Drug Prevention Activity: The Cookie Experiment

Since 1985, the National Family Partnership has promoted prevention awareness of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs through Red Ribbon Week. Observed annually in October in the United States, this year’s theme is “your future is key, so stay drug free.” To help teach your homeschoolers how to just say no, use this cookie experiment from the teacher’s guide of the Horizons 6th Grade Health curriculum from Alpha Omega Publications. As students learn specific strategies for refusing drugs, they develop self-confidence for dealing with situations that are almost certain to arise in their lives.

Cookie Experiment Preparation/Materials
1.Bake homemade cookies. (The more irresistible the cookie and the hungrier the student the better!)

2. Prepare an instruction card for each of six students as follows:
- On three cards write, “Take one cookie, eat it slowly, and try to pressure everyone else at the table to eat a cookie. Give them a lot of pressure to talk them into it.”

- On two cards write, “Resist the pressure for about three minutes. Then, finally give in and take a cookie.”

- On one card write, “Do not take a cookie, no matter what!”

Cookie Experiment Lesson
1. Have six volunteers sit around a table that contains a plate of a dozen homemade cookies. Give each student a prepared instruction card. (Before passing out the cards, ask them not to show the card to anyone.)

2. Have students interact with each other according to the instructions on their cards. Allow the activity to go on for about 4-5 minutes.

3. At the end of the role play, ask the following questions:
- How did you feel when the others were pressuring you? How did you feel when you finally gave in and took a cookie?

- How did the rest of you feel when one student wouldn’t take a cookie? How did you feel when some finally gave in and ate a cookie?

- How did the pressure feel to be the only one to not eat a cookie? How did it feel to not give in? How did you feel about yourself? How did you feel about the others?

- What do you think a person who gives in to pressure is afraid of? How did you feel when one student wouldn’t give in?

4. Follow-up the cookie experiment by asking students to develop some practical strategies for refusing drugs. Give students a few minutes to discuss and decide on how to refuse the drugs. Perhaps vote on what students think is the best way to deal with the situation.

5. Go over the following strategies for saying no. Note that body posture and tone of voice are important. Looking directly at the person and maintaining eye contact sends a strong message of calmness and self-confidence.
- The simplest way to resist pressure is to say, “No, thank you.”

- Suggest another activity. “No, thanks. I’m going to play catch. Want to join me?”

- Give an objective fact. “Smoking smells up my clothes.”

- State your opinion. “I don’t like the taste of beer.”

- Simply leave. If those pressuring you won’t take no for an answer, this may be the best course of action.

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