Search form

Back to the lesson

Smoking Danger Demonstration



  • Health


  • K-2
  • 3-5
  • 6-8
  • 9-12

Brief Description

Demonstrate the potential harmful effects of smoking with this simple experiment.


Students observe the harmful effects of smoking by observing the accumulation of tar and/or nicotine on cotton balls placed inside a demonstration device.


smoking, cancer, cigarette, tobacco, lungs, environmental, substance abuse

Materials Needed

  • a clear plastic bottle with a narrow neck (e.g., a small soft drink, juice, or spring water bottle)
  • cotton balls
  • modeling clay
  • a pencil
  • a cigarette
  • matches
  • writing paper
  • pencils or pens

Lesson Plan

  • Perform this demonstration for students to observe because it involves matches and a cigarette.
  • Start the demonstration by offering a handful of students an opportunity to drop a cotton ball into the plastic bottle. Then create a ball of modeling clay and block the mouth of the bottle with it. Use a pencil to poke a hole through the modeling clay until you see the pencil tip inside the bottle; then remove the pencil.
  • Stick one end (the filtered end, if you are using a filtered cigarette) into the hole created in the modeling clay. Light the cigarette.
  • Now gently squeeze the plastic bottle to simulate breathing. Squeezing the bottle draws cigarette smoke inside the bottle the way lungs draw smoke into the body. You might let students take turns squeezing the bottle.
  • After pumping the bottle a dozen times or so, extinguish the cigarette. Then remove the clay plug. Ask students to observe the cotton balls in the bottom of the container.
  • Lead a discussion with the following questions: What happened? How do the cotton balls look? Why do they look that way? How does this demonstration show the potential effects of smoking on the body?
  • Ask students to write a brief summary of the demonstration and what they learned from it.


Evaluate students' summaries.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Gary Hopkins