Grade 7

Unit Name:  Peer Pressure
Grade 7
Peer Pressure

Students come from High Rock having completed a year of wellness classes that focus on friendship, nutrition, smoking prevention, and physical health. They will also have completed a new unit in sexuality education.  At Pollard each student takes one trimester of health education at each grade level with classes meeting every other day. The overall theme of the middle school health program is Respect, Responsibility, and Resourcefulness. The goal of the Health Education Program is to promote healthy behaviors and a dedication to wellness. In seventh grade, sexuality related topics will be integrated into the existing health curriculum.  The focus of the seventh grade curriculum is on health promotion, disease prevention, peer relationships, and alcohol education.  Sexuality related themes will be addressed as they relate to decision-making, consequences of peer pressure, alcohol use, and the influences from the media on teen behavior.  

Essential Questions

1. What does it mean to have a healthy relationship with peers?

2. What can I do to achieve my best health?

3. How do other people (friends. family, media) influence my behavior?

4. What strategies can I use to act according to my values and best interests with my friends?

5. How can I help other people who are endangering their health and welfare?


1. Identify steps in the decision-making process

2. Assess when one is being pressured to do something they do not want to do

3. Identify ways the media promotes drinking and sexual exploration and ways it influences our thoughts or behavior

4. Categorize advertisements, television shows, movies, and music as promoting healthy or unhealthy behaviors

5. Ensure that one's values and choices are respected

6. Use correct vocabulary in a school setting

Grade 7 – Inclusion of Sexuality Related Themes/Topics

HIV/AIDS education will be taught in conjunction with the infectious disease unit. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI's) including syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia are mentioned with the diseases caused by bacteria while Herpes and HIV are discussed with the viral transmission section of the unit.  Prevention and vaccine development processes as well as testing and research protocols are also included.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ) identities, sexual harassment, and discrimination are discussed during the unit on peer pressure. Various case studies are presented to student groups to analyze and problem-solve. Sexting, sexual pressure, teasing, bullying, and internet behaviors are among the case studies students explore. While an LGBTQ issue is not specifically one of the 7 case studies, case 4 addresses teasing a special needs student. The teacher will add a question reflecting the LGBTQ teasing. Techniques for resisting peer pressure as well as options to address these behaviors are also included.  Creation of safe school environment is also explored.

Decisions about sexual behavior are addressed in the alcohol unit when students see a movie about a boy who pressures a girl to drink. Consequences of her decision, including sexual assault, are discussed. Healthy and unhealthy relationships are presented in an article about pressuring a young man at a party to chug whiskey.  Parent involvement is sought through the assignment requiring an interview with a trusted adult about this issue. Maintaining safety is highlighted with code words and legal issues related to host laws in Massachusetts.

The influence of the media is addressed in the alcohol unit as students examine how advertisements are designed to encourage drinking and promote sexual exploration/exploitation.  

Lesson 1 - Peer Pressure Case Studies

• Examine techniques used to pressure others

• Practice refusal techniques to resist peer pressure

• Explain influences on behavior (friends, family, media)

• Assess strategies to determine if one's health is endangered

• Generate resources to help self or others in trouble

Lesson 2 - Slang

• Identify slang words used to identify parts of the male and female reproductive systems

•  Practice using scientific terminology to describe parts of the male and female reproductive systems

• Critique how slang can be used to tease or bully others

Lesson 3 - Media Messages

• Analyze messages and techniques used by advertisers to promote and encourage drinking

•  Identify how sex and sexuality are used by advertisers to promote their products

• Identify the messages about sex and sexuality that are conveyed through advertisements

Office located at:
Needhan High School
609 Webster Street
Needham, MA 02492
Fax: 781-455-0895
Kathy M. Pinkham, Ed. D
Director of Wellness Dept. K-12
781-455-0800 x2140