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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:
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.
The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.
|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: |
|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.
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
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.
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.
|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.|
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.
Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
|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.|
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.
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.|