Lesson powerpoint here


  • To understand the ingredients of good decision making.
  • To understand the influence of alcohol upon decision making.
  • To understand how impaired decision making and alcohol can combine to make us vulnerable.

What is good judgement?

  • Play students this video of an interview with pilot Chesley Sullenberger, who landed his airliner on the Hudson River in New York, saving the lives of everyone on board.
  • Ask students to identify why his judgement was good in this situation.
  • Ask students to identify some of the ingredients of a good decision/good judgement.

What impairs our judgement?

  • Ask students to identify some of the different factors that can make it difficult for us to decide well.
  • Explain to students that one of the substances which impairs our judgement better than almost anything else, is alcohol. Alcohol interrupts the functioning of the frontal lobe, the part of our brain responsible for reasoning, planning, impulse control, problem solving, emotional regulation, judgement and social and sexual behaviour. (There is an image on the slides). Alcohol also makes us less concerned about the consequences of our actions: we still know what we’re doing, we just care less about what happens if we do it. There is a video here explaining more about the effect of alcohol on the brain.
  • Ask students to speculate about what might have happened if Chesley Sullenberger had drunk 5 pints of beer before take-off.

Alcohol and judgement.

  • Binge drinking is where a male consumes 8 units of alcohol in 2 hours and a female 6 units of alcohol in 2 hours. Our judgement is significantly affected when we binge drink. There is a slide showing how many units are in typical alcoholic drinks.
  • Play the binge drinking girl video. Ask pupils (in small groups) to identify the different ways in which alcohol has affected her judgement.
  • Play the binge drinking boy video. Ask pupils (in small groups) to identify the different ways in which alcohol has affected his judgement.
  • Feedback.

Alcohol and vulnerability.

  • Play the stay with your pack video. Ask pupils to identify the different ways in which alcohol can make us vulnerable and more open to harm coming our way.
  • Show pupils the slide from the Home Office showing the relationship between alcohol and violent crime (53% of violent crime is alcohol related, the majority of it between strangers). Ask them to discuss why they think there is more alcohol-related violent crime between strangers. Feedback.
  • Ask pupils to discuss how vulnerability is related to impaired decision making. Feedback.
  • Ask students to come up with some ideas for how people can stay safe when they have had a bit too much to drink. Feedback.