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Healthy Youth, Healthy Community (Grades 6-8)

Lessons Five and Six

Elementary, Middle, Secondary

Description

The purpose of this teaching unit is to introduce students to healthy living habits both for themselves as well as their community. Collectively, the unit lesson plans focus on the question - Why is it important to practice healthy living habits and advocate for health living practices in the community.

In Lesson 5 (Caring For Community Health) students explore what it means to be a responsible citizen and identify ways they are responsible at home, in school and in the community. They create a survey related to community health and poll members of the community to assess needs.

In Lesson 6 ( What My Community Needs) students analyze survey results, choose a community health need, design a service project to address it, reflect on the impact of the service project and celebrate their hard work and efforts to make the community healthier. 

The project grows out of the students' learning, interests, talents, and connections in the community. 

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

The lesson activities introduce or enhance a variety of skills such as

  • observation
  • interviewing 
  • persuasive argument
  • teamwork
  • organizational skills

Strengths

The resource reflects the many strengths associated with

  • experiential learning 
  • problem solving learning
  • authentic learning
  • action learning

Relevant Curriculum Units

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        • Data from the results of an experiment can be used to predict the theoretical probability of an event and to compare and interpret
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        • Physical and Health Education: Healthy choices influence our physical, emotional, and mental well-being
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        • Health and Career Education: Health
      • Math
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Data from the results of an experiment can be used to predict the theoretical probability of an event and to compare and interpret
      • Physical Education & Health
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Physical and Health Education: Healthy choices influence our physical, emotional, and mental well-being
    • Grade 7
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      • Math
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Data from circle graphs can be used to illustrate proportion and to compare and interpret.
      • Physical Education & Health
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Physical and Health Education: Healthy choices influence our physical, emotional, and mental well-being
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Health & Career Planning
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Health and Career Education: Healthy Living
      • Math
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Analyzing data by determining averages is one way to make sense of large data sets and enables us to compare and interpret
      • Physical Education & Health
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Physical and Health Education: Advocating for the health and well-being of others connects us to our community
        • Physical and Health Education: Healthy choices influence our physical, emotional, and mental well-being.

Themes Addressed

  • Citizenship (2)

    • Community-Building and Participation
    • General Guide to Taking Action
  • Human Health & Environment (5)

    • Access to Health Care
    • Environmental Contaminants & Health Hazards
    • Environmental Justice
    • Health Promotion
    • Quality of Life

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Very Good

The community survey re. health needs is the central piece in the lesson plans. The lessons better ensure a balanced picture by having students consider who might be interviewed and by selecting a variety of community locations in which to conduct the survey. This helps to address the question - Who's perspective? 

Since surveys may also reflect bias in the questions they choose to ask and the questions they omit, students are asked to discuss and decide on the survey questions.

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

While the lesson do not require that students explore community health through a sustainability lens, one might expect that in any exploration of community health (social issue), consideration would be given to the link between socio-economic factors (ie.poverty,adequate recreational facilities) and the connection between the environment and health (ie. clean air and water), 

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

In constructing, administering,and analyzing their survey on the health of their community, students will come to acknowledge the complexity of the issue. They will be required to see that the answers to such questions as

  • What do we mean by good health at the individual and community level? (physical, emotional, spiritual components)
  • What are the causes of ill health? (lifestyles, government policies, economic activity)
  • What might be done to improve a communities' health? (municipal regulations, active living programs) 
Respects Complexity:

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

Acting on Learning Very Good

The lessons address an authentic issue - the health of the local community. Students construct, administer and analyze a survey to take the measure of their community. Students design a service project that influences the health of their community. They plan the steps, carry out their plan, reflect on the process and celebrate their success. 

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

The lesson plans include a number of activities designed to have students consider the importance and value of responsibility/trust, cooperation/teamwork, and community service. These are viewed as essential if the class is to undertake a successful project.

In gathering data regarding the health of their community students will need to consider the difference between needs and wants, between individual and collective responsibility, between the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.  

Values Education:

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

Empathy & Respect for Humans Good

If knowledge and understanding are a necessary pre-requisite for empathy and respect, we may expect the lessons to be successful in enlarging the students' empathy and respect for others in their community. Hopefully they will come to know and respect the people who volunteer their time and expertise to enhance the health of their community. Hopefully too, they will come to appreciate those in the community who for a variety of reasons lack the benefits of good health.

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
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 Very Good

The focus of the two lessons is the health of the local community. What is the state of the community's health and what can we, as students, do to improve it? The concluding session of the lesson plans is a local service project that addresses the question - Now that we know what we know, what are we going to do about it?

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

The survey of the communities health provides a picture of the present - of what is. The service plan provides a blueprint for the future- what may be .

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 Very Good

Students are presented with the question - Why is it important to practice healthy living habits and advocate for healthy living practices in the community? - but it is the students who must answer the question and examine its implications. It is the students who determine what they need to know, how to obtain the required information, and what to do with that information.  

Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Good

The cause and consequences of good/bad health is a basic theme of all health curricula. The study on the students family, school and community is central to the expanding horizon approach to social studies. The environmental and biological factors that are part of the explanation for individual and community health are addressed in the science curriculum. The gathering of data,the analyze of that data, and the reporting of of the findings are skills/processes associated with the language arts and math curriculum.

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

Students are presented with a number of related questions - What is the state of our community health? How do I find the information required to address the question? What do I do with that information? The lesson plans strike an effective balance in providing the students with the tools necessary to answer the questions while allowing the students both the responsibility and autonomy to carry out the tasks involved.

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 Very Good

The many tasks involved in preparing for, carrying out, and reporting on the survey allow students to choose those tasks that play to their interests and strengths. Students may be involved in any number of simulations; they may choose to interview people or have them complete a survey; they might write a poem to reflect upon what they learn, prepare a slide show or maintain a journal; they might prepare a map of the community showing locations where health options are available or write a tall tale or fable about someone who has an unhealthy lifestyle.

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 Very Good

The primary goal of the lesson is to have students determine the health of their community and undertake a service project designed to educate others as to their findings and what may be done to improve the health of the community.  

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 Very Good

The lessons emphasize the importance of teamwork and cooperation if the students are to be successful in composing, administering and analyzing the survey on the health of their community.The lesson plans include a number of activities designed to introduce and strengthen cooperative learning skills.

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 Good

Much of the assessment is formative as students move through the unit from planning to execution of the community health study. Teachers will have an opportunity to evaluate student understanding and participation. A number of student handouts (Service Project Planning Worksheet, Service Project Check List, Community Response Form) allow for summative evaluation as does the presentations made to students and community guests and the reflections that follow.

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

In order to achieve the assigned tasks students work in cooperative teams and the final presentations are made by students to other students and to community guests. 

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 Very Good

The health of the local community is the subject of the case study. The creation of a survey to determine that health and the service action that follows replicate a real life study such as might be carried out by professionals n the field.

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

In order to successfully carry out the study undertaken by students it is necessary that the teacher provide a framework that will better guarantee the reliability and validity of the study.Within that framework, however, students are allowed a considerable degree of autonomy and responsibility. 

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.