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Lessons > High School > Violence & Injury Prevention
Violence & Injury Prevention

21 Lessons


This lesson introduces the topic of unintentional injury and the concept of risk. After completing a survey to assess their everyday risks for injury, students discuss what the phrase “taking a risk” means to them. They learn the definition of unintentional injury and why it is a problem for teens. They work in small groups to analyze risks teens typically take that can lead to unintentional injury, and discuss factors that can contribute to risk taking, including the role played by alcohol and other drug use, peer pressure and dares, and impulsive behaviors. Then they explore strategies for preventing or mitigating the common risks they identified earlier and consider how taking personal responsibility to prevent or mitigate risks can help teens stay safer.


In this lesson, students learn about motor vehicle safety, with a focus on preventing impaired and distracted driving or riding with a driver who is impaired or distracted. After observing or participating in an exercise to show how multitasking can slow down reaction time, they review the fact that motor vehicle injuries pose the greatest risk to teens, and discuss why this might be. They work in small groups to read case studies that illustrate how alcohol and other drug use, talking on a cell phone, texting and other distractions can impair driving ability, and examine the potential consequences of driving when impaired or distracted and of riding with a driver who is impaired or distracted. They brainstorm safety rules that can help prevent motor vehicle injuries, and sign a pledge to avoid actions that can compromise driving ability and/or to avoid riding with impaired or distracted drivers. They also take home a family sheet to discuss drinking and driving with a parent or other family member.


In this lesson, students learn about ways to reduce their risk of injury in various areas of their lives. After brainstorming potential ways people can be injured at home, school and work and during sports and recreational activities, they propose specific safety strategies for preventing injuries related to leading causes of death among teens, common recreational activities and the use of tools and other equipment. They discuss the benefits of reducing injury risks and complete an activity sheet to apply what they’ve been learning to their own lives.


In this lesson, students learn steps to take in an emergency. They define and identify different types of emergencies, including natural disasters, human-caused disasters and personal/family emergencies. They analyze how strong emotions can affect a person’s response to an emergency. They examine actions to take in the event of severe weather or natural disasters. Then they review drills and procedures for emergencies that could happen at school. They discuss the importance of getting help when faced with serious injuries or sudden illness. After testing their current ability to supply emergency information to first responders, they’re given an information sheet to take home and fill out with the important details they would need to know.


This lesson focuses on decision-making skills that can help prevent injury. Students learn a decision-making process that can be used when evaluating risks to help them make the safest possible choices. They apply the decision-making steps to a sample situation, then work in pairs to apply the decision-making process to evaluate a variety of risky situations.


In this lesson, students apply what they’ve been learning about injury prevention to address safety hazards at home and at school. They brainstorm common safety hazards found in home and community settings, then work in pairs to develop a checklist that could be used to evaluate a home or school environment for safety issues. They work in small groups to refine their questions and then conduct an actual safety assessment of a home or an area of the school. Then groups who evaluated each of the environments join to review the identified safety hazards, consider solutions and come up with a plan to address one of them.


In this lesson, students create an advocacy campaign to educate peers about reducing their risks for unintentional injury. Students learn about advocacy and the skills involved in advocating for something. Then they review the ways teens are commonly injured and identify the risk behaviors they feel are the greatest threat to teens’ safety and well-being. After they practice applying the steps in advocacy to an example, they work in pairs to choose a risk behavior they want to help teens change and design a mini advocacy campaign to convince their peers to practice behaviors that can prevent or mitigate their risks for unintentional injury.


In this lesson, students begin their study of violence prevention by defining violence and sharing personal perspectives on the subject. They learn about the different roles people play in violent situations, including the role bystanders can play, and examine the negative consequences of violence for perpetrators, targets and bystanders.


In this lesson, students analyze factors that can contribute to violence and explore general prevention strategies. They work in groups to brainstorm attitudes, behaviors and things in the environment that can lead to or increase the likelihood of violence, including alcohol and other drug use, the presence of guns and other weapons, and gang involvement. They examine how these different factors can contribute to violence, including violence in the school setting, and then suggest ways that attitudes, behaviors and environments could be changed to help prevent or stop violence.


This lesson focuses on bullying, including cyberbullying. Students read and react to the thoughts of someone who is a target of bullying. They identify key elements of bullying, analyze how bullying differs from teasing, and examine the roles people play in bullying situations. They discuss consequences faced by targets, perpetrators and bystanders, with a particular focus on consequences unique to cyberbullying. They review school policies around bullying and then complete the story they read at the beginning of class to describe consequences for the target, bullies and bystanders.


