify their own understanding.
Students receive mixed messages about alcohol consumption. On the one hand, they observe that society considers drinking alcohol socially acceptable. Movies, media, and advertisements often portray the use of alcohol as part of a desirable lifestyle. Simultaneously, however, students are warned that alcohol is dangerous and should be avoided. This situation leaves many adolescents with incomplete understanding and misconceptions about alcohol use and its effects.
During this lesson, students will
Consult the following sections in Information about Alcohol:
|Activity 1||no photocopies needed|
|Activity 2||Master 1.1, Alcohol: Is This Right? (Make 1 copy for each student and prepare an overhead transparency.)|
|Activity 1||computers with an Internet connectiona|
|Activity 2||no materials needed (except photocopies)|
|a Ideally, videos are presented to the class using a single computer whose monitor is projected to the class. Alternatively, students view the videos on computers individually or in small groups.|
Check with your computer lab personnel to determine which type of Internet connection you will be using. For Activity 1, you need to know whether you will use a modem, an ISDN line, or a T1 connection.
This activity is for classes with access to the Internet. The activity is designed to be conducted by students before they are told they will be participating in a module about alcohol. Students are asked to carefully observe the behavior of two mice and record their observations. One mouse has been given a dose of alcohol sufficient to render it intoxicated, while the other mouse has not been given alcohol. The students’ observations are discussed in this activity and referred to again in Lesson 3, Responding to Alcohol: What’s Important?
It is not essential that the students are unaware that they will be participating in a module about alcohol for this activity to be useful. During field testing of this module, even when students knew that one mouse had been given an intoxicating dose of alcohol, they could not always identify which mouse was intoxicated. Regardless of whether the class knows that alcohol is the topic under investigation, the discussion of which aspects of mouse behavior are caused by alcohol and their relevance to humans who consume alcohol is a useful one.
Answers may vary. An observation relates to what a person can actually see. It involves the noting and recording of facts.
An inference is a conclusion that follows logically from available evidence but is not a direct result of that evidence. This means that people may make different inferences from the same evidence.
This statement is an observation because you can see that the mouse is white.
This statement is an inference because the mouse cannot tell you that it is happy, and it cannot display a behavior that indicates only happiness.
If you see a mouse drinking water, then the statement is an observation. You can infer that, because the mouse is drinking water, it is thirsty.
Observations provide the facts that all scientists can agree on, while inferences are subject to individual interpretation.
Do not mention anything about the mouse or why you are asking them to observe it. This first clip shows the mouse that has not been given alcohol being placed on the center of a table. The mouse is nervous and tentatively explores its environment. It cautiously moves short distances in a circular pattern around the spot upon which it was placed. It occasionally rears up and sniffs the air. Replay the video if necessary.
Students report various descriptions of the mouse’s behavior. Some of the words and phrases provided by the field-test students are listed in the following table.
moving in circles
moving head up and down
rising on back legs
This second clip features the mouse that is intoxicated with alcohol. It has lost its sense of inhibition and immediately runs off the edge of the table. Each time the mouse is repositioned and released, it again recklessly runs off the table’s edge. Replay the video if necessary.
Once again, student descriptions of the mouse’s behavior will vary. Some of the words and phrases provided by the field-test students are listed in the following table.
moves in a straight line
falls off table
stays low on table
Their answers will vary but may include sickness (either hereditary or infectious); exposure to drugs, alcohol, or chemicals; and age. Accept all responses that could reasonably account for the differences in behavior. List the responses on the board.
Answers will vary. Make sure that students appreciate that alcohol causes the mouse to lose its normal cautious nature in a manner similar to that in which humans lose their inhibitions after drinking alcoholic beverages.
The purpose of this activity is to assess students’ prior knowledge about alcohol. Explain to the class that the handout they are about to receive is not a test or a quiz and it will not be graded. At the conclusion of the entire module (all six lessons), the class will receive another copy of the handout and again will have an opportunity to react to the statements. This enables you and the class to see how attitudes and beliefs change as a consequence of the module.
Students may ask you to clarify some statements. It is not necessary to define terms at this point. The idea is to provoke students into assessing what they currently know or think they know about alcohol. Through the lessons of this module, students will become more familiar with terms associated with alcohol. Remind students that this is not a test.
At this time, do not judge the students’ responses or provide them with additional information.
As students discuss their beliefs about alcohol, they may bring up issues related to their family life. Such circumstances require sensitivity on your part. If other students make judgmental or inappropriate comments, be sure to reinforce the idea of being respectful of others’ experiences. If necessary, talk to affected students individually to determine whether they have issues that might require professional help. Also, refer to How Can Controversial Topics Be Handled in the Classroom?, on page 14.
Students will list a variety of sources that may include parents, siblings, friends, television, movies, magazines, songs, and observations of people.
Responses will vary. Information from another person depends on the level of trust they have with that person. Students may regard information from doctors or news reports to be more accurate than that from movies or friends.
Students may respond that scientists conduct research, sometimes using animal models, to learn about alcohol. This may involve making hypotheses, recording observations, gathering data, making inferences, and reaching conclusions based upon evidence. Scientists also review the work of other scientists who have investigated the topic.
This is an opportunity to reinforce the idea that gathering and analyzing data are critical to scientific investigations.
|Activity 1: What’s Up with This Mouse?|
|What the Teacher Does||Procedure Reference|
|Log onto Web site and click on “Lesson 1—Alcohol: Separating Fact from Fiction.” Select the type of Internet connection you are using. Select a mouse video clip.||Step 1|
|Instruct the class to pay close attention as you play each of the mouse videos and to record their observations of each mouse’s behavior.||Step 2|
|Discuss the difference between an observation and an inference.||Step 3|
|Replay the video clip of mouse 1 and invite the class to share their observations and inferences.||Steps 4–6|
|Replay the video clip of mouse 2 and invite the class to share their observations and inferences.||Steps 7 and 8|
|Ask the class to account for differences in behavior between the two mice.||Step 9|
|Discuss how the behavior of the intoxicated mouse relates to that of intoxicated humans.||Step 10|
|Activity 2: Alcohol—Separating Fact from Fiction|
|What the Teacher Does||Procedure Reference|
|Explain to the class that they will discuss what they know (or think they know) about alcohol.||Step 1|
|Have the class indicate whether they agree or disagree with a series of statements about alcohol on Master 1.1, Alcohol: Is This Right?||Steps 2 and 3|
|Collect their responses and save them until the end of the module.||Step 4|
Using a transparency of Master 1.1, read each statement and ask students to indicate whether or not they agree with it.
|Steps 5 and 6|
Discuss with the class how they learned about alcohol.
|Explain that you will return to these statements about alcohol at the conclusion of the module.||Step 8|
|= Involves using the Internet.|
|= Involves using a transparency.|
|= Involves copying a master.|