Lesson Plans

Drug Testing: A Hair-Brained Idea!

Created by : 
Duke University Medical Center, The North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics

In this interactive module, the distribution of drugs throughout the bloodstream and their accumulation in a specific target (i.e., hair) is used to teach students about the chemical properties of drugs, the properties of biological membranes, conversion of drugs to metabolites by enzymes in the liver, and more. This is one of six modules from the Pharmacology Education Partnership that helps high school students learn biology and chemistry concepts through the study of drugs.

What’s In the Lesson Plan: 

  • 1 interactive module
  • Teacher instructional guide and notes
  • Content background information
  • Student handout
  • Classroom activities
  • Additional Resources

Grade Level(s): 


Student Skills Targeted: 

  • Understanding of how drugs get transported from the bloodstream to specific cells
  • Understanding of how hair is made and how the color of hair is produced
  • Knowledge of why drugs that are weak bases bind to hair pigment

Time / Duration: 

  • 1-2 class periods


  • Computer with Internet access per 1 or 2 students
  • Printer/copier for printable module worksheet and answer guide

Alignment with National Standards: 

  • Next Generation High School Physical Science Standards
  • Common Core Standards


  • English