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  The human barometer
Updated 18 September 2003, 11.23

PSHE 11-14/KS3/Levels E&F
Risks of behaviour

The parents of a girl who died from drug abuse have released a shocking picture of her to warn others about the dangers of drugs.

This activity allows students to evaluate the risks of differing behaviours.

Learning aims

  • Learn the risks and consequences of behaviour.

  • Evaluate the relative risks of activities.
Read the story:

Main activity
Engage the class in the 'Human Barometer':

  • Collect a range of names of dangerous activities from the class. For example: skateboarding, waterskiing, bungee jumping, climbing, playing near railway lines etc. Include examples of drug use such as smoking, taking heroin and drinking alcohol to the list if they are not mentioned by the class.

  • Label one side of the classroom 'Very risky' and the other 'Very safe'.

  • Display each dangerous activity. After each, ask a group of 4 or 5 volunteers to stand between the two labels to show how risky they think each activity is.

  • In turn, each volunteer explains to the class why they decided to stand where they did.

Extension activity
Students working in small groups could answer the

This can be done online or by making copies for each student.

Some of the answers can only be found in the

Answers for the quiz:

1. Depression
2. Class A
3. Halved
4. 10%
5. Heroin stops cracks' paranoia
6. Legs, stomach
7. 11 years old
8. Alert, emotional, effects last 3 hours
9. Only by using a laboratory

Recap on the main teaching points and see if students can reach a consensus over how risky drug use is.

Teachers' Background

  • Children as young as 11 were targeted in the poster campaign, which appeared in pubs, bars and clubs.

  • Already about 220,000 youngsters take Class A drugs like ecstasy and cocaine.

  • Health Minister Hazel Blears said: "Children must have access to all the information and support they need in order to live healthy lifestyles and to avoid the tragedy of drug misuse."

  • Mark McLean, from the National Drugs Helpline, said there was around a quarter of a million young people thinking about taking Class A drugs over the New Year.

  • Last year the advice line received 275,000 inquiries from callers with an average age of 16.

  • Home Office Minister Bob Ainsworth said: "Less dramatic side-effects of taking Class A drugs can include long-term medical problems such as panic attacks, paranoia, depression, sleeplessness and heart problems."

  • Students can call the National Drugs Helpline, on 0800 776600, for reliable information about the dangers of drugs.

For all links and resources click at top right.

More InfoBORDER=0
TeachersDrugs quizsheet
UKGirl dies on railway line
Find OutOur Summer Safety guide
QuizTry the quiz online


Past StoriesBORDER=0
Summer safety


Web Links
National Drugs Helpline
HSE's Stay Safe campaign
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