Good Health for Self and Community
  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Utilize the persuasive power of written or oral communication as an instrument of change in the community, nation or the world.
  2. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.
      2. Benchmark HS.2 Research the need in the school, neighborhood, local community, state, nation, or world.
    2. Standard VS 02. Service and Learning
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Select a service project based on interests, abilities, and research.

Students describe elements of personal health and fitness and relate this to the health of the community, recognizing that the elements of a healthy community are good for all members. The students identify the availability of healthy foods and practices in the school, neighborhood, and home environments.

PrintThree 55-Minute Class Sessions, Plus time to Investigate Community Health

Learners will be able to:

  • define community as a group of people living in the same area, or a group that comes together based on common interests and goals (may be temporary).
  • describe elements of a healthy community. 
  • describe elements of good health related to food and fitness.
  • make a comparison of how a healthy community is good for its members is like healthy practices are good for one's personal wellbeing. 

student copies of Community Reflections Journal (handout) - one cover and several internal pages for each student

Optional: bring in small samples of a food for the Food Critic activity that introduces students to healthy new foods and expands their curiosity and comfort zone.

Home Connection: 

Students research and find 3-5 more interesting facts about a health-related topic of their choice to share with the class during the next session. This may be related to foods, exercise, sleep, healthy habits, motivations to be healthy, body image, or another topic that requires research, facts, and self-awareness. They may find facts online, in a book, or from a local expert.


USDA Choose My Plate website 

  1. Anticipatory Set: 

    Introduce the unit Healthy Youth, Healthy Community as an opportunity for students to make a difference in their communities by learning about and acting to address issues related to health. The first lesson focuses on personal health and the definition of community: 

    Communities are made up of people who live in the same area, or of people who come together around shared interests, common experiences, or roles or identity. 

    Brainstorm examples of communities (our town, classroom, softball team, people playing the same game online, faith-based group, gathering to exercise or do art, etc.).

  2. Play a game called Commons to help students get to know each other better and build trust with the individuals in the classroom community.

    Put students into random pairs. Give pairs two minutes to find three or more things that they have in common beyond visible characteristics. Examples: shared favorites (subject, sport or team, color, or book), shared taste in music, number of siblings, left/right handedness, a shared desire to travel to India, passion for books, or hope for world peace. Then, each pair joins another pair, and communicate  for two minutes to find things three in common among the four of them. Combine groups again and again until the entire class has come together.

  3. Ask the following reflection questions:

    • In what ways did the game require trust?
    • How did playing Commons change the way you think about community?
    • How could we revise our definition of community to include what we learned from the game?
    • How will a sense of being part of a cohesive group with shared interests and trust help us accomplish our goals?
  4. When we are in any community, some rules are spelled out (rules of hte game, call ahead if you will be absent, be home at 11:00), and some are unstated but understood to make things run smoothly for the health and well-being of the group (be kind, listen and take turns to speak). Brainstorm two lists: examples of rules and examples of things understood for the good of the group. Record the lists on the board. 

    Optional: Collaboratively determine the "rules" for the healthy classroom that everyone can agree to follow. Write up an agreement and have everyone sign it. Work collaboratively to write a preamble that starts with, "In order to have a healthy community, we agree to ..."

  5. Session Two

    Distribute copies of the reflection journals (handouts below) for students to assemble and use during the unit. Tell them the journal will help them reflect on what being healthy means for them and their community. Homework for a couple weeks may be to spend time each morning and afternoon writing a reflection about their personal health and the health of the community. 

  6. Ask students to brainstorm why their health is important to them, their families, their community, and the country. Write their ideas on the board under these headings (some examples follow): You (feel better, live longer, can do more); Family (be together longer); Our Community (do well at work); Our Country (work well together and keep health costs low)

    The government provides educational information about healthy living on this site: For 10-20 minutes, students explore the site individually or in small groups to find information about different food groups, quantities they should eat, and recipes.

    Discuss as a class what they found, learned, or want to explore further. Ask them for ideas of how the website could be used to make their own community healthier.

  7. Session Three

    In their journals, students list everything they ate since the last time you met. Review the food groups from the Choose My Plate website and ask them to tally how much they are eating from each group and evaluate how balanced and healthy they are eating. Then, they write a plan for what they would like to eat, which may include some healthier choices. 

  8. Bonus: Introduce new foods with the Food Critic activity (see Handout). Get the idea started by bringing in an unusual fruit or a healthy dip with celery sticks. In later classes, students may bring in foods to share, or they may arrange for the cafeteria or a family to bring in a food that they sample and evaluate using the handout. This is an opportunity to expand their palates and learn to express respectful and curious attitudes about foods from different food groups and cultures. 

  9. As a fun activity, challenge the students to look for food-related idioms to share on a poster or bulletin board. For example: That’s the way the cookie crumbles. No use crying over spilled milk. Couch potato


Using a Venn diagram to organize thinking, students compare and contrast personal health and community health. The overlapping part of the diagram will describe the common habits and outcomes for a healthy person and a healthy community.


Students maintain a journal and reflect on these questions:

What foods do you like to eat? What of your food choices are healthy? How do you feel when you eat foods that are good for you? How do you feel when you eat unhealthy food?

Pick two things you’d like to change about your school or neighborhood. What would you change? Why?

What is your favorite form of exercise or an exercise you'd like to increase? Explain why you like it and how you feel during and after.