All Tools and Lessons

Acids, Bases and Cocaine Addicts

Acids, Bases and Cocaine Addicts

This interactive module introduces high school students to basic biology and chemistry principles using the pharmacokinetics of cocaine and crack cocaine. Students learn how the structure of a drug affects whether it can be smoked and whether it can pass through a biological membrane. This is one of six modules from the Pharmacology Education Partnership.
View Activity
An Introduction to the Brain and Nervous System: Brain Power!

An Introduction to the Brain and Nervous System: Brain Power!

In this module students learn the parts of the brain, the functions of these parts, and how the brain communicates with the rest of the body. At the end of the module, students take part in a Challenge activity, giving visual presentations on brain parts and brain messages. Additional activities include an Internet scavenger hunt, the student magazine, the CD-ROM, and handouts. This is one of six modules designed for students in grades 6-9 to learn about the brain and the effects of drugs on the body.
View Activity
BioEd Online Educational Materials

BioEd Online Educational Materials

This site offers lessons for a range of grade levels. Topics cover the brain, neurons and the nervous system, diseases of the nervous system, human senses and movement, learning and memory, diseases of the nervous system, and the effects of drugs on the brain and body.  
View Activity
Brain Power! Grades 6–9

Brain Power! Grades 6–9

A series of six modules takes students through a step-by-step exploration of scientific processes and how to use these processes to learn about the brain, the nervous system, and the effects of drugs on the nervous system and body. This series is part of the larger Brain Power! Challenge Program for grades K–9.
View Activity
BrainU

BrainU

Three lesson plans explore the disease of addiction and the changes that take place in the brain. Students test the effects of alcohol on the roundworm in a laboratory experiment, play a card game that models the unknown potential for individual addiction, and investigate how neurons change their connectivity when exposed to the drug morphine.
View Activity
Cool Science Careers

Cool Science Careers

Students explore careers in science through a series of interactive exercises. They can find their perfect career match in Professional Pathfinder or try out a career in Imagine Yourself. Facts and answers to common questions about science careers round out the series of games.
View Activity
Critically Thinking About a Nicotine Addiction Study

Critically Thinking About a Nicotine Addiction Study

Students develop critical thinking skills as they analyze and evaluate scientific explanations about nicotine addiction and the medication varenicline. They will analyze a scientific study, find sources of potential bias, analyze data tables, construct graphs, and evaluate results. This is one lesson of the seven-part curriculum Transforming Science for Critical Thinkers. 
View Activity
CSI: The Experience - Web Adventures

CSI: Forensic Web Adventures

Teens become rookie CSI agents as they explore virtual scenarios and solve a crime. They learn forensic science and find clues that help them unlock the mysteries of biology, including the effects of prescription drug abuse on the brain and body.
View Activity
D'Scerner: Critical Thinking of Opioid Study

D'Scerner: Critical Thinking of a Study: Opioids: Prescribing Patterns and Overdose-Related Deaths

Students develop critical thinking skills as they analyze and evaluate scientific explanations about patterns in prescribing opioid pain medicines and deaths related to overdose. They learn the process of creating a scientific study to understand how science works and compare and contrast their analysis with that of traditional media articles. This is one lesson of the seven-part curriculum Transforming Science for Critical Thinkers.
View Activity
Drug abuse, addiction, and the adolescent brain

Drug Abuse, Addiction, and the Adolescent Brain

Developed using the BSCS 5E Instructional Model, this curriculum is designed to teach middle school students about the science of how drugs impact the brain.  It contains several lessons that teachers can use to help students learn how drugs can change how the brain functions, causing changes in thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
View Activity
Drug Scene Investigators

Drug Scene Investigators

Students are introduced to four short stories, each involving use of an illicit drug. The students must use clues from the stories, witnesses, and scenes, and from doing laboratory experiments to develop a hypothesis and identify the drug in the story.
View Activity
Drug Testing: A Hair-Brained Idea!

Drug Testing: A Hair-Brained Idea!

