Students are naturally curious about their brains and how their brains work. The purpose of this lesson is to have students learn basic information about their developing brain, what their brain is capable of doing, and what happens when nicotine is introduced to their developing brain. The goal is for students to walk away with more knowledge about their brain, understand why it is important to prevent nicotine use, and keep their brains healthy.

Learning Objectives

By hearing and participating in this lesson, students will:

  • Describe the brain functions, including the structures and pathways in the brain.
  • Discuss the unique features of the adolescent brain and its vulnerability to addiction.
  • Explain the ways the brain reacts to drugs including nicotine.
  • Define addiction using the biopsychosocial model.
  • Describe the role of nicotine and its addictive properties.

Key Takeaways

  • The teen brain’s job is to figure out what makes you- you! 
  • Your brain is awesome and full of potential.
  • Everyone’s brain is different.
  • An adolescent’s brain is particularly vulnerable to drugs.
  • Nicotine hooks you and makes you think you need it.

Click above to view the talking points for this lesson. Use the talking points alongside the Canva slides!

We suggest providing students with the Discussion Guide that they can take home and discuss with a trusted adult such as a parent/caregiver, coach, mentor, and/or a peer.

We suggest you end with a Kahoot, which can be found and easily linked to in the last slide of this OR using the link above.

We recommend using Canva to get the full-scale experience of each lesson. If you need to go offline, feel free to download lesson 1 below.

** Disclaimer: Please note that because of the conversion between Canva and PowerPoint, some fonts, images, animations and videos may not work properly. For the full experience, utilize the Canva slides above. 

Optional Activities

Below are some additional activities that you can do with your students as time allows. These are great activities for both middle and high school students to further discussion on addiction.

  • Additional activities:

    • Wants, Needs, and Addiction here

    • Spectrum of Addiction here

  • Keep an open environment for students to come and ask questions or circle back to the material