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A Healthy Start

Elementary, Middle

Description

Poverty and the associated impact on children’s health is a complex global issue that affects both developed and developing countries.  Canadian citizens have access to universal health care yet childhood obesity rates are climbing and sports programs have become prohibitively expensive for many families.  Scarce resources that limit the availability of food, potable water and health care plague poorer areas of the world.   This innovative lesson engages students in active exploration of the relationship between poverty and well-being.  Through a learning process that emphasizes meaningful peer-to-peer dialogue students are able to define and describe:

  • What it means to be a healthy child
  • Personal wellness strategies
  • Factors affecting child health in other countries
  • Citizenship actions that can improve living conditions and child health in underdeveloped countries

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • Brainstorming
  • Active listening
  • Expressing ideas
  • Research

Strengths

  • Includes an action opportunity through the “I Can” School Challenge
  • Teachers are provided with resources that address sensitive issues that might arise when discussing poverty with youth
  • Students are encouraged to think “globally”

Weaknesses

  • Some of the content may be above the reading level of younger students
  • Slides are incorporated into the lesson plan document, which might make projection difficult

Recommendation of how and where to use it

The participatory nature of this lesson involves students in Language Arts processes such as responding to factual information, idea exchange and reflective writing.  There are also strong cross-curricular links to health and science outcomes as students explore the nature of wellness and identify strategies for reducing illness.  This lesson also introduces the “Design for Change” curriculum that assists youth in developing and implementing community-based social action projects.

One of the key strengths of this unit is that it naturally extends into service learning projects.  Students could work with local organic farmers to deliver community cooking workshops that feature fresh, locally sourced ingredients.  A class could also organize lunch time stress reduction activities for teachers and students.  A fundraising campaign featuring physical activity like a community walk or “play-off” could sponsor the purchase of sports supplies for children at local homeless shelters.

Relevant Curriculum Units

The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.

  • Step 1Select a province
  • Alberta
  • British Columbia
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 2
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      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Regional and Global Communities: Individuals have rights and responsibilities as global citizens
    • Grade 4
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Physical Education & Health
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Physical and Health Education: Personal choices and social and environmental factors influence our health and well-being
    • Grade 5
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Physical Education & Health
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Physical and Health Education: Personal choices and social and environmental factors influence our health and well-being
  • Manitoba
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    • Grade 3
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      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Communities of the World: Communities of the World
        • Communities of the World: Exploring the World
    • Grade 5
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Maintaining a Healthy Body
  • New Brunswick
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    • Grade 3
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      • Health Education
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Personal Wellness: Wellness
    • Grade 4
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      • Health Education
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Personal Wellness: Wellness
      • Social Studies
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        • Social Studies: Exploring our World
    • Grade 5
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Health Education
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Wellness
        • Personal Wellness
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Meeting Basic Needs and Maintaining a Healthy Body
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Health Education
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Caring for Yourself, Your Family and Your Community
        • Personal Wellness
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • World Cultures: World Issues
  • Newfoundland & Labrador
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 3
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Health Education
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Health: Towards A Comprehensive School Health Program: Active Living
        • Health: Towards A Comprehensive School Health Program: Environmental Health
        • Health: Towards A Comprehensive School Health Program: Nutrition
        • Health: Towards A Comprehensive School Health Program: Self Care
    • Grade 4
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Health Education
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Health: Active Living
        • Health: Environmental Health
        • Health: Nutrition
        • Health: Self Care
      • Social Studies
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        • Exploring Our World
    • Grade 5
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Health Education
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Health: Active Living
        • Health: Environmental Health
        • Health: Nutrition
        • Health: Self Care
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Meeting Basic Needs & Maintaining a Healthy Body
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Health Education
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Health: Consumer Health
        • Health: Environmental Health
        • Health: Health: Active Living
        • Health: Nutrition
        • Health: Relationships
        • Health: Self Care
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • World Issues
  • Northwest Territories
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 3
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      • Health Education
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Encourage, Support, and Work with Others
        • Nutrition
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Communities of the World: Communities of the World
        • Communities of the World: Exploring the World
    • Grade 4
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Health Education
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Growth & Development
        • Mental & Emotional Well Being
        • Nutrition
    • Grade 5
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      • Health Education
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Growth & Development
        • Mental & Emotional Well Being
    • Grade 6
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      • Health Education
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Growth and Development
        • Mental and Emotional Well-Being
        • Nutrition
  • Nova Scotia
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 3
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      • Health Education
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Health Education 3
    • Grade 4
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Health Education
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Health Education 4: Healthy Communty
        • Health Education 4: Healthy Self
    • Grade 5
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Health Education
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Health Education 5: Healthy Relationships
        • Health Education 5: Healthy Self
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 5: Healthy Body
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Health Education
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Health Education 6: Healthy Community
        • Health Education 6: Healthy Self
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Social Studies 6: World Issues
  • Nunavut
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 3
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Health Education
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Encourage, Support, and Work with Others
        • Nutrition
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Connecting With the World: Global Connections
    • Grade 4
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Health Education
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Growth and Development
        • Mental & Emotional Well Being
        • Nutrition
    • Grade 5
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Health Education
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Growth & Development
        • Mental & Emotional Well Being
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Health Education
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Growth and Development
        • Mental and Emotional Well-Being
        • Nutrition
  • Ontario
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 5
    • Grade 6
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      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • People and Environments: Canada's Interactions With The Global Communty
  • Prince Edward Island
  • Quebec
  • Saskatchewan
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 3
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Health Education
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Investigating Health Knowledge and Information: Apply Decisions
        • Investigating Health Knowledge and Information: Understanding, Skills and Confidence
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Community Comparisons: Power and Authority
        • Community Comparisons: Resources and Welath
    • Grade 4
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Health Education
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Sharing What It Means to Be Healthy: Applying Decisions
        • Sharing What It Means to Be Healthy: Informed Decisions
        • Sharing What It Means to Be Healthy: Understanding, Skills and Actions
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Saskatchewan: Resources and Wealth
    • Grade 5
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Health Education
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Facing Obstacles and Embracing Opportunities to Holistic Well-being: Apply Decisions
        • Facing Obstacles and Embracing Opportunities to Holistic Well-being: Understanding, Skills and Confidence
        • Facing Obstacles and Embracing Opportunities to Holistic Well-being:Informed Decisions
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Human Body Systems
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Canada: Resources and Wealth
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Health Education
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Health Education 6: Decision Making
        • Health Education 6: Understanding, Skills and Confidences
  • Yukon Territory