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.
View Activity
Drugs + Your Body: Teacher's Edition

Drugs + Your Body

This lesson, developed in partnership with Scholastic, teaches students about some of the devastating effects drugs can have on their bodies. A work sheet explains how alcohol can magnify the effects of some drugs and encourages students to think about how combining dangerous substances could make them even more dangerous.
View Activity
Drugs + Your Body Interactive

Drugs + Your Body Interactive

An interactive activity, developed in partnership with Scholastic, that provides scientific information about how drugs and alcohol can harm a person’s brain, skin, lungs, mouth, and heart, and even cause death. Students can explore the interactive activity, which includes videos, quizzes, and links to further resources, as a group or individually.
View Activity
Drugs + Your Body: It Isn’t Pretty

Drugs + Your Body: It Isn’t Pretty

This poster and set of worksheets, developed in partnership with Scholastic, provide students with scientific facts about how drugs affect different parts of the body, including the brain, and encourages them to think critically about how drug use can affect a person’s health and interpersonal relationships. Facts about drug use are presented in scientific charts and statistics, which students must read and understand to complete the worksheet activities.
View Activity
Drugs + Your Brain

Drugs + Your Brain

This lesson, developed in partnership with Scholastic, provides scientific information about four major areas of the brain and what they do. Students learn how common drugs—such as marijuana, alcohol, and cocaine—affect different areas of the brain. The student article also discusses the chemical changes in the brain that can lead to drug addiction and overdoses.
View Activity
Drugs + Your Life: Teacher's Edition

Drugs + Your Life

In this lesson, developed in partnership with Scholastic, students learn some statistics about drug use and associated risks, such as the fact that young drivers are 17 times more likely to be involved in a crash if alcohol is involved than if alcohol is not involved. The lesson includes information on how researchers develop statistics and how to evaluate sources of statistics to determine whether they are reliable. A work sheet includes math problems for students to develop their own statistics.
View Activity
Drugs and Health logo

Drugs and Health Blog

Timely blog posts feature emerging trends and apply the science of drug abuse to real life. The teacher’s guide features classroom activities and discussion questions for use with selected posts to encourage students to think critically about how drugs and drug abuse can affect them.
View Activity
Drugs and Health Blog: Alcohol

Drugs and Health Blog: Alcohol

Timely blog posts feature emerging trends and apply the science of drug use to real life. The teacher’s guide features classroom activities and discussion questions for use with selected posts to encourage students to think critically about how drugs and drug use can affect them.
View Activity
Drugs and Health Blog: Anabolic Steroids

Drugs and Health Blog: Anabolic Steroids

Timely blog posts feature emerging trends and apply the science of drug abuse to real life. The teacher’s guide features classroom activities and discussion questions for use with selected posts to encourage students to think critically about how drugs and drug abuse can affect them.
View Activity
Drugs and Health Blog: Cocaine

Drugs and Health Blog: Cocaine

Timely blog posts feature emerging trends and apply the science of drug abuse to real life. The teacher’s guide features classroom activities and discussion questions for use with selected posts to encourage students to think critically about how drugs and drug abuse can affect them.
View Activity
Drugs and Health Blog: Heroin

Drugs and Health Blog: Heroin

Timely blog posts feature emerging trends and apply the science of drug abuse to real life. The teacher’s guide features classroom activities and discussion questions for use with selected posts to encourage students to think critically about how drugs and drug abuse can affect them.
View Activity
Drugs and Health Blog: Marijuana

Drugs and Health Blog: Marijuana

Timely blog posts feature emerging trends and apply the science of drug abuse to real life. The teacher’s guide features classroom activities and discussion questions for use with selected posts to encourage students to think critically about how drugs and drug abuse can affect them.
View Activity
Drugs and Health Blog: Methamphetamine

Drugs and Health Blog: Methamphetamine

Timely blog posts feature emerging trends and apply the science of drug abuse to real life. The teacher’s guide features classroom activities and discussion questions for use with selected posts to encourage students to think critically about how drugs and drug abuse can affect them.
View Activity
Drugs and Health Blog: Prescription Drugs

Drugs and Health Blog: Prescription Drugs

Timely blog posts feature emerging trends and apply the science of drug abuse to real life. The teacher’s guide features classroom activities and discussion questions for use with selected posts to encourage students to think critically about how drugs and drug abuse can affect them.
View Activity
Drugs and Health Blog: Prescription Pain Medications (Opioids)

Drugs and Health Blog: Prescription Pain Medications (Opioids)

Timely blog posts feature emerging trends and apply the science of drug abuse to real life. The teacher’s guide features classroom activities and discussion questions for use with selected posts to encourage students to think critically about how drugs and drug abuse can affect them.
View Activity
Drugs and Health Blog: Tobacco, Nicotine, & E-Cigarettes

Drugs and Health Blog: Tobacco, Nicotine, & E-Cigarettes

Timely blog posts feature emerging trends and apply the science of drug abuse to real life. The teacher’s guide features classroom activities and discussion questions for use with selected posts to encourage students to think critically about how drugs and drug abuse can affect them.
View Activity
Drugs in the Cupboard: Brain Power!

