Lesson Plan and Activity Finder

Find FREE science- and standards-based classroom lessons and multimedia activities on teens and drugs – all funded or created by NIDA.
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Drugs and the Teen Brain

Drugs and the Teen Brain

June 2019

This lesson, developed in partnership with Scholastic, provides scientific information about teen brain development and the effect of drugs and alcohol use on the brain. Students learn why they are at a greater risk of becoming addicted to drugs than adults. Includes an adapted version for grades 4-6 reading level. 

Grade: 6-12

Drugs in the Cupboard: Brain Power!

Drugs in the Cupboard: Brain Power!

July 2016

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.

Grade: 6-9

Drugs in the News: Brain Power!

Drugs in the News: Brain Power!

July 2016

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. 

Grade: 6-9

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. 

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: A Dangerous Trend

E-Cigarettes: A Dangerous Trend

June 2019

Teens now use e-cigarettes more than any other nicotine-containing product. In this lesson, students gain a scientific understanding of the known hazards and potential risks of electronic cigarettes. Includes an adapted version for grades 4-6 reading level. 

Grade: 6-12

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

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