Underage Drinking Prevention Lesson Plans

Group of students by lockers.

Underage drinking prevention lesson plans empower kids to say “YES” to a healthy lifestyle and “NO” to underage drinking. PLT4M is proud to now host and offer easy-to-implement underage drinking prevention lesson plans from the Ask, Listen, Learn: Kids and Alcohol Don’t Mix, a program of Responsiblity.org. In this article, we explore the importance of addressing ways in which alcohol affects the developing brain through underage drinking prevention, the full program breakdown, and a sample lesson!

Importance of Underage Drinking Prevention Lesson Plans


Underage drinking is at record low levels, with 8 out of 10 8th graders reporting that they have never consumed alcohol (Monitoring the Future, 2023).  Prevention education works. Research has shown that preventive interventions reduce the risk and prevalence of alcohol consumption among underage youth. Specifically, conversations about the effects of underage drinking on the developing brain are important. 


Delaying the onset of alcohol consumption is critical, as early drinking is a risk factor for alcohol use disorders in the future. Adults who report having their first drink of alcohol before the age of 15 were 6.5 times more likely to experience an alcohol use disorder than those who didn’t start drinking before age 21. (SAMHSA, 2017 NSDUH).


While underage drinking is down and the overwhelming majority of kids don’t drink, challenges in preventing underage drinking must remain top-of-mind to keep driving that number lower.

  • 55% of kids believe they will be faced with a decision regarding drinking or not drinking alcohol within the next year. (Responsibility.org, APCO Insights, March 2023)

  • 1-in-5 youth (22%) report they have been offered alcohol, and 21% say they have attended a party where alcohol was served or available. (Responsibility.org, APCO Insights, March 2023)

  •  41% of 8th graders report alcohol is “fairly” or “very” easy to access, increasing to 59% among 10th graders and 82% of 12th graders. (Monitoring the Future Survey, 2023)


Although prevention efforts have been successful in reducing rates of underage drinking, the need for science- and evidence-based prevention education providing students the tools to say “NO” to underage drinking continues.

NEW: Underage Drinking Prevention Lesson Plans In PLT4M


Ask, Listen, Learn: Kids and Alcohol Don’t Mix is an underage drinking prevention program for youth in grades 4-8 and their parents and educators. The materials and resources empower kids to say “YES” to a healthy lifestyle and “NO” to underage drinking.


The lessons in this collection utilize science-based content, interactive lessons, and animated videos that also include practical lessons such as decision-making, goal-setting, and refusal strategies. The program provides versatile classroom resources to facilitate conversations about the effects of alcohol on the developing brain with your students, while teaching them about the scientific effects of what they put in their bodies. The program also provides one lesson on how underage cannabis use impacts the developing brain.


Program content regarding the effects of alcohol on the developing brain has been reviewed by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the cannabis module’s content is based on scientific information and resources from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Content is consistent with currently available science.


This digital underage drinking prevention program is provided by Ask, Listen, Learn and all resources can be accessed for free at any time at AskListenLearn.org. The program is available directly within PLT4M for all customers thanks to the support and partnership from Ask, Listen, Learn and Responsibility.org who are proud to support underage drinking prevention.

Image from underage drinking prevention lesson plans.
Ask, Listen, Learn: Kids and Alcohol Don’t Mix is now available within all PLT4M accounts.

Underage Drinking Prevention Program Breakdown



  • 8 Lessons: 
    • How Alcohol Affects the Developing Brain
    • Central Nervous System
    • Cerebellum 
    • Cerebral Cortex
    • Hippocampus
    • Hypothalamus
    • Medulla
    • How Marijuana Affects the Developing Brain
  • Each lesson takes approximately 30-40 minutes, including watching the corresponding lesson video.

Lesson Format

Each lesson contains activities, worksheets, videos and other resources teachers can use in class. A detailed lesson plan guide can be found within each lesson outlining best practices for introducing the lesson and materials to students. This program is best utilized as a “teacher-led” program via Classmode.


Ask, Listen, Learn recommends introducing these lessons in grades 5 and 6 but the materials have been evaluated and found effective among students in grades 4-8.



Lessons within the program include a series of formative and summative assessments. A breakdown of each lesson’s assessments and standards alignment can be found here.

Sample Underage Drinking Prevention Lesson Plan

This lesson is intended to teach students about the dangers of underage drinking by detailing the important functions of the developing brain. Through an animated video and short reading, students will learn about how neurotransmission works and how alcohol’s impact on neurotransmission slows brain function.


  • Conceptualize neurotransmission
  • Communicate the way in which alcohol slows brain function
  • Identify alcohol’s impact on neurotransmission

Teacher Instructions 

  1. Introduce the unit by playing the video, “How Alcohol Affects Your Brain”. Have the “class neurotransmitter” (one student chosen at random) pass out the comprehension questions to all students (neurons). (5 Minutes) 

  2. When the video is over, have the students get into groups to discuss the questions. Have volunteers share their answers with the rest of the class. “Why do you think we played that game in the beginning of this lesson? What did the different teams represent? (5 Minutes) 

  3. Have a different “class neurotransmitter” pass out the “Brain Drain” reading and Venn Diagram worksheet and have students read independently or in groups. (5 Minutes) 

  4. Ask students to compare and contrast the information in the video and the reading with the Venn Diagram worksheet. What was similar? What was different? What did they like better? Was one easier to understand? (5 Minutes) 

  5. Show the neurotransmission section of the video again (:38 to 1:50). Lead a discussion on how it works and how alcohol affects it. (2 Minutes) 

  6. Activities: Neurotransmission (Additional instructions located in the Lesson Plan Overview.) (8-10 Minutes) 

  7. Have new “class neurotransmitter” pass out the vocabulary cards. For homework, ask the students to rewrite definitions for the vocabulary in their own words, and draw a picture to help them remember. 

  8. At the end of the class have students write down two things they learned and one thing they would like to learn more about.


Use the materials below to help your kids better understand how the brain and alcohol don’t mix!


Key Takeaways on Underage Drinking Prevention 

Providing middle school students with the knowledge and skills to make good decisions relating to underage drinking can empower them to make responsible choices later in life. The Ask, Listen, Learn program has been independently evaluated and found to increase conversations about the risks of underage drinking between students and adults while providing students with enough information to make smart decisions in the future.

Ask, Listen, Learn lessons can be easily implemented within health or physical education classes, advisory periods, or other class settings. Schools can choose to either use all eight lessons as a comprehensive underage drinking prevention unit or select individual lessons to supplement an existing curriculum. 

The program has been found to be effective whether used as an entire unit or individually. However educators decide to use it, they can be confident that these evidence-based resources will spark meaningful conversations about the dangers of underage drinking.


What other health education topics does PLT4M have?


Check out more health education lesson plans from PLT4M here! Different topics include: 


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