Drugs in the Cupboard: Brain Power!

Students learn about the damage inhalants and prescription drugs can cause to the brain when not used as intended or by someone for whom they are not prescribed. Abuse of these drugs can be common because they are legal and easily accessible. Following the lesson, students will participate in a Challenge activity where they will use colored papers to organize facts about these drugs. Additional activities include a public service announcement, the student magazine, the CD-ROM, and handouts. This is one of six modules designed for students in grades 6-9 to learn about the brain and the effects of drugs on the body.
View Activity
Drugs in the News: Brain Power!

Drugs in the News: Brain Power!

This module presents information about steroids, methamphetamine (meth), and so-called "club drugs": GHB, Rohypnol, ketamine, and MDMA, and their portrayal in the media. Students learn about the effects of each drug and how use of these drugs affects individuals and our society as a whole. Following the lesson, students will a long-term media watch competition. Additional activities include a "ripple effects" handout, a debate, the student magazine, and the CD-ROM. This is one of six modules designed for students in grades 6-9 to learn about the brain and the effects of drugs on the body.
View Activity
Drugs of Abuse

Drugs of Abuse

Teens have the opportunity to explore the impact of various drugs on the brain and body.  This site provides an overview of many of the drugs that are abused and is useful for the other learn.genetics sites.
View Activity
Drugs On the Street: Brain Power!

Drugs On the Street: Brain Power!

This module discusses the short- and long-term effects of heroin and cocaine, including addiction. Following the lesson, the students will participate in an acronym activity as part of the Challenge series. Additional activities include group research, the student magazine, the CD-ROM, and handouts. This is one of six modules designed for students in grades 6-9 to learn about the brain and the effects of drugs on the body.
View Activity
Critical Thinking of a Review Article on the Role of Dopamine in Addiction

D’Scerner: Critical Thinking of a Review Article on the Role of Dopamine in Addiction

Students use scientific inquiry methods during laboratory and field investigations to analyze the importance of dopamine in the biology of addiction. Students develop scientific “habits of mind” as they learn the process of creating a scientific study to understand how science works and compare and contrast their analysis with that of traditional media articles. This is one lesson of the seven-part curriculum Transforming Science for Critical Thinkers.
View Activity
Gene Expression is Changed by Cocaine

D’Scerner: Critical Thinking of a Study: Genetic Analysis Shows Gene Expression is Changed by Cocaine

Students use critical thinking, scientific reasoning, and problem-solving skills to evaluate scientific evidence on the epigenetic effects of cocaine. Students develop scientific “habits of mind” as they learn the process of creating a scientific study and compare and contrast their analysis with that of traditional media articles. This is one lesson of the seven-part curriculum Transforming Science for Critical Thinkers.
View Activity
Dopamine May Affect Thrill-Seeking Behavior in Humans Study

D’Scerner: Critical Thinking of Dopamine May Affect Thrill-Seeking Behavior in Humans Study

Students use scientific inquiry methods during laboratory and field investigations to construct an understanding of the nervous system and how dopamine may affect thrill-seeking behavior. Students will compare and contrast the journal report to the media report to determine accuracy of the media report. This is one lesson of the seven-part curriculum Transforming Science for Critical Thinkers.
View Activity
Critical Thinking of Topiramate Study

D’Scerner: Critical Thinking of Topiramate Study

Students use critical thinking, scientific reasoning, and problem-solving skills to evaluate scientific evidence on treating alcohol dependence with topiramate. They will compare and contrast study journal and media reports to determine potential bias, as well as identify independent, dependent, and controlled variables in the study. This is one lesson of the seven-part curriculum Transforming Science for Critical Thinkers.
View Activity
E-Cigarettes: What You Need to Know

