Lesson Plan and Activity Finder

Find more than 90 FREE classroom lessons, multimedia activities, and more on the effects of drugs and drug use on the brain, body, and life of teens – all funded or created by NIDA.
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Drugs On the Street: Brain Power!

Drugs On the Street: Brain Power!

July 2016

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.

Grade: 6-9

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

October 2017

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.

Grade: 6-8

Gene Expression is Changed by Cocaine

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

October 2017

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.

Grade: 6-8

Dopamine May Affect Thrill-Seeking Behavior in Humans Study

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

October 2017

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.

Grade: 6-8

Critical Thinking of Topiramate Study

D’Scerner: Critical Thinking of Topiramate Study

October 2017

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.

Grade: 6-8

E-Cigarettes: What You Need to Know

E-Cigarettes: What You Need to Know

May 2016

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.

Grade: 6-12

Exploring Drug Abuse Through the Science of Epidemiology

Exploring Drug Abuse through the Science of Epidemiology

October 2015

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.  

Grade: 11-12

How Do Drugs Damage Neurons? It's Radical!

How Do Drugs Damage Neurons? It's Radical!

July 2016

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.

Grade: 9-12

It's A Brain Thang!

October 2015

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.

Grade: 6

Legal Doesn’t Mean Harmless: Brain Power!

Legal Doesn’t Mean Harmless: Brain Power!

July 2016

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.

Grade: 6-9

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