In this lesson, students examine the role bystanders can play in either condoning or condemning bullying and cyberbullying, and the role of the school in promoting a safe environment. They work in small groups to brainstorm steps teens can take to support a bully-free environment at school and take a stand against bullying when it happens. They identify sources of help for bullying, including trusted adults, and then work with a partner to create an advocacy poster or video that encourages students at the school to take action to help prevent or stop bullying.


In this lesson, students examine hazing. After discussing why groups haze, they analyze why hazing can be considered a form of bullying. They examine the negative consequences, especially when alcohol or other drugs are involved. They work in small groups to brainstorm safe and respectful initiation activities and suggest actions teens can take to stop or prevent hazing.


This lesson focuses on hate violence and the beliefs and attitudes that motivate it. Students read a story about an example of hate violence and link the events from the story to the terms used in discussions of acts of bias and hate violence. They examine the consequences of hate violence, then analyze influences on the attitudes and beliefs that can lead to hate violence or help prevent it. They suggest and discuss actions teens can take to stop or prevent hate violence and identify resources for help.


In this lesson, students learn about sexual harassment, another form of bullying. They read a story that serves as a springboard to define sexual harassment and discuss behaviors that could be considered sexual harassment. They contrast flirting behaviors with those that constitute harassment, and discuss why it’s the individual’s responsibility to ensure that all sexual contact is consensual. They identify the consequences of sexual harassment and read a story to review and clarify what they’ve been learning. They discuss steps to help prevent sexual harassment or stop it if it happens, and learn about resources for help if they or a friend experience sexual harassment.


In this lesson, students are introduced to the problem of teen dating violence. They define dating violence and examine the different types of abuse that can occur. They compare and contrast healthy and unhealthy dating relationships and identify warning signs of dating violence. After reading about and discussing why teens might stay in an unhealthy relationship, they review resources for help with dating violence.


This lesson addresses the issue of self-directed violence and suicide. Students begin by assessing the things they value and enjoy about their lives. They examine myths and facts about suicide. They learn about the warning signs of suicide, the barriers to getting help and the importance of reporting. Then they practice how to ask for help if they or a friend are having suicide thoughts.


Lessons 17, 18 and 19 offer information and skills to help high school students recognize and protect themselves from sexual abuse and exploitation. This group of lessons can be used to help schools meet the requirements of Erin’s Law or other state legislation mandating education on sexual abuse prevention. It is recommended that all three lessons be taught in order and within the context of a larger health or sexuality education program that includes lessons on healthy relationships and basic sexuality education.

This lesson helps students recognize and protect themselves from sexual exploitation. After establishing group agreements, they define terms and explore examples. Then they apply what they’ve learned to analyze some scenarios involving high school students. They discuss how to recognize a potentially exploitive situation or relationship, both in person and online, including warning signs to watch for, and discuss why it is wrong to manipulate or force another person into having sex. They are presented with and given the option of researching some national resources that offer information and support for victims of sexual exploitation. Then they practice how to ask for help from a trusted adult for themselves or a friend.


This lesson helps students understand and seek help for sexual abuse. After reviewing group agreements, students explore the definition of abuse. They examine some myths and facts about sexual abuse, with an emphasis on understanding that sexual abuse is never a victim’s fault, and discuss why it is important for survivors of abuse to get help. They identify adults they could go to for help and learn about national and local resources they could turn to if they or a friend were being sexually abused.


This lesson helps students practice some steps they can take to help protect themselves from sexual abuse or sexual exploitation. After reviewing group agreements, students complete an activity sheet to identify areas of personal vulnerability by assessing what situations or pressure lines would be hardest for them to resist. Then they examine techniques people who abuse or exploit others might use to pressure someone. They discuss why it is important to trust their feelings if a situation feels uncomfortable, if someone is pressuring them around sex, or if they think they might be at risk for abuse or exploitation. While reinforcing that sexual abuse is never the victim’s fault, the teacher reviews things students can do to protect themselves from unwanted advances. Students work in small groups to write and practice assertive refusals for a variety of risky situations. They complete an activity sheet to help them personalize the learning and think about the best ways they could protect themselves from abuse or exploitation.


This culminating activity assesses student learning for the unit through a written exam.


In this culminating activity, students create a schoolwide advocacy campaign to educate peers about a variety of particular violence or injury prevention topics. Students work individually or in pairs to research a type of violence or unintentional injury risk and gather data on its impact on teens. Then they work in pairs or small groups to design posters, flyers and other advocacy materials to help teens recognize different types of violence and unintentional injury risks, understand the related consequences and potential impact on their lives, and adopt behaviors or implement strategies that will help them prevent or mitigate their risks.