E-Cigarettes: What You Need to Know

In this lesson, developed in partnership with Scholastic, students gain a scientific understanding of the known hazards and potential risks of electronic cigarettes, which deliver nicotine in vapor instead of smoke. Activities encourage students to analyze how e-cigarette marketing strategies are designed and how they might influence teens.
View Activity
Exploring Drug Abuse Through the Science of Epidemiology

Exploring Drug Abuse through the Science of Epidemiology

A series of lessons within five modules explore drug issues through epidemiology and how and why diseases are distributed in the population. The modules examine six essential questions that cover who uses drugs, why some people use drugs and others do not, the possible association between the hypothesized cause and drug use, and prevention strategies.  
View Activity
How Do Drugs Damage Neurons? It's Radical!

How Do Drugs Damage Neurons? It's Radical!

This interactive module focuses on the chemical process of oxidation and reduction. It uses the example of how methamphetamine acts in the brain to teach students basic principles about oxidative reactions, including the ability of oxygen radicals to attack (oxidize) cellular lipids, proteins and DNA, and more. This is one of six modules from the Pharmacology Education Partnership.
View Activity

It's A Brain Thang!

A three-episode series of medial tools designed to teach children from African American chruches about the science of drug addiction. In SpaceScouts, the curriculum is embedded within a storyline. The more didactic approach, LockerTalk, presents the content within the format of an interactive game.
View Activity
Legal Doesn’t Mean Harmless: Brain Power!

Legal Doesn’t Mean Harmless: Brain Power!

In this module students learn how nicotine and alcohol cause a number of negative effects on the body and brain, ranging from mild symptoms to addiction. Students will also learn why these drugs are illegal for children and teens. Following the lesson, students will complete a puzzle competition as part of the Challenge series. Additional activities include a mock trial on the legal drinking age, an experiment, the student magazine, the CD-ROM, and handouts. This is one of six modules designed for students in grades 6-9 to learn about the brain and the effects of drugs on the body.
View Activity

Lessons from the Life Science Learning Center - Biology of Drug Abuse and Addiction

Six comprehensive lessons explore the biology of drug abuse and addiction. Students participate in hands-on activities that explore a neuron model, simulate the movement of drugs from a mother to her developing baby, analyze the effects of drugs on rat behavior, and investigate the long term effects of drug abuse on brain metabolism. They also use models to illustrate the role of neurotransmitters and receptors in cell communication.
View Activity
Make a mad, mad, mad neuron

Make a Mad, Mad, Mad Neuron

An interactive game that gives teens the opportunity to explore how the brain works by building their own monster neural circuit.
View Activity
Mapping the Brain

Mapping the Brain

In this lesson, developed in partnership with Scholastic, students learn about several common types of brain-imaging technology used by neuroscientists and doctors. This technology serves as a jumping-off point to introduce students to different regions of the brain and ongoing research into teens’ brain development. A student article explains how MRI, fMRI, and PET scans work and how neuroscientists use them in research. A work sheet asks students to label real brain images using information from the article.
View Activity
Marijuana Facts: Breaking Down the Myths

Marijuana Facts: Breaking Down the Myths

In this lesson, developed in partnership with Scholastic, students learn what researchers have discovered about marijuana’s risks for teens, such as how it can make driving a car unsafe and lead to lower grades. A student article explains marijuana risks, and a work sheet and critical thinking questions encourage analysis.
View Activity
Marijuana: Breaking Down the Buzz

Marijuana: Breaking Down the Buzz

In this lesson, developed in partnership with Scholastic, students learn the short- and long-term effects of marijuana use. An article and worksheet get students to think critically about trends in marijuana use; additional questions, vocabulary words, and writing prompts help students learn about the science of addiction and the risks of drug and tobacco use.
View Activity
Marijuana: Download the Facts

Marijuana: Download the Facts

In this lesson, developed in partnership with Scholastic, students learn how the chemicals in marijuana affect the brain to produce a high. Worksheets, writing prompts and class activities help students analyze how marijuana is portrayed in the media.
View Activity
Meth Mouse

Meth Mouse

Multiple interactive games give teens the opportunity to see how methamphetamine affects neurons and their communication.
View Activity
Military Pharmacology: It Takes Nerves!

