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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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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

Teen typing on a computer

Empowering Teens: NIDA Toolkit for Out of School Time

June 2019

This evidence-based toolkit provides a complete array of resources and information on drug use and addiction for educating teens during out of school time. The activities are designed for educators, parents, youth-serving organizations and anyone who has the opportunity to educate teens. The kit includes science-based activities and lessons, each with complete instructions for use in the out of school time setting.

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

Help Teens Make Healthy Choices – NIDA Toolkit for Counselors and Educators

July 2018

This evidence-based toolkit provides a complete array of resources and information to help teachers and other educators empower teens with the information they need to make informed decisions about drugs and drug use. The kit includes resources centered on three goals: educate students by giving them facts about drugs and their effects; empower students through activities that target critical thinking and decision making; and give educators the tools they need to identify students at risk.

Grade: 6-12

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

How Do Genes Affect Addiction

How Do Genes Affect Addiction?

December 2017

In this lesson, developed in partnership with Scholastic, students learn about the role of genetics in a person’s risk for addiction. They also learn that genetics isn’t the only factor involved in addiction. Students will get tips about choices they can make to reduce their risk.

Grade: 6-12

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. 

Grade: 6-9

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

October 2015

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.

Grade: 9-12

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