Impairment Awareness

In this lesson, students will move in a variety of ways while navigating through obstacles and performing actions to simulate impairment. The impact of this simulation will encourage students to safer decision making and choices.

Grade Level: Grades 7-8

Subject: Road Safety

Time Required: 60 minutes

Overall Expectations:

  • Health and Physical Education 2019:
    Grade 7 Healthy Living – C1, D3
  • Health and Physical Education 2019:
    Grade 8 Healthy Living – C1, D2
  • Language 2006:
    Grade 8 Oral Communication – 1
  • Language 2006:
    Grade 8 Writing – 1

Lesson Set-Up
(10 minutes before students arrive)

  • Teachers or students can set-up an obstacle course in the gymnasium using cones which will lead students around the gym (Appendix 4).

The course will be guided by the obstacle course cues cards, as follows:

  • Teacher will print and cut out cue cards (Appendix 2) according to their colour.
    • There are two sets of cue cards; one green and one orange.
    • Cue cards are not handed out to students.
    • Cue cards will be at each cone and will instruct students on the path they are to take.
    • Students starting on green only follow instructions on green cue cards.
    • Students starting on orange only follow instructions on orange cue cards.
  • The course should take approximately 3 – 5 minutes to complete.

Activate/Minds On
(10 minutes)

  • Teacher will ask two students to volunteer and demonstrate to the class how to navigate the course.
  • FIRST VOLUNTEER: The first volunteer student will come to the front of the gymnasium and will navigate the obstacle course from start to finish, using the green set of cue cards.
  • SECOND VOLUNTEER: The second volunteer will be asked to complete the obstacle course from the finish to the start, using the orange set of cue cards.
    • Both volunteers will be asked to read the cues aloud, and navigate their way around the course.
    • Their times will be recorded.
    • Teacher will tell the class that they will be completing the obstacle course individually as laid out in the gymnasium.
  • The obstacle course will serve as their community; complete with stop signs, lights, and everyday obstacles and interactions.
  • Students are to navigate at their own speed i.e., walk, jog or run.
  • Students are to read the cue cards and follow the directions until they complete the course.
  • Students will complete the course twice, individually:
    • once using the green cue cards, and
    • once using the orange cue cards
  • Both times, students will record their times, observations and challenges.
  • Teacher will show students the graphic organizer that they are to use to track their experience i.e., Community Obstacle Course Tracking and Observation Graphic Organizer (Appendix 1)
  • Teacher will ask students to closely observe both volunteers as they navigate the obstacle course. To look specifically at their judgment, inhibitions, reactions and coordination.
  • Teacher will ask the students what they have observed. Students can share observations ‘popcorn’ style.

(20 minutes)

  • Teacher will give the students the ‘Community Obstacle Course Tracking and Observation Graphic Organizer’ (Appendix 1). They will be reminded to read each cue card, follow the instructions, and track their end time and observations after the first and the second times through the course.
  • Teachers can divide the class into 4 sections i.e., A, B, C, D.
    Section A – Begin at start using the green set of cue cards.
    Section B – Begin at the finish using the orange set of cue cards. (2 minutes delay for section C and D to avoid congestion on the course) Section C – Begin at the finish using the green set of cue cards.
    Section D – Begin at the start using the orange set of cue cards.
  • Students will complete the obstacle course twice and record their observations. Their organizer can be filled out in point form jot notes. The self reflection is meant to be a silent reflection before the class shares their observations.
  • Teacher discloses to the students that the second set of cue cards are to simulate impairment by drugs or alcohol and represent that impairment can be observed in four main ways:
    Judgment, Inhibitions, Reactions, Coordinations. Students will be asked to share experiences and observations from each category.
  • Teacher will then share the official definition of impairment and will ask students to assemble in groups of three or four to brainstorm what consequences this could have on themselves and others’ and to provide strategies and solutions that are accessible to them and will keep them safe. This can be tracked on the second graphic organizer ‘Impairment Awareness and Consequences for Self and Others in your Community’ (Appendix 3).
  • Student groups will share their ideas as a whole class.


  • Students will post their group graphic organizers around the class or outside of their classroom for their peers to see.


  • Participation in obstacle course
  • Completion of graphic organizer
  • Group conferencing with teacher

Learning Outcomes

  • Grade 7, Personal Safety and Injury Prevention
    • D2.2: demonstrate the ability to assess situations for potential dangers.
  • Grade 8, Personal Safety and Injury Prevention
    • D3.2: analyse the personal and societal implications of issues related to substance use, addictions, and related behaviours.
  • Grade 7 & 8, Writing
    • 1.2: generate ideas about more challenging topics and identify those most appropriate to the purpose.
  • Grade 8, Oral Communication
    • 1.9: identify a wide variety of presentation strategies used in oral texts, evaluate their effectiveness, and suggest other strategies that might have been as effective or more so.