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Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • describe the negative effects and risks of tobacco use.
  • demonstrate an understanding of how the heart and lungs work.
  • investigate smoking regulations in their state.
  • create an anti-smoking poster.

Teacher planning

In this lesson, students will be using a computer to find information from teacher-specified sites, and they may also be using an online dictionary to look up words. This lesson provides a good opportunity to collaborate with the school librarian to help students learn how to search for and find information on the internet.

Time required

Two 75-minute lessons

Materials needed

  • Copies of pages one, two, and four of A Smoke-Free Me Mini Page — one per student (if not using computers in centers). To print, open the link in your internet browser. On the right side of the page, you will see a “thumbnails” column with an icon for each page. Click on the page you want to print. In some internet browsers, you will see a print icon displayed at the top of the Mini Page. In others, you may need to bring your mouse to the main Mini Page screen, and hover on the bottom right of this screen. Click on the printer icon and print the desired number of copies.
  • Copies of the Smoking Regulation Investigation handout — one per student
  • Copies of the What Does Smoking Do? handout — one per student
  • Copies of the All About Your Hearts and Lungs handout — one per student
  • Poster board, chart paper, or other large paper
  • Markers, pens, pencils
  • Copies of the Anti-Smoking Poster Guidelines handout — one per student
  • Copies of pages two and three of the A Smoke-Free Me Mini Page so that students can work on the puzzles if they finish their center work early (optional)
  • Dictionaries for the research center (optional)

Technology resources

  • Computer connected to a multimedia projector
  • One computer per student or pair of students in each center. If computers are limited, it will be most useful to have computers in the Smoking Regulation center.
  • Access to the State Legislated Actions on Tobacco Issues State Pages webpage


Smoking regulation investigation
Students use this document to guide them through a center where they learn more about smoking regulations in their state. This document contains an answer key.
Open as PDF (673 KB, 4 pages)
What does smoking do?
Students complete this handout at a center in order to learn more about the effects of smoking. This document contains an answer key.
Open as PDF (78 KB, 4 pages)
All about your hearts and lungs
Students complete this handout at a center while in order to learn more about the functions of the heart and lungs. This document contains an answer key.
Open as PDF (272 KB, 2 pages)
Anti-smoking poster guidelines
You may choose to project or handout a copy of these guidelines to help students complete their anti-smoking posters at the end of this lesson.
Open as PDF (59 KB, 1 page)


Prior knowledge

  • Review the Critical Vocabulary for this lesson with the students before having them complete the activities.
  • Students should be able to identify their state on a U.S. map that is unlabeled.

Center preparation

  • Before the lesson begins, three centers should be set up with the following materials:
    • Center one: All About the Heart and Lungs handout and either computers or copies of page two of the A Smoke-Free Me Mini Page
    • Center two: Copies of the What Does Smoking Do? handout and either computers or copies of pages one and four of the A Smoke-Free Mini Page
    • Center three: Computers (one for each student or pair of students), copies of the Smoking Regulation Investigation handout, and dictionaries to look up any unknown words on the website. If computers are unavailable, this center will need copies of page one of the A Smoke-Free Me Mini page, copies of your state’s page from the State Legislated Actions on Tobacco Issues (SLATI) State Pages webpage, and copies of this color-coded map showing smoking regulations by state.
  • Note that the activities in center three will likely take the most time to complete. You may choose to have students work on the puzzles included on page two and three of the Mini Page, or visit the TRU website to play the anti-smoking games.
  • The SLATI website language may be difficult for some students. Encourage students to use context clues and to skim the information to pick out key details. Reviewing the Critical Vocabulary prior to the lesson will also aid in student understanding.
  • Select groups so that they allow students to complete their work with the least amount of distraction from their peers. You can also decide if you would like students to take their completed worksheets to each new center or turn them in at a central location after each is completed.


Day one: Centers

  1. Explain to students that they will use the Mini Page to learn about the effects of smoking, how the heart and lungs work and are affected by smoking, and about smoking regulations. Then they will use this knowledge to create an anti-smoking poster to be displayed at school.
  2. Explain to students that they will be divided into groups and will be rotating to three centers. Each center will use a different part of the “A Smoke-Free Me” Mini Page. Project the Mini Page on the board so you can show students the pages that will be focused on in each center. Explain that in one center, students will learn about the heart and lungs. In another center, students will learn about the effects of smoking. In the last center, students will learn about smoking regulations and do some research about their state’s regulations. Explain that each center has a different handout to be completed.
  3. Because the Smoking Regulation center is the most complicated, go over this one with the whole class. Explain that students will first read a section of the Mini Page and then use two websites to answer the rest of the questions.
  4. Project the State Legislated Actions on Tobacco Issues State Pages webpage, and show students how to select states using the drop down menu. Pick a different state other than your own for the demonstration.
  5. Explain that students will only need to look at the “Smoking Regulations” and “Laws Restricting Youth Access to Tobacco Products” sections. Show students how to get to these sections by clicking on the links with the same name at the top of the page.
  6. Show students the words and definitions listed in the Critical Vocabulary section of this lesson plan. You may choose to have students copy the definitions or leave them posted near the Smoking Regulations center for reference.
  7. Tell students that if they do not understand the meaning of a word, they should look up the word on an online dictionary. Demonstrate this for students by copying and pasting a word from the American Lung Association’s website (e.g., “ordinance”) into an online dictionary, such as Merriam-Webster. Tell students that the teacher/ teacher’s assistant will be able to help if needed.
  8. Divide students into groups, and direct them to their assigned centers. Give students approximately twenty minutes in each center. If a group finishes early, direct them to an activity you have predetermined for them to complete once they have finished their center work.
  9. When students are done, facilitate a brief class discussion. Ask students to explain how the heart and lungs work, the effects of smoking, and smoking regulations in your state. Clarify any misconceptions.
  10. Collect and grade (or have students grade) the worksheets, as the students will need to use them for the next activity. If answers are wrong, graders should write the correct answers.

