To learn the scientific method through role-playing decisions about drugs.
At this age level, youths look for ways to make decisions and solve problems that can be applied in many situations. The scientific method provides a process for thinking about decisions.
Outline the fundamentals of the scientific method, and discuss how these concepts can be applied to an experiment related to drug research (examples: the effect of smoking on the lungs). Explain that people can solve everyday situations and problems using steps similar to those in the scientific method:
1. Ask yourself what the problem is (PROBLEM);
2. Decide on your goal (HYPOTHESIS);
3. Stop and think of as many soluiions to the problem as you can (ANALYSIS);
4. For each solution, think of all the things that might happen next (DATA, OBSERVATIONS);
5. Choose your best solution (CONCLUSIONS);
6. Rethink it once more Oust to be sure).
Divide the class into teams of four and explain that each group will be acting out situations that require careful thinking to arrive at a decision on which everyone agrees. Give each group a situation card.
Explain that members of each group, using the modified scientific method, must decide together the best way to handle the situation.
Two group members are responsible for role-playing the situation while the other two members identify and record the steps the group takes in reaching consensus. The role playing is over when the group arrives at a decision on which everyone agrees.
Have each group present their role play and explain their conclusions, using the steps of the problem-solving method.
Review similarities between the scientific method and the problem-solving model. Emphasize that, although the problemsolving model most often is a mental process, it must be practiced if people are to make effective decisions.
• Create other role-playing situations, or have students share the steps they go through to reach decisions, and discuss these with the class.
Learning to Live Drug-Free, A Curriculum Model for Prevention, U.S. Department of Education's Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program