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Mobility activity

Mobility Unit


obesity unit

Obesity Unit


Opioids: Prescribing Patterns and Overdose



D’Scerner: Critical Thinking of Opioid Study

Part of: Critical Thinking


Entire Activity Download (84 pages, 1MB)


Individual Downloads

Although the article deals with a very serious topic, the focus of each lesson is on critical thinking and evaluating the data gathered by the researchers.






critical thinking, analyzing, compare/contrast, study design, person time, person months, absolute risk, relative risk, transformation, dependent variable, independent variable, constant



Using instructional materials in the activity, students will be able to:


Lesson 1: Thinking About the Study

  • Find sources of potential bias in the study and describe how they might affect the results
  • Identify the type of study design
  • Identify the independent variable (IV), dependent variable (DV), and constants (C)
  • Use an IV- C- DV chart to compare variables

Lesson 2: The Results

  • Analyze data tables and formulate explanations
  • Create data tables to organize and evaluate data
  • Calculate person time, absolute risk, and relative risk values
  • Use calculations to predict trends

Lesson 3: Analyzing the Results

  • Analyze data to formulate reasonable explanations
  • Validate conclusions using data
  • Identify independent and dependent variables
  • Use a bar graph to represent data

Lesson 4: Comparing and Contrasting

  • Analyze relevant science literature
  • Use critical thinking to evaluate media article
  • Compare and contrast the journal article and media report to determine accurate reflection of scientific research
  • Complete a Venn Diagram that compares the journal and media articles
  • Relate the impact of research on society


How often do we hear “Research Says”…? To develop science literacy skills, students need to be skeptical and ask “Does it really….”. Using a peer-reviewed journal article that has been transformed for age level, students will analyze a peer-reviewed report of a scientific study. They will compare the results reported in the journal article to a media article connected to the scientific study. Student analysis is directed in a systematic way through the use of four student lessons. The lessons created for each critical thinking activity are similar in structure to help students develop their critical thinking skills as they work through each lesson. This lesson is based on a study that examines the relationship between prescribing patterns and overdose-deaths associated with opioids. The study was funded by Department of Veterans Affairs.



  • 1 class set of the transformed Journal Article Association between Opioid Prescribing Patterns and Overdose-Related Deaths
  • 1 class set of the transformed Media Article The Road to Pharmageddon
  • 1 copy of the Student Lessons per student



The lesson is divided up into separate modules; they can be completed sequentially or each can be done at different times of the year to align with the scope and sequence.



Allow students to work in pairs and provide lessons with some information prefilled for students in need of such assistance.



Students can research additional forms of opioids and the positive or negative impact these drugs have on society.



Bohnert, A. S., Valenstein, M., Bair, M. J., Ganoczy, D., McCarthy, J. F., Ilegen, M. A., Blow, F. C. (2011). Association between opioid prescribing patterns and opioid overdose-related deaths. Journal of the American Medical Association, 305(13), 1315-1321. doi: 1315-1321. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.370.


Pilkington, E.(2011, June 9). Pharmageddon: How America got hooked on killer prescription drugs. The Guardian. Retrieved June 27, 2011. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011 /jun/09/us-drugs-oxycodone-painkillers-florida.






Critical Appraisal to Improve Neuroscience Education (CAINE) 2009-2013:

National Institutes of Health

National Institute on Drug Abuse

Science Education Drug Abuse Partnership Award Program (SEDAPA)

Grant # R25DA025578