Day two: Anti-smoking posters

  1. Before the lesson begins, gather your poster board, chart paper, or other large paper and markers or other writing and drawing materials. Set up your computer and projector if not using copies for the poster instructions.
  2. Do an internet image search for a sample anti-smoking or anti-alcohol poster to use as a model. This could be done with the students, but some of the images may not be appropriate. Decide if you want students to work individually or in pairs. If in pairs, decide the pairs beforehand and notify the students of their pairs.
  3. Explain to students that they will use their knowledge of the effects of smoking to create a poster. Using a computer attached to a projector, show an example of an anti-smoking or anti-alcohol poster. Point out the way the poster grabs your attention and what you learn from the poster (e.g., facts about health).
  4. Go over the poster instructions with students. It will be helpful to give them a time limit and to remind them of the time remaining as they work.
  5. Distribute graded worksheets from the previous activity and poster materials or explain to students how you’d like them to get their materials.
  6. Circulate around the room while students work, answering any questions and ensuring they stay on task.
  7. When the students are finished, they can present their posters to the class, explaining their choices. If there are any misconceptions evident on a poster, they can be clarified during the presentation.
  8. If possible, have the students put up these posters around the school.


  • Check that students completed the worksheets correctly.
  • Ensure that during the class discussion, students are accurately describing the workings of the heart and lungs and the effects of smoking.
  • Student posters should include required elements, and students should be able to explain the effects of smoking using their poster.


  • In the research center, teachers may wish to give advanced students less direction or send them to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention webpage on tobacco, which has more complex and detailed information about smoking regulations.
  • Advanced students could also compare their state and a bordering state’s smoking regulations, using the American Lung Association’s page.

Alternative assessments

The above products would be evaluated for accuracy and critical thinking for advanced students.

Supplemental information

The Great American Smokeout
This page from the American Cancer Society has additional resources that may be helpful in implementing this lesson.
This anti-smoking program is run by the North Carolina Department of health and Human Services. The website includes games, facts, and personal stories from youth.
Guidelines for School Health Programs to Prevent Tobacco Use and Addiction (PDF)
This guide from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may provide additional background information for teachers to read prior to implementing this lesson.
Smoking and Tobacco Use
This page from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides statistics and reports on tobacco use.
Current Map of State Smoke-Free Air Laws
This map from the American Lung Association shows the strength of regulations on smoking in each state.
State Legislated Actions on Tobacco Issues (SLATI) State Pages
This page allows you to click on a state in a map to get information on its current tobacco control laws, including state restrictions on smoking in public places and workplaces, tobacco excise taxes, and much more.

Critical vocabulary

not allowed
a rule
a home
kids under the age of eighteen
to get
exception (to the law)
something that doesn’t count (under the law)
a “lesser” crime
to encourage or support
full coverage (when you have “comprehensive knowledge” about a topic, you know many details about it)
when a rule is not very strict and allows you to get around it in some way
a rule or law


For an extension, students could write letter to their local government asking for stronger smoking regulations, citing information from the Mini Page and their research. Teachers could work with the school nurse to allow students to present their findings and posters to other classes.

  • North Carolina Essential Standards
    • Healthful Living (2010)
      • Grade 3

        • 3.ATOD.2 Apply strategies involving risk-reduction behaviors to protect self and others from the negative effects of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. 3.ATOD.2.1 Use refusal skills when confronted or pressured to use alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs. 3.ATOD.2.2...
      • Grade 4

        • 4.ATOD.1 Understand health risks associated with the use of tobacco products. 4.ATOD.1.1 Summarize short-term and long-term effects of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products. 4.ATOD.1.2 Explain why tobacco is an addictive product.

    • Science (2010)
      • Grade 3

        • 3.L.1 Understand human body systems and how they are essential for life: protection, movement and support. 3.L.1.1 Compare the different functions of the skeletal and muscular system. 3.L.1.2 Explain why skin is necessary for protection and for the body to...
      • Grade 5

        • 5.L.1 Understand how structures and systems of organisms (to include the human body) perform functions necessary for life. 5.L.1.1 Explain why some organisms are capable of surviving as a single cell while others require many cells that are specialized to...

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Healthful Living Education (2006)

Grade 3

  • Goal 5: The learner will choose not to participate in substance abuse.
    • Objective 5.03: Predict and summarize the dangers of experimenting with tobacco.

Grade 4

  • Goal 5: The learner will choose not to participate in substance abuse.
    • Objective 5.01: Predict short and long-term physical effects of using tobacco.