Grade 7 Life Orientation Lesson Plan: Understanding Substance Abuse

Materials Needed:

  • Whiteboard and markers
  • Printed information sheets on various substances (alcohol, tobacco, drugs)
  • Scenario cards depicting different substance abuse situations
  • Videos on the effects of substance abuse (ensure content is age-appropriate)
  • Posters and markers for group activities
  • Guest speaker (optional, such as a healthcare professional or a representative from a local anti-drug organization)

Learning Objectives:

  • Define substance abuse and identify common substances of abuse among youth.
  • Understand the physical, emotional, and social effects of substance abuse.
  • Learn strategies to resist peer pressure related to substance use.
  • Discuss the importance of making healthy life choices.


  1. Substance Abuse – Excessive use of addictive substances, especially drugs or alcohol.
  2. Addiction – A physical and psychological inability to stop consuming a chemical, drug, activity, or substance, even though it is causing psychological and physical harm.
  3. Peer Pressure – Influence from members of one’s peer group that encourages others to change their attitudes, values, or behaviors to conform to group norms.
  4. Resilience – The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness, especially in the context of resisting negative influences.
  5. Rehabilitation – The process of helping someone to lead a normal life again after they have been affected by drug or alcohol abuse.

Previous Learning:

Students should have a basic understanding of healthy lifestyle choices and the concept of peer influence.

Anticipated Challenges and Solutions:

  • Challenge: Students may feel uncomfortable discussing sensitive issues related to substance abuse.
  • Solution: Create a respectful and open environment and remind students of confidentiality rules. Consider anonymous question submissions to encourage participation without fear of judgment.

Beginning Activities (4 minutes):

  • Start with a true/false interactive quiz to gauge students’ preconceptions about substance abuse.
  • Briefly define substance abuse and outline the session’s objectives.

Middle Activities (32 minutes):

  1. Direct Instruction (10 minutes): Discuss the types of substances commonly abused and their immediate and long-term effects on health and life using the printed information sheets.
  2. Guest Speaker/Video Presentation (10 minutes): If possible, have a guest speaker or show a video to provide real-life insights into the consequences of substance abuse.
  3. Group Activity (12 minutes): In groups, students use scenario cards to role-play various situations involving peer pressure to use substances and then discuss strategies to resist.

End Activities (4 minutes):

  • Reflection and Poster Creation: Groups create posters that summarize strategies to avoid substance abuse, which can be displayed around the school to reinforce the learning.
  • Class Discussion: Wrap up with a discussion on the importance of making informed choices and how to seek help if faced with substance abuse issues.

Assessment and Checks for Understanding:

  • Participation and engagement during the role-play and discussions.
  • Review and feedback on the content and message of the posters created.
  • Observation of students’ understanding and responsiveness during the guest speaker or video presentation.

Differentiation Strategies for Diverse Learners:

  • Scaffolding: Provide structured templates or guiding questions for the group discussions to help students who may find open-ended tasks challenging.
  • Extension Activities: Encourage students to research and prepare a short presentation on community resources available for substance abuse prevention and treatment.

Teaching Notes:

  • Ensure the content and discussions are age-appropriate and handle the topic sensitively.
  • Be prepared to offer support or direct students to school counselors if the topic triggers personal issues.
  • Highlight the importance of empathy and non-judgmental support for peers who may be struggling with these issues.

This lesson plan aims to educate Grade 7 students about the dangers of substance abuse, providing them with the knowledge and skills needed to make healthy choices and resist peer pressure effectively.

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