Meeks Heit Health & Wellness
Injury Prevention and Personal Safety
The Leading Causes of Death for Teens
According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number one killer of teens is accidents. Two others in the top five are assult and suicide. Teens may think that accidents are inevitable. They may say that random events occur every day, and there is nothing that can be done about it. This is faulty thinking. There are many ways teens can protect themselves from accidents, assault, and the risk of suicide. In this WebQuest, they will investigate some of the most common causes of death for their age group and create a board game to educate others about the risks they face and specific ways to protect themselves.
Students will research three of the top five causes of death for teens and answer a set of questions about the causes of death and ways to reduce the risk of injury and death. After completing the research and questions, they will design and create a board game using facts and numbers from the research to demonstrate what they have learned.
- Investigate the leading causes of death for teens.
- Determine how some of the top causes of death for teens can be prevented.
- Demonstrate understanding of the risk factors for accidents, assault, and suicide.
- Demonstrate understanding of the ways to control the risk factors for accidents, assault, and suicide.
- Give examples of ways to prevent specific types of accidents, assaults, and suicide.
- Give examples of ways to help someone else who is depressed, suicidal, or taking risks that can be life-threatening.
- Apply knowledge of risk factors and protective factors for accidents, assault, and suicide to create an educational tool for other students.
Students will use the given Web sites to research some of the top causes of death for teens. They will learn about ways to avoid unintentional accidents, such as automobile accidents, alcohol-related injuries, and accidental injuries from weapons; assault, such as physical fighting, abuse, and rape; and the risks of depression and suicide; all of which can result in death.
Students will create a board game to demonstrate their understanding of the causes of death for teens and the ways they can control their risk factors. This game can be shared with other classes or played by the students in class to help educate others as well.
1-2 weeks for research, answering questions, and creating board game
You may want to suggest that students review the list of questions prior to beginning their internet research. Many of the resource sites include several links to other locations for additional information. Encourage students to investigate these links also. They may be helpful in finding information for the board game.
After completing the questions, students may begin work on the board games.
You may review with students the minimum requirements for the games, which are:
- Four pawns or "teens" that will move around the board
- a method for play, such as a board with a path that pawns will travel
- a mechanism that players will use to move along the path or play the game, such as dice, a spinner, or cards
- Four risk factors and Four protective factors for each of three causes of death for teens (again, accidents, assault, and suicide); these risk factors and protective factors must be shown as spaces on the board, cards drawn, or as a roll of the dice to benefit or delay a player in the game
- facts and statistics that support your risk factors and protective factors included on the board itself, on cards, or as part of questions asked to the players
- a name or title, along with a description of the purpose of the game in the form of an instruction sheet.
Encourage the students to be creative with their games. This activity will enable students to use different talents, including art, design, writing, and creativity.
After the games are complete, you may break the class into groups of four to play each other's games. Or, you may share the games with other classes to share some of the students' research.
You may assign five points to each of the 13 questions for a total of 65 possible points. The answers to the questions are given below. You may rate the answer to each question by the following scale: Excellent - 5 points; Very Good - 4 points; Good - 3 points; Satisfactory - 2 points; Poor - 1 point; and Unsatisfactory - 0 points.
Answers to Questions
- Answers include: teens may not be aware of how much risk-taking increases their chances of injury or death; teens take more risks than people of other age groups; they do not have experience with driving, or drinking alcohol, so their ability to control these situations is less than that of other age groups; teens may think they are invincible, that "it won't happen to me".
- Answers include: automobile accidents, falls, drug overdoses, and alcohol-induced coma. Students should discuss how alcohol and drugs cloud people's decision-making skills and may cause them to do something they would not normally do, such as ride in a car with someone who has been drinking, drink so much alcohol that they become sick, or leave a party with someone they don't know.
- 18.2%; students should report how often they feel their own peers use safety belts, compared with the statistic given here.
- 70.8% of deaths of all people age 10-24 are a result of an automobile accident, other unintentional injury, homicide, or suicide.
- Carrying a weapon to school can cause an unintentional injury to that student, or someone else; it can escalate a fight from something minor to something fatal; it can cause others to avoid that student; it can cause expulsion from school. Risks for others in the school include injury and death.
- Students should state that they would avoid that student and go directly to the office and report the presence of a gun.
- Some possible responses include: talking to a friend, parent, or teacher; getting more exercise; making a daily list of things you need to do and checking them off as you do them; making an effort to take part in activities that you enjoy, even if you don't feel like it; expressing feelings of anger or frustration to vent your feelings; and seeking professional help if you have been a victim of violence, abuse, or if you have an addiction to drugs or alcohol.
- Answers include: letting the friend know that he or she is not alone, that you are there for him or her, and that many other people often feel the same way; tell a trusted adult what you have discovered; ask your friend to talk to you about the problems he or she is having; encourage him or her to talk to someone else as well, such as a parent, teacher, or doctor.
- Answers can include: being afraid of the perpetrator of the violence; feeling as if the violence is his or her own fault; feeling unworthy of help; not knowing where he or she could go for help; thinking that a victim needs a lot of money to get help.
- Victims of violence need to seek help to help heal physical and emotional wounds that may have occurred. Also, they need to talk about what happened in order to understand that it was not their fault and to gain the self-confidence needed to protect themselves from future violence.
- Conflict-resolution skills help teens to be able to solve problems without physical violence or intimidation. These skills can help diffuse a situation that might otherwise lead to serious injury or death.
- Teens face peer pressure almost every day. They may take risks they would not normally take because of peer pressure. Resistance skills help teens to be prepared when they encounter peer pressure and increase the likelihood that they will be able to say "no" to risk behaviors, such as drinking alcohol, riding without a safety belt, or going somewhere they know will be dangerous for them.
- Physical abuse is harmful to a teen's overall health. It can escalate to life-threatening abuse. It also causes low self-esteem, reduced confidence, and fear in the victim. These are all qualities that increase a person's chance of unintentional injury. The victim may move on to a relationship with someone who abuses him or her too.
Evaluation of the board game
You may use the scale below to assess the board games.
|Risk Factor Board Game||Points Possible||Notes|
| || || |
|Included at least three risk factors for each of the three causes of death||10|| |
|Included at least three protective factors for each of the three causes of death||10|| |
|Followed the required guidelines for content and design||10|| |
|Used facts and figures correctly to illustrate concepts||10|| |
|Creative design of game||10|| |
|Craftsmanship / quality of work||5|| |
Using their research on the leading causes of death for teens, students should be able to answer the questions about risk factors and ways to protect themselves. Students should be able to demonstrate an understanding of the ability to reduce their risk for serious injuries and death due to accidents, assault, and suicide. Creating a teaching tool for other students will help teens to synthesize the information they have learned and use it to help others become more aware of risk and safety.