Contemporary Science Issues: Lessons for Key Stage 4
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Lesson 1: Cannabis - dangerous or beneficial?
Lesson plan
This lesson opens up the continuing debate of whether this drug should be made legal to some medical patients. There is an interview followed by supporting data to support various sides of the discussion.
Please read the lesson plan below, then read the teachers’ notes, followed by the resources page. You can navigate between the 3 pages for each lesson using the links at the top right of this page
Biology Lesson 1: Cannabis: dangerous or beneficial?
Curriculum Key: AQA Core 11.3   OCRB C1 Edexcel Topic 4
1. analyse various resources and understand that scientific articles are based on research.
2. analyse the possible beneficial and dangerous effects of cannabis.
Resources needed
DVD player and screen/projector.
Card sort.
Starter: 10 minutes
Video clips of three people with an interest in cannabis use – a doctor, a politician and a person suffering multiple sclerosis.
Teacher input/assessment
Ask students to show by raising hands which point of view they agree with at that time.
Main Activity: 25 minutes
Card sort. Cards have quotes from various resources including scientific and medical journals and the popular press.

Students work in groups of up to four, reading and sorting into Scientific evidence for, Scientific evidence against and Non-scientific evidence.
Groups give three minute feedback on their findings to class
Teacher input / assessment
Circulate in class, questioning students about their choices.
Plenary: 10 minutes
Teacher led discussion on:

• Is there a link between smoking cannabis and memory loss?
• Has cannabis been proved useful for relief of multiple sclerosis symptoms?
• Should cannabis be more readily available?
• Do students still agree with video clip they chose before?
Teacher input / assessment
Students vote again on video clips and see if view has changed, using only evidence given in the lesson
Learning Outcomes:
All students must: Understand there are different views about the safety and benefits of cannabis.
Most students should: Understand the importance of information based on research and evidence, not opinion.
Some students could: Understand that scientists may disagree with each other.
Key Skills: Literacy, analysis of text, teamwork, communication.
Key words: Cannabis, legislation, schizophrenia.
Homework: Design a leaflet with balanced information about cannabis for the school nurse to distribute.
More able: Understand the importance of open discussion and scientific research.
Less able: Understand that cannabis is not legal and can have some dangerous effects.
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