Learning to Give, Philanthropy education resources that teach giving and civic engagement

Healthy Youth, Healthy Community (6-8)
Unit of 6 lessons

Unit Overview:

Focus Question: Why is it important to practice healthy living  habits and advocate for healthy living practices in a community? 

Unit Purpose:

Students explore healthy living habits for themselves and for their community. They practice making healthy food choices, exercising and helping people of the community do the same. Learners develop a service-learning project based on a community needs assessment.

Unit Duration:

Approximately eighteen 45-minute sessions plus time to complete the Service Project.

Unit Objectives:

Learners will:

  • write a group definition of community.
  • create a classroom contract to govern students' behavior throughout the program.
  • brainstorm characteristics of healthy living.
  • rewrite government statistics accurately in youth language.
  • propose causes for specific health issues and trends in the U.S.
  • reflect on ways to improve the health of the community.
  • list healthy foods for each letter of the alphabet.
  • list the five categories of food listed on the USDA's My Plate
  • record and analyze their own eating and exercise for 24 hours.
  • count their heart rate before and after exercise.
  • practice and perform a simple dance routine.
  • teach the dance routine to others to promote healthy behaviors in the community.
  • define personal health culture.
  • develop healthy alternatives for personal health choices.
  • identify facts about healthy eating.
  • evaluate the completed Home Health Surveys.
  • plan a health survey of school and neighborhood.
  • identify the cultural and environmental factors that promote obesity.
  • design healthy living logos.
  • create healthy eating and exercise comic strips.
  • define body image and explore how the media impacts this.
  • state that beauty is an opinion and changeable and should not be dictated by magazines and popular opinion.
  • explore media influences on food choices.
  • develop an ad campaign for “Be Your Best You.”
  • explore what it means to be responsible citizens.
  • explain how leadership applies to service.
  • develop survey questions to collect data on community needs.
  • role-play data collecting.
  • play an observation game.
  • discuss procedures and safety practices for community survey.
  • conduct a community survey.
  • reflect on the survey experience and results.
  • analyze collected data.
  • work together to select a health need for a class service project.
  • outline and plan their service project. 
  • identify potential sponsors and contributors from businesses, groups, and individuals.
  • carry out their planned service project.
  • reflect on the impact of the service project.
  • demonstrate the impact of their service project by summarizing data.
  • celebrate their hard work and efforts to make the community healthier.

Service Experience:

Although lessons in this unit contain service project examples, decisions about service plans and implementation should be made by students, as age appropriate.

Based on the needs assessment in the community, students design a service project that influences the health of the community. They plan the steps, carry out their plan, reflect on the process, and celebrate their success. The project grows out of the students' learning, interests, talents, and connections in the community.

Unit Assessment:

Lesson Six:

Have each student complete the Service Project Checklist (Handout 5), adding notes to describe what they did for each part of the project.

School/Home Connection:

Lesson Three:

Students complete the Home Health Survey as homework after Session One. They bring the completed form back to school for discussion in the next session.

Lesson Five:

Students may take two or more copies of their survey home to interview adult family members and neighbors.

Notes for Teaching:

In Lesson Two one of the activities is to learn a dance step by watching a YouTube video. It is strongly suggested that the teacher preview the video to determine if it is appropriate for the class.

Bibliographical References:

State Curriculum and Philanthropy Theme Frameworks:

See individual lessons for benchmark detail.

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