Friday, May 29, 2015

Teens and Tobacco

published on: 2/28/2003

Contributing Teacher(s): Linda Null

Subject Area: Health and Physical Education/Health

Grade Range: Middle Grades (6-8)

Materials Needed: Teen smoking survey questions, spreadsheet program such as Excel, calculators, and word processor program such as Microsoft Word

Objective: The student will represent graphically the data collected from a teen smoking survey and draw various conclusions about teen smoking based on the survey. The student will report their findings in a newsletter to the student body.

Instructional Strategy: Generating and Testing Hypothesis

Process Standards:

  • Goal 1.2 conduct research to answer questions and evaluate information and ideas
  • Goal 1.8 organize data, information and ideas into useful forms (including charts, graphs, outlines)
  • Goal 2.1 plan and make written, oral and visual presentations for a variety of purposes and audiences

Content Standards:

  • Communication Arts 1. Speaking and writing standard English (including grammar, usage, punctuation, spelling, ...)
  • Communication Arts 3. Reading and evaluating nonfiction works and material (such as biographies, newspap...)
  • Health/Phys Ed 5. Methods used to assess health, reduce risk factors, and avoid high risk behaviors...


    Time Allowance: Varies

    Description: Students conduct a smoking survey and graph the data.

    Classroom Component:
    Develop a survey and distribute to the high school, middle school, or both. After collecting the surveys, let your students make some predictions of their own before seeing the actual results. Ask questions such as the following:

    1. What percentage of the high school, junior high, or middle school smokes in your opinion?

    2. Do you think teens who smoke are more likely to have parents who smoke?

    Split students into small groups and assign them parts of the survey to tally. Have all groups switch papers in an organized way, such as clockwise, until all papers have been tallied. Next have them brainstorm to list all the different ways these results can be graphed. Have them represent the data from the surveys using a spreadsheet program. When finished, bring students back together to share their graphs and findings with the entire class. Ask questions such as "Were any of the results surprising or not what you expected?" Emphasize that even though your purpose of the survey was for statistical analysis, ask how this survey might be of interest to other groups, such as parents, school administrators, tobacco companies, etc.

    After discussion, have students working in small groups write a newsletter about what they did and what they found out using this survey. Also, have them display their graphs and any newspaper or magazine articles they found about teen smoking.

    1. Have students use a spreadsheet to calculate the amount of money saved each day, week, and year given the price of various brands of cigarettes.

    2. Have students research the effects of advertising on teen smokers and trends in teen smoking over the past decade.

    3. Have students write original slogans to encourage students not to smoke and design posters advertising their slogans.

    Teacher's Notes:

    This would be a good project to do during drug awareness week or the Great American Smokeout Day. It could easily be integrated with the other subject areas, such as science, English, and art. Also, you can get lots of excellent material (and it's free!) from the American Cancer Society.

    Last year when I did this unit, my students made bar graphs and circle graphs using Excel. They also researched the history of smoking and made a bulletin board displaying their research findings and tips for quitting.


    25 pts.

    The student gathered, organized, and tallied results of the survey.

    25 pts.

    The student made at least 5 graphs displaying the results of the survey.

    50 pts.

    The student, working with others, wrote and typed a newsletter to share results of survey with the rest of the student body.

    The information you provided in the survey below is to be used solely for data and statistical analysis. You are not required to sign your name.


    1. Do you smoke?
      a. If yes, at what age did you begin smoking?
      b. If no, have you ever tried smoking?

    2. Are you male or female?

    3. How old are you?

    4. Do your parents smoke?

    5. Do you feel smoking should be prohibited in public places?  Why or why not?

    6. Do you agree with President Clinton's proposals to crack down on teen smoking (ban on vending machines and tobacco sponsorship of sporting events, etc.)?

      If you answered yes on Question 1, please answer the following 4 questions.

    7. How many cigarettes do you smoke each day?

    8. What brand do you smoke?

    9. What is the cost per pack?

    10. What most influenced your decision to smoke?


    sample newsletter

    sample bar graph

    For additional information contact :
    Linda Null
    Fisk Elem.
    Twin Rivers R-X
    (573) 967-3607

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