The use of anabolic steroids by elite athletes and some celebrities has garnered much attention in the press lately. Unfortunately, steroid use isn’t restricted to elite athletes. Increasing numbers of teens who are dissatisfied with their body image turn to steroids as a way to shed excess fat, build muscle mass, and increase muscle strength quickly. Currently, the fastest growing user group is girls aged 12-15, and the median age for both genders to initially try steroids is 15 years of age. A 2006 study conducted by the University of Michigan found that 1.6% of 8th graders surveyed had used steroids at least once, and that 0.9% of them had used steroids in the past year.
Steroids are synthetic substances similar to the male sex hormone testosterone. While anabolic steroids have some legitimate medical uses, teens who use steroids typically do so without the supervision of qualified medical personnel. Hormone balance is extremely important in teens, and those who use steroids face serious side effects and possibly death.
Some signs of steroid use in your students may include:
- persistent body odor
- rapid weight gain with larger muscle mass
- increased aggressiveness, anger, and/or violent behavior
- red or purple spots on the body
- gynecomatasia (pronounced breast development in males)
The best way to deter students from taking steroids or other drugs is to educate them on the risks. While lessons on steroid use are most common found in physical education, health, and science classrooms, the subject can easily be breached in other subject areas as well.
This week’s Joann’s Picks column on the Gateway’s home page, www.TheGateway.org will focus on two lessons on steroids for high elementary through high school grades, and one lesson on harmful substances for younger students.. Peggy’s Corner presents a variety of ways to introduce and study peer pressure and different forms of drug abuse. In addition, we will be featuring many more grammar lessons, and resources on steroids on the Gateway’s Facebook and Twitter pages. Follow us on Twitter and Like us on Facebook so you don’t miss anything.
Discussions will continue on last week’s theme of the space shuttle on both pages. All of the weekly Gateway columns and resource selections are archived on the following blog site: http://thegatewayto21stcenturyskills.blogspot.com/.
Resources covered in this week’s columns include:
How To Identify a Harmful Medicine
Subject: Health, Language Arts
This lesson demonstrates how to identify a harmful medicine or substance and how to respond when offered or discovering one of these substances. While this lesson does not directly address steroid use, it does introduce younger students to the idea that not all medicines are “good,” particularly when not prescribed by a doctor or administered by a parent. This lesson was produced by Healthy Schools, a project of the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.
Tendon Damage from Steroids
The purpose of this activity is to help students understand how using steroids can create problems for tendons in the body. This lesson is a product of PE Central, a Web site devoted to providing the latest information about developmentally appropriate physical education programs for children and youth.
Steroids: Are They Worth It?
Athletes acknowledge there is pressure to take steroids to compete. However, doctors caution that side effects from steroid use can include kidney failure, heart disease, brain tumors and impotency as well as behavioral changes. This resource looks at cases from professional, Olympic, and high school sports and what steroids can do to your body. This resource was produced by USA Today, an American newspaper that covers both national and international news and topics.
About The Gateway to 21st Century Skills
The Gateway has been serving teachers continuously since 1996. It is the oldest publicly accessible U.S. repository of educational resources on the Web and the oldest continuously operating service of its kind in the world. The Gateway is sponsored by the National Education Association (NEA) and supported by over 700 quality contributors. The Gateway to 21st Century Skills is the cornerstone of the Global Learning Resource Connection (GLRC) which is a JES & Co. program.
About Joann Wasik- Author of Joann’s Picks
Joann is the Metadata Cataloger for The Gateway for 21st Century Skills. Her primary responsibilities for The Gateway include locating and cataloging standards-based K-12 lessons and activities for The Gateway, as well as writing the “Joann’s Picks” weekly column. Before joining The Gateway in 2006, Joann had been involved with numerous projects at the Information Institute of Syracuse at Syracuse University, including virtual reference with the Virtual Reference Desk (VRD) project; virtual reference competencies and education with the Digital Reference Education Initiative (DREI) project; and metadata cataloging with the Gateway for Educational Materials (GEM). Her previous experience also includes technology training and positions in academic libraries. She also conducts freelance research for business and educational clients. Joann holds B.A. and M.A.T. degrees in English from Boston College, and an M.L.S. degree from Syracuse University.
About Peggy James- Author of Peggy’s Corner
Peggy received her B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from The University of Arizona, and continued on to earn her M.Ed. from the U of A as well. She has taught Physical Science and Chemistry at the high school level. She is working toward her endorsement in Gifted Education, and has been actively involved in coaching and volunteering in Odyssey of the Mind and Academic Decathlon. She has a passion for teaching critical thinking and creativity in the classroom. She has done work evaluating and aligning lesson plans to standards as a curriculum consultant with the National Education Association Health Information Network. She is very excited to help create a collaborative environment for educators to discover new resources that will enhance their teaching!
About the GLRC
About JES & Co.
JES & Co., a publicly funded 501(c) (3) education research organization, is a leader in research and deployment of education programs based on open standards. With 20 years of experience in interoperability and portability of educational resources, organizations around the world come to JES & Co. for leadership and guidance on education programs and initiatives. Since its establishment in the early 1990s, JES & Co. has led and managed The Achievement Standards Network (ASN), The Partnership for 21st Century Skills, The Gateway to 21st Century Skills (formerly known as GEM), the Dell Academy, the Intel Student Certification Program, and Microsoft’s Partners in Learning. For more information about JES & Co. or the Global Learning Resource Connection, visit www.JESandCo.org.