Lesson 1: The Quest for Balance

Goal: Explore the competing priorities in students' lives and the idea of life balance.
Time required: 40 minutes
Materials required:  Student Worksheet 1; a variety of easy-to-find building supplies such as Styrofoam blocks, pipe cleaners, gauze, glue sticks, water, paint, paintbrushes, cardboard tubes, and old magazines

Getting Started:

  1. Write the word "balance" on the board and moderate a lively conversation about what the word means to students. Start the conversation by asking how balance influences school, activities, family, "me time," and physical health.
  2. Make a class list of different things people pack into their daily lives. Explain that school, activities, family, and "me time" can be a lot to juggle, and striking a balance can be tough.
  3. Distribute a copy of Student Worksheet 1 to each student and read the instructions together. Provide students with 10 minutes to complete their worksheets.
  4. Moderate a positive discussion about things students enjoy most. Explain that when you're faced with pressure, it helps to focus on the parts of your life that you most enjoy. For example, do you love playing sports? Do you like to read? Do you enjoy spending time with your family?
  5. Remind students to watch out for obstacles-such as underage drinking-that can get in the way of balance and take them off track. Ask: How do you think underage drinking could affect your ability to succeed? Discuss how alcohol can cause you to make bad decisions, make you sick, and keep you from doing the things you love to do.

    Be Inspired:
  6. Challenge each student to create a simple collage called "Balance" using various art supplies. Collages can be made with foil, cutouts from magazines, photographs, packing peanuts, and other art supplies. Share these ideas with students to get their imaginations pumping!

    • A person balancing various important items on his or her hands, head, feet, etc.
    • A seesaw with different goals or responsibilities balanced on each seat
    • An off-kilter (but balanced!) tower

  7. Encourage students to use their ideas from Student Worksheet 1 and the art supplies to decorate their collages to represent their daily quest for balance. 

    Wrap-up:
  8. Talk to your students about what they learned. Ask: What is the most important part of your collage? How did you decide what you wanted to include? What are the challenges that get in the way of fitting everything you want to accomplish-school, activities, family time-into each day? What is the best way to stay focused when barriers-such as pressure to drink alcohol-can take you off course?

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