Biology teaching about vaping

Andrew Madsen, Reporter

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As the issue of vaping starts to rise, biology teachers around the school have come up with ways to teach students about the dangers and effects while also keeping the main lessons of the course at the forefront.

In biology, during the Homeostasis and Cell Membrane unit, teachers link objectives to vaping. 

Teachers have students create diagrams on how vaping affects parts of the body. Classes talk about the culture, effects, problems, and mechanism of vaping, all while focusing on the main topic: body systems. 

The reason for this is because it helps the students learn about the unit in a more interesting and informative way.

“There was so much information about smoking and nicotine and how vaping was becoming a major factor amongst students that we thought this would not only serve to increase student’s interest but also let them teach themselves about how their body reacts when exposed to nicotine and addictive substances,” Brandon Wagner, biology teacher, said.  

By teaching students about the consequences of using nicotine and addictive substances, Wagner argues that students are more likely to understand the unit than in the past. 

We noticed that students really struggled during our homeostasis and cell membrane unit because it was so dense with concepts that felt disconnected to the students’ everyday lives,” Wagner expressed.

The age requirement for buying a vape pen is 18, so Wagner also thought of this as a way for students to be able to defend or attack laws/policies with the evidence that they learned. 

Sophomore Logan Tinsley said he believes this was a good strategy to keep students more interested in the topic.

“I like how we are doing vaping and the main topic of our unit, because it provides a lot more info and helps us make important life decisions off of the things that we have learned,” Tinsley said. “I also think it made the unit more interesting than it would have been without it.” 

Another sophomore Marcus Campell also emphasizes the importance of talking about the subject. 

“Although I feel like it is a waste of time to be learning about vaping, I think it is an overall good idea because it can teach us about more than just vaping, it can teach us important decision making and how drugs affect our body,” Campbell explained. 

According to the Missouri Department of Health and senior services, one in five middle and high school students in the state is addicted to e-cigarettes. Missouri recently launched their campaign, Clear the Air, to encourage and teach teens about the consequences of using e-cigarettes.