Learning Activity for Grades 6 – 8

Expected Outcome:

This activity will help children identify how peer pressure affects them, and how to say “No” to behaviors that would hurt them.

Focus Scripture: Ephesians 6:10 (NRSV)

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”

Materials Needed:

    Paper and pencil for each student
    Chalkboard or flip chart with markers
    “Pledge to Live a Faithful Life” handout for each participant

Activity Directions

Step 1. – Tell Me About Your Friends. – Give each student a piece of paper and pencil. Tell them you are going to read several statements, and they should write their answers on the paper.

    Sometimes my friends ask me to do things I shouldn’t do. True or False ?
    One thing that my friends might want me to do that may not be right is: __________.
    Sometimes my friends help me do things that are good. True or False?
    One thing that my friends and I do that is good is __________.
    What are your feelings and concerns when your friend asks you to do things you shouldn’t do?

Step 2. – Tell the students you do not want them to sign the papers, but to hand them in to you.

Step 3 . – What Would You Do? – Make two columns on a flip chart or chalkboard. Label one column “Negative” and one column “Positive.” From the answer sheets the youth gave you, write down the items from #2 in the negative column and the items from #4 in the positive column. Add anything from your own personal experience that you feel comfortable with. Talk about how you handled negative peer pressure in the past.

Step 4. – Place students into groups of 2-3, and ask them to “role play” a few of the negative and positive situations on the list. Each role play should ask a student to do something from the list, and then to respond. Use these two examples to get the group going.

    Negative – Student A, B, and C are in a convenience store. Students A and B steal candy bars by slipping them into their pockets. They tell student C to do so as well. Student C chooses whether to do it.
    Positive – Student A talks to student B about joining the soccer team. Student B says she isn’t a good player and she’d rather stay at home and watch TV. Student A says that soccer is good for her because she will get some exercise. Student B decides whether to join.

Step 5. – Talk about the role play situations. Point out that friends can influence each other in both good ways and bad ways. Did any of the students say “No thanks” when they were asked to do something negative? How did they say no?

Step 6. – Write the following on the chart or board:

    Say no. Leave.
    Say no again and again.
    Say what might happen if you do this.
    Suggest something else to do.

Ask students to role-play the negative situations again, but this time, assign them one of the responses listed above. Make sure each response is covered at least once. After they have acted these situations out, talk about what they experienced. How did they feel? How can they respond to negative peer pressure?

Step 7Something to Take Away. – Distribute the “Pledge To Live a Faithful Life” handout and encourage each youth to fill it out and sign it. For those willing to make a commitment to stay faithful, ask them to seek out another class member – a “buddy” – who will hold them accountable for their commitment and remind them why they made this choice today. You may want to make copies of the pledge cards for the young person making the pledge and for the friend who will hold them accountable.

Step 8 – Wrap Up. – Close with a prayer. Pray for each student by name, asking for the strength for each one to say “No” to the bad influences in their lives, and for the ability to be a good influence on others.

Click here for Learning Activity 7 – Handout.