Buzz in a Bottle: Energy Drink Dangers, Lesson Plan for Teens

energy drinksUse of energy drinks has been steadily increasing. Studies show that energy drinks are consumed by 30%-50% of adolescents and young adults. They contain high and unregulated amounts of caffeine and have been linked to serious side effects. Marketing of these products are usually targeted at young people. Furthermore, some energy drinks contain alcohol which competes with the caffeine stimulant and can cause a false sense of sobriety. New caffeine containing products continue to emerge and are usually marketed to the teen population. Educating teens about the risks and about healthy alternatives to energy drink consumption can help prevent poisonings.

The goal of this lesson is to increase awareness of potential overdose risk when consuming caffeine-spiked energy drinks and other caffeine containing products, and learn how to get help in the event of a poison emergency.

Lesson Plan Overview

Download full lesson plan as a pdf file

Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to:

  • Explain the difference between energy drinks and sports drinks.
  • Name 3 possible side effects from too much caffeine.
  • List 2 healthy energy promoting alternatives to energy drinks.
  • Critique the marketing of an energy drink during the “tagline” activity.

Materials

  • Buzz in a Bottle video (optional), available from UPCC
  • Activity handouts for each participant: Tagline Activity, Caffeine Tracker Activity, Caffeine Levels in Common Drinks, and Name the Energy Drink.
  • Magnets and telephone stickers (order form)

Note: Materials and instructions for each item can be found in the appendices of the full lesson plan.

Content Outline

  1. Introduction
    1. Introduce self
    2. Explain purpose
  2. Ice Breaker Game
    1. Name the Energy Drink
  3. Overview/Statistics
  4. What are Energy Drinks?
    1. Caffeine spiked drinks
    2. Unregulated products
  5. Energy Drinks vs. Sports Drinks
    1. Stimulants and diuretics vs. re-hydration products
  6. What is Caffeine and how does it affect the Body?
    1. Stimulant
    2. Diuretic
  7. What are the Dangers of Consuming Energy Drinks?
    1. Side effects
    2. Alcohol
    3. Mixing
  8. How Much Caffeine is in these Drinks?
    1. Comparisons
    2. Activity: Caffeine Tracker
  9. Video
    1. Buzz in a Bottle: the Dangers of Caffeine-Spiked Energy Drinks
  10. Marketing
    1. Activity: Taglines
  11. Healthy Alternatives
    1. Carbohydrates such as fruit, vegetables, cereal and whole-grain breads can increase energy.
    2. Low-fat milk following exercise
    3. Water
  12. How to Get Help
    1. Poison control phone number
    2. Activity: program into cell phone
  13. Conclusion
    1. Don’t hesitate to call
    2. Magnets or telephone stickers