Military Pharmacology: It Takes Nerves!

This interactive module uses the effects of nerve gas on the body to explore how some drugs and toxins have multiple targets in the body. It uses the nervous system to teach about the characteristics of gaseous toxins that allow them to be absorbed in the body, the routes that toxins take to be distributed throughout the body, and how toxins can inhibit chemical reactions like hydrolysis. This is one of six modules from the Pharmacology Education Partnership.
View Activity
Mind Over Matter Series

Mind Over Matter Series

A set of nine visually appealing booklets—The Brain’s Response to: Cocaine, Hallucinogens, Inhalants, Marijuana, Methamphetamine, Nicotine, Opioids, Prescription Drugs, and Steroids—that explain how the drugs change the way the communication centers in the brain work and ultimately cause their effects.
View Activity
Mind Over Matter Series: Anabolic Steroids

Mind Over Matter Series: Anabolic Steroids

A visually appealing booklet for students that explains how anabolic steroids changes the way the communication centers in the brain work and ultimately cause their effects. The Teacher’s Guide (online and English only) includes background information, lesson plans, and activities.
View Activity
Cocaine

Mind Over Matter Series: Cocaine

A visually appealing booklet for students that explains how cocaine changes the way the communication centers in the brain work and ultimately cause their effects. The Teacher’s Guide (online and English only) includes background information, lesson plans, and activities.
View Activity
Mind Over Matter Series: Hallucinogens

Mind Over Matter Series: Hallucinogens

A visually appealing booklet for students that explains how hallucinogens changes the way the communication centers in the brain work and ultimately cause their effects. The Teacher’s Guide (online and English only) includes background information, lesson plans, and activities.
View Activity
Mind Over Matter Series: Inhalants

Mind Over Matter Series: Inhalants

A visually appealing booklet for students that explains how inhalants changes the way the communication centers in the brain work and ultimately cause their effects. The Teacher’s Guide (online and English only) includes background information, lesson plans, and activities.
View Activity
Mind Over Matter Series: Marijuana

Mind Over Matter Series: Marijuana

A visually appealing booklet for students that explains how marijuana changes the way the communication centers in the brain work and ultimately cause their effects. The Teacher’s Guide (online and English only) includes background information, lesson plans, and activities.
View Activity
Mind Over Matter Series: Methamphetamine

Mind Over Matter Series: Methamphetamine

A visually appealing booklet for students that explains how methamphetamine changes the way the communication centers in the brain work and ultimately cause their effects. The Teacher’s Guide (online and English only) includes background information, lesson plans, and activities.
View Activity
Mind Over Matter Series: Nicotine

Mind Over Matter Series: Nicotine

A visually appealing booklet for students that explains how nicotine changes the way the communication centers in the brain work and ultimately cause their effects. The Teacher’s Guide (online and English only) includes background information, lesson plans, and activities.
View Activity
Opioids

Mind Over Matter Series: Opioids

A visually appealing booklet for students that explains how opioids change the way the communication centers in the brain work and ultimately cause their effects. The Teacher’s Guide (online and English only) includes background information, lesson plans, and activities.
View Activity
Mind Over Matter Series: Prescription Drugs

Mind Over Matter Series: Prescription Drugs

A visually appealing booklet for students that explains how prescription drugs changes the way the communication centers in the brain work and ultimately cause their effects. Part of a set of nine booklets—The Brain’s Response to: Cocaine, Hallucinogens, Inhalants, Marijuana, Methamphetamine, Nicotine, Opioids, Prescription Drugs, and Steroids.  
View Activity
Mouse Party

Mouse Party

Teens learn how different kinds of drugs change the natural state of a mouse’s brain. Alcohol, cocaine, ecstasy, heroin, LSD, marijuana, and methamphetamine change the communication pathways between neurons and affect neurotransmission.
View Activity
ONE-DA

ONE-DA, Online Neuroscience Education about Drug Addiction

A college-level high school course that uses drug abuse and addiction as a context to address core biology concepts that are aligned with national and Washington state science education standards. Students explore how psychoactive drugs affect the brain from the molecular and behavioral perspectives.
View Activity
Opioids and the Overdose Epidemic pill bottle

