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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Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience

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

July 2017

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.

Grade: 6-8

Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience

Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience – Neuroscience 101

July 2017

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. 

Grade: 7-8

Sowing the Seeds of Neuroscience

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

July 2017

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.

Grade: 6-8

Starnet: Investigating Smoking Behavior

October 2015

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.

Grade: 9-12

Steroids and Athletes: Genes Work Overtime

Steroids and Athletes: Genes Work Overtime

July 2016

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.

Grade: 9-12

Straight Talk on Prescription Drugs

Straight Talk on Prescription Drugs

May 2016

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.

Grade: 6-12

Stressed Out?

Stressed Out?

February 2017

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. 

Grade: 6-12

The Brain: Understanding Neurobiology Through the Study of Addiction

October 2015

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.

Grade: 9-12

The Pharmacology Education Partnership

October 2015

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.

Grade: 9-12

The Science of Decision Making and Peer Pressure

The Science of Decision Making and Peer Pressure

May 2016

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.

Grade: 6-12

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