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Discuss the benefits and drawbacks of creatine

Lesson Plans by subject 

August 7, 2001
Web posted at: 2:26 PM EDT (1826 GMT)
lesson plan

Overview:Should student athletes be allowed to take creatine? What are the similarities and differences between creatine and anabolic steroids? Challenge students to identify the effects of using creatine and determine if the benefits outweigh the consequences.

Curriculum connections: Health, Physical education

Students will be able to:

  • Identify similarities and differences between creatine and anabolic steroids.
  • Determine if the benefits from using creatine outweigh the consequences.

Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning
Health, Standard 9, grades nine -12
High school students should know the short- and long-term effects associated with the use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs on reproduction, pregnancy, and the health of children.

From Riverdeep: Achieving athletic excellence  

Materials article, "Teen athletes: Study says save creatine for later"
Internet access
News magazines
Health textbooks
Video camera, VCR

Suggested time
Article and questions only: 30 minutes
Full lesson plan: Two to three classroom periods

1. Survey the class to determine if students know anyone who has used creatine. Then ask: What were some reasons for the use of creatine? Do you think these are valid reasons? Discuss.
2. Have students read the article, "Teen athletes: Study says save creatine for later" and ask the following:

  • What is creatine? What did the study by the Cornell Medical College and Mount Sinai report? What are the annual sales for creatine? According to the report, why are short- and long-term effects a concern?
  • Who participated in the study? Why do you think creatine use was more common with boys? For which types of athletes is use of creatine more common? Explain why you think creatine use increased significantly in 11th and 12th graders.
  • What are researchers' concerns about a permissive attitude towards nutritional supplements? Do you agree or disagree with their fears? Explain. Why do you think the report encourages the media community to send out a message of disapproval?

3. Inform students that Canadian runner Ben Johnson was stripped of his gold medal after breaking the World and Olympic records in the 100-meter dash at the 1988 Olympics when it was discovered that he had taken anabolic steroids. Do you agree with him being stripped of the medal? Explain.
4. Pair students. Have each pair research anabolic steroids and creatine using online resources, news magazines and their textbooks. Students should create a chart identifying the similarities and differences between creatine and anabolic steroids. If possible, have students chart the physical and mental changes that occur from creatine and anabolic steroid use.

5. After students have shared their information, ask: Do you agree or disagree with the use of creatine or anabolic steroids by athletes? Explain. Do you think the benefits of creatine or anabolic steroids outweigh the drawbacks? Discuss.

Have each pair create a two-minute public service announcement about the effects of creatine and anabolic steroid use. If possible, allow students to videotape their messages to present to other classrooms.

Challenge Students can identify a program that will produce the similar results to one that utilizes creatine. The program may include weight training, healthy diet and regular aerobic exercise.

If you use CNN NEWSROOM, use the video and follow theDaily guide from August 10, 2000, on Creatine for additional questions and activities.

1. Have students interview coaches about their attitude towards athletes using creatine or steroids to improve athletic ability.
2. They may also want to call or visit a health food store that sells creatine to see what those selling the product actually know about it and what they recommend. (Tell them that they would do this only to evaluate the knowledge of the health food store employees and to determine whether they may recommend its use without being aware of the health community's concerns for teens.)

• WebMD - Creatine
• NIDA Research Report - Anabolic Steroid Abuse, Page 2
• Anabolic steroid

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