Opioids and the Overdose Epidemic

In this lesson, developed in partnership with Scholastic, students learn about the serious health crisis involving opioid drugs as well as what is causing it. They also learn that while prescription opioid pain medications can play an important role in a person’s medical care, the medications need to be used with extreme care. Students also gain advice on how to keep themselves and loved ones safe. 
View Activity
Pedigree Investigators

PI: Pedigree Investigator, On the Case of Nicotine Addiction

Interactive game uses nicotine addiction to provide students with the opportunity to explore the role of genetic susceptibility in addiction.
View Activity
Choose Your Path screencap

Prescription Drug Misuse: Choose Your Path Interactive Videos

Students practice making decisions about prescription drug misuse by stepping into the shoes of a fictional character. They watch clips of the Choose Your Path interactive videos and throughout are prompted to make decisions for the main character about whether to use prescription drugs. Other activities encourage learning about the facts about prescription drug misuse and how it affects the body.
View Activity
Prescription Pain Medications

Prescription Pain Medications

In this lesson, developed in partnership with Scholastic, students learn how prescription opioid pain medications work by mimicking the body’s natural pain-relieving chemicals. A student article explains what opioid abuse is and why it is so dangerous. Students can answer critical thinking questions, do a worksheet, and complete essay or creative writing assignments.
View Activity
Prescription Pain Medications: What You Need to Know

Prescription Pain Medications: What You Need to Know

This lesson, developed in partnership with Scholastic, explains how opioid pain medications work in the body and discusses the risks of addiction and overdose. A worksheet has students analyze data on opioid prescriptions and overdose deaths. Critical thinking questions help students think through how opioids work in the brain, how opioid abuse might lead to heroin use, and what constitutes prescription drug abuse.
View Activity
Prescription Stimulants

Prescription Stimulants

In this lesson, developed in partnership with Scholastic, students learn why misusing prescription stimulants, such as those prescribed to treat ADHD, is dangerous. A student article explains how stimulants work and what it means to abuse them. Students can make posters with factual information about prescription stimulants and stimulant abuse.
View Activity
Questions About Drugs—Answers From Scientists

Questions About Drugs—Answers From Scientists

This article and lesson, developed in partnership with Scholastic, explores some of students’ common questions about drugs and health and answers from scientists at NIDA. Activities encourage students to synthesize the information they have learned about drugs and think about the dangers of different types of common drugs.
View Activity
Reconstructors

Reconstructors

Teens travel into the future and reconstruct the science of substance abuse through interactive learning adventures. As part of the adventure, players help solve cases centered on inhalants, ecstasy, or opioids by gathering data, conducting laboratory experiments, and consulting with experts to solve the case.
View Activity
Recovery from Drug Addiction: Teacher's Guide

Recovery from Drug Addiction

In this lesson, developed in partnership with Scholastic, students gain a scientific understanding of drug addiction as a chronic brain disease. A student article discusses some of the reasons why one person may become addicted to a drug and another may not, as well as some of the challenges of addiction recovery. A work sheet provides an opportunity for students to analyze a chart of research-based risk factors and protective factors for drug addiction.
View Activity
Respect Others. Respect Yourself.

Respect Others. Respect Yourself.

In this lesson, developed in partnership with Scholastic, students learn how to recognize and build healthy relationships and communication skills through discussion questions, group activities, and work sheets. Teachers can also discuss dating violence and drug use and resources for teens in unsafe or unhealthy relationships to get help.
View Activity
Science Education Against Drug Abuse Partnership (SEADAP)

Science Education Against Drug Abuse Partnership (SEADAP)

This program, designed for use in the science classroom, uses the aquatic flatworm (planarian) to teach students how drugs work in the brain to produce addiction. In these lessons, students have the opportunity to conduct experiments designed to help them discover the impact of caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol on the functioning of neurons and the brain. 
View Activity

Science Education Enhances Knowledge (SEEK) About Tobacco

Students participate in missions and problem solve to learn the science behind nicotine addiction, the contributions by various kinds of tobacco products to the development of cancer, and the role of marketing in tobacco product use. A virtual lab activity challenges students to determine whether compounds in tobacco can cause DNA mutations in a strain of bacteria (Serratia marcescens).
View Activity
Addiction: Genetics & The Brain

