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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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

JeoPARODY

August 2019

Students select from one of five categories—brain and addiction; marijuana; prescription drugs; tobacco, nicotine, and e-cigarettes; and inhalants—and a point amount. The science-based “answer” displays, allowing students the opportunity to determine the “question.” 

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

Make a mad, mad, mad neuron

Make a Mad, Mad, Mad Neuron

October 2015

An interactive game that gives teens the opportunity to explore how the brain works by building their own monster neural circuit.

Grade: 6-12

Mapping the Brain

Mapping the Brain

January 2017

In this lesson, developed in partnership with Scholastic, students learn about several common types of brain-imaging technology used by neuroscientists and doctors. This technology serves as a jumping-off point to introduce students to different regions of the brain and ongoing research into teens’ brain development. A student article explains how MRI, fMRI, and PET scans work; a work sheet asks students to label real brain images.

Grade: 6-12

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