Teen Smoking: Designing a School Anti-Smoking Publicity Campaign

By Kyle Kleckner, August 26, 2009

Grade Level

  • High School


  • City of Neighborhoods

Subject Area

  • Science

Lesson Time

100 minutes for classroom activities


The respiratory system is an essential part of the human body, and thus is generally an essential subject to cover in a high school Human Anatomy course.  Students are expected to know the functions, purposes, and structure of the human respiratory system.  Additionally, students are expected to not only be able to label various parts of the respiratory system, but also to describe different types of respiratory diseases (preventable and otherwise) and their causes.  In terms of preventable behavior, smoking, and the diseases arising from it, are usually paid the greatest attention. This lesson will come at the end of the unit on the respiratory system.  Having developed an understanding of smoking and the diseases stemming from the prolonged use of tobacco, students will look at smoking in their own lives. The focus of this lesson will be on the smoking of cigarettes by students at their own high school: the reasons, psychology, and possible health effects of their actions.  Students will be expected to design a school anti-smoking publicity campaign to seek to lower the rates of smoking at their high school.  Using the design process, aligned to national and state standards and benchmarks for subject content, students will investigate the problem, brainstorm possible solutions, and use visuals to explain and evaluate their chosen publicity campaign.

National Standards

Life Science
Standard 5. Understands the structure and function of cells and organisms
Standard 8. Knows essential concepts about the prevention and control of disease Standard 9. Level III. Understands aspects of substance use and abuse 4. Knows public policy approaches to substance abuse control and prevention (e.g., pricing and taxation, warning labels, regulation of advertising, restriction of alcohol consumption at sporting events) 5. Knows community resources that are available to assist people with alcohol, tobacco, and other drug problems Standard 9. Level IV. Understands aspects of substance use and abuse 3. Understands that alcohol, tobacco, and other drug dependencies are treatable diseases/conditions

Common Core Standards

Anchors for Reading:

Key Ideas and Details:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.1 Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.2 Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.

Craft and Structure:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.4 Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.7 Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.8 Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.9 Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.

Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.10 Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

Anchor Standards for Writing:

Text Types and Purposes:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details and well-structured event sequences.

Production and Distribution of Writing:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

Range of Writing:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.

Anchor standards for Speaking and Listening:

Comprehension and Collaboration:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.1 Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.2 Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.3 Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.5 Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.6 Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and communicative tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.

Anchor standards for Language:

Conventions of Standard English:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

Vocabulary Acquisition and Use:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.6 Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when encountering an unknown term important to comprehension or expression.



Students will be able to:
  • describe the purpose and structure of the human respiratory system
  • describe smoking’s effects on the human body
  • use the design process, to design and evaluate an anti-smoking campaign for a population subset at their school


  • Prentice Hall’s Human Anatomy & Physiology for Emergency Care
  • Internet access
  • EPIC laptop computers
  • Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.com
  • WebMD: http://www.webmd.com
  • selected high school students (optional, would be used for interviews)


  • handouts of the Prompt
  • handouts of the Assessment Checklist
  • human anatomy and physiology textbooks
  • Design Process outline
  • poster board
  • construction paper
  • transparencies
  • pens
  • pencils
  • colored pencils
  • markers
  • pastels
  • chalk
  • diagrams of the human respiratory system
  • six to ten laptops
  • LCD Projector


  • tobacco: any of several plants belonging to the genus Nicotiana, of the nightshade family, especially one of those species, as N. tabacum, whose leaves are prepared for smoking or chewing or as snuff
  • nicotine: a colorless, poisonous alkaloid, C10H14N2, derived from the tobacco plant and used as an insecticide; it is the substance in tobacco to which smokers can become addicted
  • pleural: of or pertaining to the pleura
  • bronchial: pertaining to the bronchia or bronchi.
  • cancer: a malignant and invasive growth or tumor, especially one originating in epithelium, tending to recur after excision and to metastasize to other sites
  • addiction: the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma


Step 1: Step 1 consists of a general review of the human respiratory system and smoking’s effects on the human body. 1.  The teacher will ask students to explain the various structures, functions, and purposes of the human respiratory system.  Using the LCD projector, the teacher will explain the path of air through the lungs using three-dimensional diagrams and illustrations.  Approximately ten minutes will be spent providing this overview of the human respiratory system. 2.  The next ten minutes of Step 1 will be devoted to reviewing cigarettes, smoking, and the effects on the human body.  The teacher will show various illustrations demonstrating the effects of smoking on the body.  The teacher will ask students to recall various health issues that arise from the smoking of tobacco, and will briefly outline the negative health effects. Step 2: Step 2 consists of a very brief teacher explanation of the project, the expectations, and the logistics of the activity.  The teacher will explain that:
  • The project will be using the ERC Design-Based Format (this format will have been gone over previously with students in earlier lessons).
  • This project will focus on designing an anti-smoking campaign for students at YOUR high school.  Each group will be assigned a certain population subset (i.e. Group 1 will be assigned to design a project for ninth grade girls, group 2 for twelfth grade boys, group 3 for tenth grade pregnant students, and so on).  The end-result is open-ended; however, the end result should focus on ‘lowering the rates of smoking by your fellow high school students.’
  • You will be graded on your accurate following of the design process in addition to your final prototype of a campaign and its presentation.
  • Students’ project groups will be the groups to which they are already assigned and sitting with (have students in pre-designed groups based on need/behavior/etc.).
  • Explain to students that they are able to use the various art supplies and school supplies located in pre-determined labeled locations throughout the room.
Step 3: Step 3 consists of students beginning the design process in their pre-determined group.  The teacher (and any other inclusion personnel in the room) will circulate to ensure that students are on-task and addressing any concerns. 1. Students will follow the following design steps:
  • Review the challenge.  Pin down what problem you’re trying to address and what obstacles may stand in your way.
  • Investigate the problem.  Using the resources and people at your fingertips, learn more about the problem and its causes.
  • Frame/Reframe the problem.  What did you learn from your investigation?  Did it change what you thought of the problem?  Reinforce it?  Redefine the problem!
  • Generate possible solutions to your problem.  Brainstorm your ideas on a piece of poster board!
  • Edit and Develop your solution.  Perfect it!  Make drawings, models, or illustrations to demonstrate the potential of your idea.
  • Share and Evaluate your idea.  Make sure you show your idea to the teacher before moving on to any next steps!!!
Step 4: 1.  Inform students that the brainstorming phase should be wrapping up, and that they should be moving on to designing their hard prototype and planning their presentation.  Groups should have received information and notes from the instructor and made any revisions necessary. 2. During these thirty minutes, students should be working on their prototypes using the materials provided, as well as planning their presentation to the class.  The teacher will circulate to make sure students are on task and on the right track. Step 5: 1. During this time, groups will present their presentations to the class.  Students will remain seated at all times, except for the presenting group that can come to the front of the room.  Each group will have approximately four-to-five minutes to present to the class. 2. Once the presentation is complete, students will provide the teacher with the prototype (if there is a tangible one), in addition to all of their brainstorming and design materials.  The teacher will assess the students based on the presentations, prototypes, and supplemental design materials.


Students will be assessed using a checklist at the ‘presentation-stage’ of the lesson that includes the following items:
  • Students have successfully and accurately followed the design process (50 points)
  • Students have made a good-faith effort to adjust their projects based on teacher feedback (20 points)
  • Students have put effort and creativity into their prototype (30 points)
  • Students have addressed the problem in their solution’s design and presented it to the class with accuracy, effort, and thoroughness (50 points)
This assignment could be differentiated for low-level students by including more visuals, adjusting readings to fit lower reading levels, and modifying the requirements of the oral presentation based on IEP needs.

Enrichment Extension Activities

Students could design Powerpoint presentations that elaborate more on the topic in a creative and fun way.  They could also conduct research papers/projects on the psychological reasons students take up smoking.

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