Lesson Plans

Smoking and How it Changes the Brain

Created by : 
Duke University Medical Center

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. Developed for use with curriculum on smoking. In addition to the interactive version of this program, there is also a noninteractive version.

What’s In the Lesson Plan: 

  • Web-based interactive 3D virtual experience

Grade Level(s): 


Student Skills Targeted: 

  • Understanding how smoking cigarettes changes the brain
  • Knowledge of how nicotine impacts the brain’s reward pathway
  • Understanding the impact of addiction to tobacco

Time / Duration: 

  • 1 class period


  • Computer with Internet access per 1-3 students
  • Requires installation of 3DVIA player

Alignment with National Standards: 

  • National Science Education Standards
  • National Health Education Standards


  • English