Science of Addiction: Genetics & the Brain

Multiple interactive games give teens the opportunity to explore how the brain works, the effects of drugs on the brain, the role of genetic susceptibility in addiction, and more.
View Activity
Smoking and How it Changes the Brain

Smoking and How it Changes the Brain

This web-based interactive 3D virtual experience helps students learn how smoking cigarettes changes the brain. Students will travel into the avatar’s brain where they will interact with nicotine molecules and learn how smoking changes receptors that provide pleasurable feelings. They will learn about the reward pathway and how cigarettes impact it.
View Activity
Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience

Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience

Teens have the opportunity to explore the chemicals in plants that have medicinal properties, in particular neuroactive properties. They will explore how plant extracts can act as stimulants or depressants, how some plant extracts can slow the growth of bacteria in neurological disease, and much more.
View Activity
Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience

Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience - Chromatography: Observing Complex Combinations of Chemical Compounds

Students learn that plant extracts are mixtures of many chemical compounds and that it is possible to separate these compounds using chromatography. In the lab portion, students will do chromatography of a black marker to understand how a single liquid (black ink) is comprised of many different chemicals. This lesson is part of the Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience Series.
View Activity
Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience

Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience - Botanical Heart Throbs: Investigating the Effects of Plant Extracts on Heart Rate in Lumbriculus Worms

This lesson should be taught after completing the Infusions & Decoctions: Preparing Plant Extracts lesson. Students will learn how chemical transmission works in the nervous system and circulatory system, using two plants as case studies: foxglove and valerian. In the lab portion, students will explore how plant extracts act as stimulants or depressants and effect the circulatory system of Lumbriculus. This lesson is part of the Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience Series.
View Activity
Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience

Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience – Botanical Superheroes: Investigation the Antibacterial Properties of Plant Extracts

Students learn that bacteria can cause illness, including neurological diseases such as meningitis. In the lab portion, they examine whether some plant extracts are effective at slowing down the growth of bacteria. Students will expose bacteria to penicillin, water, and several different plant extracts (including garlic juice and the essential oils of tea tree and clove) to determine whether plant extracts inhibit bacterial growth. This lesson is part of the Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience Series
View Activity

Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience – Heads and Tails: Investigating the Effects of Plant Extracts on Planaria Regeneration

This lesson should be taught after completing the Infusions & Decoctions: Preparing Plant Extracts lesson. Students are introduced to the concepts of stem cells and regeneration using planaria as a model organism. Students will learn how neuroscience research promotes health and leads to understanding and therapies. This lesson is part of the Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience Series
View Activity
Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience

Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience – If Worms Drank Coffee: Investigating the Effects of Plant Extracts on Planaria Movement

Students will observe and count planaria (flatworms) movements with and without the addition of a plant extract. Just as plants are used daily to alter mental function, some people regularly use alcohol, nicotine, and illegal drugs such as cocaine; these drugs are derived from plants and have large effects on the human nervous system. Students will explore how plant extracts act as stimulants or depressants and affect planaria movement. This lesson is part of the Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience Series
View Activity
Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience

Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience – Infusions & Decoctions: Preparing Plant Extracts

Students learn that many plants contain chemicals with medical properties, including neuroactive properties. These chemicals can affect the nervous system when an organism is exposed to the chemicals. Students learn how plants have been used around the world to treat illness and alter brain function. This lesson is part of the Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience Series.
View Activity
Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience

Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience – Neuroscience 101

In this interactive lesson, students will learn the basic anatomy and physiology of the nervous system. Starting with the structure of the brain, spinal cord, and nerve cells, student will then learn about neurotransmission, the electrochemical process by which neurons send signals. They will participate in several activities that model the functions of neurons. This lesson is part of the Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience Series
View Activity
Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience

Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience – SpikerBox: Listening in on the Neural Activity of Cockroaches

In this lab, students will investigate if cayenne pepper extract affects the electrical communication in the cockroach nervous system. They will use a SpikerBox, a “bioamplifier” that allows them to hear the spikes (action potentials) of live neurons in a cockroach leg. This lesson is part of the Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience Series.
View Activity

