Thirteen Ed Online
Lesson Plans
Alcohol Addiction and Its Effect on the Body
Overview Procedures for Teachers Organizers for Students

Procedures for Teachers is divided into four sections:
Prep -- Preparing for the Lesson.
Steps -- Conducting the Lesson.
Extensions -- Alternative Activities for your Consideration
Tips -- Managing Resources and Student Activities.


Student Prerequisites:
Students will need to have fundamental research skills and know how to access Web sites and search for information online. Students should also know how to download text and graphics from the Web and, if the necessary software is available, know how to create a Power Point presentation, or publish a Web page with the help of their teacher.

This lesson should be done as part of a unit on health or substance abuse. Students will need to know about the human body and be familiar with what substance abuse really means.

Teachers may wish to use certain segments of the PBS series, MOYERS ON ADDICTION: CLOSE TO HOME, as part of this lesson. Please visit wNetStation's CLOSE TO HOME Web companion piece for information on ordering and using videotapes.

  • Color printer.
  • Color photos of the human liver.
  • Model of the human liver.
  • Web publishing software (optional).
  • Power Point or HyperStudio (optional).
Computer Resources:
You will need at least one computer with Internet access to complete this lesson. While many configurations will work, we recommend:

  • Modem: 28.8 Kbps or faster.
  • Browser: Netscape Navigator 3.0 or above or Internet Explorer 3.0 or above.
  • Macintosh computer: System 7.0 or above and at least 16 MB of RAM.
  • IBM-compatible computer: 386 or higher processor with at least 16 MB of RAM, running Windows 3.1. Or, a 486/66 or Pentium with at least 16 MB of RAM, running Windows 95.

For more information, visit What You Need to Get Connected in wNetSchool's Internet Primer.

The following sites should be bookmarked:

  • CLOSE TO HOME -- Educational Guides

    Thirteen/WNET's Educational Publishing Department has produced six publications to accompany the broadcast of MOYERS ON ADDICTION: CLOSE TO HOME, including a Family Guide, available in both English and Spanish, a Health Professional's Guide, an Elementary School Guide for educators, and a High School Guide for students and teachers. These excellent guides are available to be downloaded in PDF format, or they may be requested free of charge.

  • American Liver Foundation

    This Web page lists and discusses myths and facts about alcohol abuse. Other areas within the Web site that provide more factual information are Hepatitis C and Alcohol ( and Liver Transplantation (

  • What is Alcoholism?

    This Web site provides information on alcohol abuse and is maintained by the Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies at the University of North Carolina.

  • The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

    The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) routinely receives a variety of questions about alcohol and provides responses online.

  • Just for Kids

  • Kit For Kids

    These sites are based on a publication produced by the National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACoA). Both Web sites have excellent Q & A sections about alcoholism.

  • Boys & Girls Clubs of America

    The Boys & Girls Club Movement is a national affiliation of local, autonomous organizations and Boys & Girls Clubs of America working to help youth from all backgrounds, especially those from disadvantaged circumstances, develop the qualities needed to become responsible citizens and leaders. This Web site encourages decision-making and has more than 25 national programs that range from education to the environment, health, alcohol/drug prevention, leadership development, and athletics.

  • Children of Alcoholics Foundation

    The Children of Alcoholics Foundation is dedicated to helping children and adults who have grown up with an addicted parent. They provide information and referrals by phone or mail. Their educational materials are used to teach people about parental addiction, ways to cope, and, ultimately, to break the intergenerational cycle of this disease

  • The National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information

    Sponsored by The National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information, this Prevline Prevention Online Web site offers alcohol and drug information, referrals, statistics, publications, and related Internet links.

  • Lions-Quest Skills for Growing

    This is a comprehensive positive prevention program for grades K-5, reinforcing traditional civic values and focusing on life skills, drug prevention, and service learning. Skills for Growing capitalizes on the enormous potential of children and directs their creative energies into becoming capable and healthy young people.

  • The Growing Healthy Program

    The Growing Healthy curriculum is based on the premise that if children understand how their bodies work and appreciate the factors that affect their health -- biological, social, and environmental -- they will be more likely to establish good habits during their formative years. The project was developed by the National Center for Health Education.

  • The Know Your Body Program

    The Know Your Body program (KYB) teaches children that they are in charge of their own health. KYB takes a holistic approach to healthy living, with a curriculum that includes nutrition, exercise, substance-abuse prevention, and emotional well-being. The program uses games, simulations, and role-plays to help students practice healthy skills outside the classroom. The Web site teaches life skills such as self-esteem, decision-making, goal setting, assertive communication, and stress management.


