Lesson 1 (60 min) Introduction to Analyzing Influences


  • Find images (or use those posted below) and place around room in stations.

  • Print RMC Health's Analyzing Influences Poster and post in room. It can be found here.

  • Optional: Print copies of the 3 scenarios for students to have visually in front of them. See below

By the end of the lesson, students will…

  • Be introduced to the skill of analyzing influences;

  • Be able to describe the difference between an internal and external influence;

  • Review and analyze a series of pictures, ads and videos (from healthy eating, ATOD and violence prevention content areas) to determine how they feel after watching/seeing the images and if it is a positive or negative influence;

  • Be able to explain if someone is influenced in a negative way how it may impact their behaviors; and

  • Describe a variety of ways we are influenced.

Introductory Activity - 20 min.

Examples of influences are posted all over room for students to do a gallery walk. Have at least 6 or 7 stations around the room demonstrating a variety of images. These may be tweets, ads, billboards, etc., and should include influences that are both positive and negative and include healthy eating, unhealthy eating, violence, peace, and alcohol, tobacco and other drug use and prevention. Students have a clipboard with a numbered sheet on it. Each station is numbered. Examples of images may include:

Video Game.jpg

As students walk around the room, they look at the image or text/post and answer the following questions for each numbered station:

1. How does seeing this make you feel? Use 1-2 words to describe your feelings
2. Is this influence positive (good) or negative (bad)?

Introduce the Skill of Analyzing Influences - 10 min.

Find posters and more information on this model at:  RMC Health

Find posters and more information on this model at: RMC Health

Show the image of the Analyzing Influences model.

  • Explain that step 1 is about Identifying a Situation. Ask students what situations they find themselves in in which they need to analyze if an influence is positive or negative. Have a few students share out.

  • Step 2 is about identifying whether the influence is internal or external. Define internal as influences that come from inside of you. External influences come from outside of you. However, share that you don’t have a choice as to the external influences around you- you are going to face multiple influences, especially around risk behaviors.  Some positive, some negative.  You can only control your reaction to influences, which is internal. In groups, ask students to come up with as many internal and external influences they can. Maybe get them started by giving a few examples: Internal: wants, feelings, perception of social norms. External: peers, culture, policies. As they share, create a T-chart visually (on chart paper or board) to post up throughout unit.

  • Explain that Step 3 is about choosing whether the influence (internal or external) is positive or negative.

  • Final step (4) is about making a decision about the influence and reflecting on it.

Hold a class discussion on how the images they viewed are external influences. Some more influential examples may include:

“Putting pressure on yourself to get to bed early for the big track meet tomorrow is an internal, positive influence.”

“Going to a HS marching band event and witnessing parents in the outdoor stands smoking is an external, negative influence.”

“Your big brother encouraging you to eat fruit after school when you get home, versus grabbing cookies is an external, positive influence.”

Explain to students that this unit is around the skill of analyzing influences. Ask students why knowing how to analyze or interpret what is influencing you or somebody else is important. Answers may include:

  • to make important decision,

  • to learn how to influence and persuade others,

  • to be a good role model,

  • to analyze what is a smart decision,

  • to not to be fooled by false or exaggerated information, etc.

Tell students the next week or so we'll be spending time on the skill of analyzing positive and negative influences as well as internal and external influences.

Guided Practice- 10 min.

Share this scenario as a class to begin and answer the following questions.

Scenario 1:

Kat is walking down the hall and hears a fight between two boys in her sophomore class. She runs to see what is going on and sees that everyone is standing in disbelief. As the fight escalates to being physical, some bystanders are shouting and encouraging the boys to fight. Kat always believed that fighting was stupid and knows these boys are showing off. She’s always believed in peaceful ways to address conflict. She doesn’t want to get into the middle of the fighting, so instead, she calmly tells the bystanders to stop yelling and encouraging the fighters. As she’s doing this, a teacher arrives and breaks up the fight. Many witnessed all the events, including seeing Kat step in to deter the bystander behavior.

Who was influencing who in this scenario? Which influences are positive? Which influences are negative? (Kat influenced her peers, boys fighting were influencing their peers, bystanders encouraging fighting is negative, Kat intervening with peers is positive, teacher getting involved is positive)

Was Kat influenced internally or externally? (externally by seeing violence, but internally by her beliefs)

Is it a positive or negative influence? (Kat is positive. Boys fighting is negative- others see them fighting. Bystanders are being negative)

If negative, how might it impact others’ behaviors in the future? (If they liked getting negative attention, they may continue to be bystanders who encourage violence)

Final Activity - 15 min.

Have students read these two other scenarios (or develop a few on your own) in small groups and answer the questions.

Scenario 2:

Your friend Shavon shows you a photo she just received from her boyfriend that shows him not fully clothed and holding a beer. Not only do you feel like this is inappropriate for her to show you, but you’re concerned that she thinks it’s cool. She asks you what she should send back in return since he’s asked for her to reciprocate with a photo. You tell her that you think the photo is inappropriate, that her showing you isn’t cool and that  if she sends something back, she needs to be prepared that it might get around and how would she feel about that. Shavon thinks about it and decides she’ll send a photo of herself, but an appropriate one, fully clothed.

Who was influenced who in this scenario?

Is Shavon being influenced internally or externally?

Is it a positive or negative influence?

If negative, how might it impact others’ behaviors in the future?

Scenario 3:

After school events, there is a lot of pressure on parents and trusted adults to bring snacks for the team/band/club. Jose wants his mom and aunt to bring soda and bags of chips, like Doritos. Jose’s mom is trying to persuade Jose that he and his sister should bring something healthier, like fruit and water. Jose feels like his friends will make fun of him if his mom and aunt bring apples and water.

Who was influencing who in this scenario?

Is Jose being influenced internally or externally?

Is it a positive or negative influence?

Closing- 5 min

Have students write down independently all the ways they could be positively influenced by peers, technology, religion, parents, schools, laws, media, culture, etc.

Either collect these or use as a point of discussion next lesson.