Themes Addressed

  • Citizenship (1)

    • General Guide to Taking Action
  • Human Health & Environment (5)

    • Access to Health Care
    • Health Promotion
    • HIV/AIDS
    • Hunger and Malnutrition
    • Quality of Life
  • Human Rights (1)

    • Poverty

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good

Students explore their own health in relation to others which provides a more comprehensive learning experience where they can identify and recognize factors that contribute to well-being.

Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
  • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
  • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
  • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Good

The resource defines the critical relationship between failing economies and subsequent health and environmental issues like inadequate sanitation infrastructure which leads to pollution and disease

Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity Good

Students gain a deeper understanding of the physical, social and emotional aspects of wellness which supports greater awareness of the crucial relationship between a healthy society and a healthy planet.

Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Good

Students engage in planning and implementing a community-based social action project.  The lesson also supports the "Design for Change" curriculum which involves youth in civic engagement.

Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Good

Self-examination provides the framework for students to identify beliefs and misconceptions about health and describe personal definitions of wellness. 

Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Good

As students identify wellness components they will become more aware of the impact of poverty on quality of life, which will lead to increased sensitivity and understanding.  This empathy could reinforce thoughtful actions such as volunteering or advocacy.

Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Poor/Not considered

Most Canadian students will recognize the value of outdoor play in maintaining health.  A teacher could also provide an insightful experience by taking students outside to practice mental health strategies like mindfulness in a natural habitat.

Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
  • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Good

This resource highlights the value of introspection and defining positive health strategies at the individual, school and community level.  This personal perspective provides students with a more meaningful experience that could motivate healthier behaviors.

Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Good

Scientific facts about global diseases such as HIV/Aids and Ebola provide an authentic foundation for global health discussions.  One of the key strengths of this lesson is the emphasis on informed citizens becoming the catalyst of constructive change.

Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Good

There are many opportunities for students to explore their personal interpretation of what it means to be healthy while they investigate and propose solutions to a real-world problem.

Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Good

Students use English Language Arts tools to analyze and explore a social (studies) issue while building citizenship skills as they propose strategies for improving health in poverty-stricken regions of the world.  Learning about the relationship between environment and well-being reinforces science and health outcomes.

Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Good

The lesson supports the expression of different perspectives and there is a focus on creative problem solving as students discuss thoughts about reducing poverty and improving human health.   The learning could be extended with a student-led research study of the relationship between health behaviors and income level within their own community in an effort to understand the complexities of local health issues.

Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.

 

Differentiated Instruction Satisfactory

Grade level differentiation strategies are included such as using bubble charts instead of sentence writing for younger students.  The reading component is balanced with active discussions that involve all students.

Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Satisfactory

Questions will certainly arise about poverty levels in Canada.  A class could conduct research into Canadian children living in poverty and use this material to support a hands-on citizenship project..

Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
Cooperative Learning Satisfactory

Most of the lesson occurs as a class or in small groups but there is a great deal of idea exchange through listening and discussion.

Cooperative Learning:

Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.

  • Satisfactory:  students work in groups
  • Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Satisfactory

No formal evaluation strategies are included with this resource but the open-ended questions provide many opportunities for formative assessment.  The journal entries could serve as a summative assessment tool using standard English Language Arts rubrics.

Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Good

There is active peer to peer dialogue in this lesson and students are all involved in brainstorming and debate.

Peer Teaching:

Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.

  • Satisfactory: incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good: an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Good

This topic is especially relevant in today’s world where so many developing countries are struggling with poverty and disease.  The learning could be further enhanced by including information about Canadian social issues such as the lack of potable drinking water on First Nations reserves.

Case Studies:

Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

Locus of Control Good

Each student is able to evaluate their own health according to criteria that are personally important.  The problem-solving process also supports creativity.

Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.