Teen Dating Violence

Dating violence is a big problem facing today’s population of young adults.  Dating violence knows no boundaries anddating.violence does not discriminate.  That’s why it’s important that our teens and young adults be educated about the characteristics and consequences of this all too common problem.  The activities in the lesson help convey this information in a very interactive and hands-on approach.


  • Label two sections on the chalk board or large butcher paper with the following headings:  “A healthy relationship is about…” and “A healthy relationship is NOT about…”.  Allow students to add words, phrases and examples to each section graffiti style and then share.  Discuss that the “NOT” characteristics can lead to dating violence.  Show students the Power & Control Wheels to illustrate healthy and unhealthy characteristics.  Show an example of an unhealthy relationship via this YouTube clip


  • Projector & Screen
  • Construction paper
  • Colored pencils & markers
  • Laptops or Cellular Devices


  • Read the article “The Dark Side of Dating” found in the February 2014 issue of Scholastic Choices.  Ask students to be able to discuss the following after reading:  Define the term “dating violence”, identify the feelings you would associate with dating violence and explain what you would do if you suspected a close friend was in an abusive relationship.
  • Students are to create a foldable by folding their paper in half and then in half again and then folding the tip of the inside (folded) point in at a small diagonal.  When it’s opened up it will look like four quadrants with a diamond in the center.  Label the center with the heading “Types of Abuse” and the four quadrants with each of the following titles:  physical, emotional/verbal, sexual and digital.  Using this foldable students will participate in a moveable station activity using WORDLE examples and phrases.  I like to call it “GUESS & CHECK”.  Students guess the placements of examples and write them in what they think is the appropriate category and then as a group we check (go over) the answers.  Students can adjust their answers if necessary.
  • Go over the notes via PPT on the Patterns of Dating Violence (tension-explosion-honeymoon).  Revisit the YouTube clip from the beginning of the lesson if necessary to illustrate these.
  • Read the excerpt of the story “Breathing Underwater” by Alex Flinn as a class.
  • Divide students into small groups of 2-3 and using their notes and the story excerpt, illustrate the patterns and cycle of dating violence using examples from the excerpt.  Guide sheet below.
  • Ask students to conduct research using their cellular devices or laptops for those that don’t have a device and come up with strategies that will help show the steps this young lady (Caitlin) needs to take to get safely out of this relationship.  Discuss what could happen if she doesn’t get out or get help.
  • Finally, as a culminating activity, have students create a found poem and illustration with the excerpt of “Breathing Underwater” that depicts dating violence.  See guide sheet and example below.




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