Starnet: Investigating Smoking Behavior

Students develop their own research study by developing hypotheses about genetic and environmental factors that might be associated with smoking behavior and analyzing data from a smoking behavior database to answer their study questions. Along the way students learn basic skills about study design and about the environmental and genetic factors that may contribute to smoking behavior.
View Activity
Steroids and Athletes: Genes Work Overtime

Steroids and Athletes: Genes Work Overtime

This interactive module discusses the use of steroids by athletes, including how they are able to promote muscle growth and their impact on gene transcription.  It also highlights why steroids can persist in the body long after the person stops using the drug.  This is one of six modules from the Pharmacology Education Partnership.
View Activity
Straight Talk on Prescription Drugs

Straight Talk on Prescription Drugs

In this lesson, developed in partnership with Scholastic, students learn why prescription drug abuse is dangerous, even though prescription drugs are beneficial when used properly. A student article includes an interview with Dr. Nora D. Volkow, director of NIDA, that highlights the risk of addiction to prescription drugs. Discussion questions and writing prompts encourage students to think critically about common myths about prescription drug abuse.
View Activity
Stressed Out?

Stressed Out?

In this lesson, developed in partnership with Scholastic, students learn about how the body’s stress response system works and the health consequences of ongoing stress. They also learn about healthy ways to manage stress and why using drugs or alcohol to try to cope with stress is a bad idea. 
View Activity

The Brain: Understanding Neurobiology Through the Study of Addiction

The high school curriculum offers research-based information on various aspects of drug abuse and addiction, including neurobiology, behavioral components, and treatment.The five-lesson curriculum focuses on the science of how drugs affect the brain and features a video with interviews by leading scientists in the area of drug abuse research, treatment experts, and recovering drug addicts and animations to illustrate the effects of drugs.
View Activity

The Pharmacology Education Partnership

This interactive series helps high school students learn biology and chemistry concepts in the context of topics that are relevant to them.  It consists of 6 inquiry-based modules that incorporate principles of biology and chemistry.  It includes student handouts and animations that help bring the science to life.
View Activity
The Science of Decision Making and Peer Pressure

The Science of Decision Making and Peer Pressure

In this lesson, developed in partnership with Scholastic, students read an article on the science of how the developing teen brain reacts to rewards and peer pressure and explore the real-world implications for teen risk-taking. A worksheet helps students think about responding to peer pressure situations they might face.
View Activity
The Science of Marijuana: How THC Affects the Brain

The Science of Marijuana: How THC Affects the Brain

In this lesson, developed in partnership with Scholastic, students learn about different areas of the brain, such as the amygdala and cerebellum, and how marijuana affects them. Illustrations show how the body’s endocannabinoid system transmits chemical messages. The lesson includes a student article, work sheet, and critical thinking questions.
View Activity
Transforming Science for Critical Thinkers

Transforming Science for Critical Thinkers

Students have the opportunity to expand their critical thinking skills through this series of lessons. They begin by reading an actual published scientific study that was transformed into an age-appropriate format. They must analyze the report, find sources of potential bias, analyze data tables, construct graphs and evaluate the results. 
View Activity
Virtual Clinical Trials

Virtual Clinical Trials

In this interactive game, students use scientific methods and process skills as they learn the how to design a clinical trial, the underlying neuroscience behind the medical advances being tested, and the related careers involved.
View Activity
Weeding Out the Grass: Brain Power!

Weeding Out the Grass: Brain Power!

Students learn about one of the most commonly abused drugs in the United States, marijuana. A goal of this module is to use science to dispel the myth that this drug is harmless. Marijuana has a strong physical impact on the brain and body. For young people, whose brains are still developing, the effects of marijuana are even more serious. Following the lesson, the Challenge activity is a marijuana bingo game. Additional activities include a research-based presentation, a media log, the student magazine, the CD-ROM, and handouts. This is one of six modules designed for students in grades 6-9 to learn about the brain and the effects of drugs on the body.
View Activity
Why Do Plants Make Drugs for Humans?

Why Do Plants Make Drugs for Humans?

This interactive module discusses some of the common elements of drugs derived from plants, including cocaine, nicotine, caffeine, THC (the major component of marijuana), morphine, and aspirin.  It teaches basic plant biology, human biology, and chemistry principles by discussing several properties of drugs obtained from plants. This is one of six modules from the Pharmacology Education Partnership.
View Activity