    Time Allotment:
    This lesson may be conducted during four class periods. If students express a great deal of interest, extend the unit for another day or two. This lesson could form part of a week-long health unit on alcohol abuse.

    • Before you begin this lesson, instruct students to conduct Web research about the liver. They should obtain a picture of the organ and create a list of functions performed by the liver.

      To begin the lesson, have the students brainstorm and identify behavioral characteristics of an alcoholic person. This will give you an opportunity to find out your students' prior knowledge of the topic. Since this lesson is part of a substance abuse unit, your students should be able to come up with at least five behavioral changes. Explain to the students that they will learn what an alcoholic is and what criteria are used to decide whether someone is an alcoholic or an alcohol abuser.

    • On a flip chart list their answers, and on a second sheet have the following behavioral characteristics already listed.

      Someone who is addicted to alcohol:
      • Cannot control their drinking.
      • Ignores important social and personal responsibilities.
      • Focuses primarily on seeking and using alcohol.
      • May have health problems related to alcohol addiction.
      • May have difficulties at school/work.
      • May experience depression which could lead to suicide attempts.
      This discussion may take 15 or 20 minutes depending on the students' interest.

    • Now lead the discussion towards what actually happens inside an alcoholic's body over time. What physical changes occur that would make a person crave and continue to use alcohol? What parts of the body are affected by alcohol? Even though many parts of the body are affected, the teacher will focus on the liver. Have a picture of a liver displayed in the classroom. Review and discuss the following factual information:

      The liver:
      • Is the largest glandular organ in the body.
      • Consists of 5 lobes.
      • Processes nutrients following absorption from the digestive tract.
      • Removes cholesterol waste from the body.
      • Cleanses the body of toxins, such as drugs, hormones, and other dangerous substances, that are introduced into the body.
      • Stores essential nutrients, including fats, iron, and glycogen, and vitamins A, D, and B12.
      The objective is to make students realize how important this organ is to the human body. If you can, get a model of a liver to show students. Alcoholics may develop a liver disease called cirrhosis, the degeneration of liver tissue. It is caused by a protein deficiency, and symptoms such as enlargement of the liver and spleen may arise. Throughout the discussion, have students share information discovered in their Web research.

    • After this in-depth discussion, divide the class into three groups.

      Group 1: These students will conduct more research on the Web, and refine or add to the list of behavioral characteristics of an alcoholic.

      Group 2: Have this group compile their factual information about the liver and how alcohol may damage this organ.

      Group 3: This group should come up with a design for a presentation of the class' information. These students should decide on the logical order of the presentation, what text and images to include, and what medium they will use for the presentation. If you have access to relevant software (such as PowerPoint or HyperStudio) or Web authoring software (such as Claris HomePage or PageMill), make sure students know how to use it. Students may also use conventional media.

    • Have students form new groups. Each new group should have at least three students, one from each of the previous groups, so that every group has information about alcoholics, the liver, and a presentation plan.

      Have these new groups collaborate on creating presentations using the chosen medium.


    Social Studies: Have students research alcohol policies in their state and across the United States. A group of students could research whether alcoholism is prevalent in other countries.

    Math: Students may compile statistics regarding how many men and women are alcoholics in America, and in which communities is alcoholism prevalent.

    Language Arts: Have the class design a plan for success. They may create a class journal and outline some class goals to academic success. What can students do to avoid this disease? What types of activities can students get involved with that would help them build self-esteem, e.g. sports?


    Working in Groups
    If you have access to one computer in your classroom, you can organize your class in several ways. Divide your classroom into two groups. Instruct one of the groups to do paper research while the second group is working on the computer. Bring in books, encyclopedias, etc., from the library for the group doing paper research. They may locate liver diagrams and photographs. Lead the group working at the computer through an Internet search or allow the students in the class to take turns. (Always have a set of bookmarks ready for the students before they start working on the computer to show them examples of what to look for.) When the groups have finished working have them switch places. Have the students visit the Web sites listed in the Bookmarks section to locate factual information about addiction and its affect on the liver.

    Look for Web Resources Together as a Class
    If you have a big monitor or projection facilities, you can do an Internet search together as a class. Make sure that every student in your class can see the screen. Go to the CLOSE TO HOME Web piece and review the information and resources presented there. Select a search engine page, allow your students to suggest the search criteria, and do an Internet search. Again, bookmark and/or print the pages that you think are helpful for reference later.

    Using a Computer Lab
    A computer center or lab space, with a computer-to-student ratio of one to three, is ideal for doing Web-based projects. This way, the small groups of students can help each other if problems or questions arise. It is often beneficial to bookmark sites for students ahead of time and make suggestions. Show interesting and useful Web sites as samples.

    Overview | Procedures for Teachers | Organizers for Students