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Healthy Life Styles

Healthy Life Styles

Unit Summary

Healthy Life Style and responsible behavior are essential for survival in the 21st century’s where stress is predominant. There is a growing concern for the need to educate children on how to a live healthy life. According to the World Health Organization “Health is more than the absence of illness, it is the active state of complete physical, mental and social well being”.

This multidisciplinary unit is based on three different areas of health, Home-Economics department emphasize on physical health, and Psychology department covers the area of mental health, whereas the English department focuses on social and interpersonal skills.

Taking on the role of health counselors students work out a strategy to promote healthy life style. They work in teams, research on determinants of health, use Seeing Reason Cause and Effect Map to analyze the factors which influence healthy development. They conduct a survey on physical health, visit Institute of Clinical Psychology to identify mental health problems and use Visual Ranking to prioritize and rank the characteristics of good friendship. They collect data, and use it to appraise different scenarios (case studies) given during and after the unit. They also use the Showing EvidenceTool to debate on the issue of banning advertisements which play an adverse role in promoting unhealthy development in young minds. Students present their revival strategy and establish goals that will lead to a healthier life style. Finally they design posters and arrange a seminar to create maximum awareness about leading a healthy life.

Curriculum-Framing Questions

  • Essential Question
    How do we affect the world around us?
  • Unit Questions
    What influences healthy development?
    How do my surroundings affect me?
    Why is socialization essential for the survival of society?
    Is our health inherited or acquired?
  • Content Questions
    What role does nutrition and exercise play in our daily lives?
    What shows our healthy dietary and activities guidelines?
    How does mental health play an important role in a healthy lifestyle?
    What are the resources of mental health facilities?
    How does friendship contribute to healthy personal and social development?

Assessment Processes

View how a variety of student-centered assessments are used in the Healthy Lifestyles Unit Plan. These assessments help students and teachers set goals; monitor student progress; provide feedback; assess thinking, processes, performances, and products; and reflect on learning throughout the learning cycle.

Instructional Procedures

Prior to Instruction

This unit of study makes use of the Seeing Reason, Visual Ranking and Seeing Evidence Tools. Examine all the three tools prior to planning instruction to learn about them and how to use them with the students.
These issues also need to be taken care of

  • Discuss with school management, procedures for field trip, financial support, parental permissions, transport etc.
  • Research on the Internet and educational encyclopedias (bookmark relevant websites).
  • Keep different reference books, magazines, articles in the classroom.
  • Collect images and save on flash drives for the students needs.
  • Prepare an implementation plan explaining the instructional cycle.
  • Plan classroom follow-up activities: Visual Ranking, Seeing Reason, Survey questionnaire, case study handout, checklists and rubric.
  • Create a briefing presentation about visit to Institute of Clinical Psychology.

Getting Started

Start out by discussing with students the concepts of getting along and health. Elicit student responses to what makes a person easy to get along. Lead the discussion to talking about problems people might encounter in their daily interaction and why. Pose the essential question, How does our health affect the world around us? Chart student responses. Ask students to use specific examples that take place in the world around them during social interaction.

To set a positive note let the students assume the role of Health Counselor as they tackle this project. Divide students into mixed ability groups, each group having six members. Assign a name to each group. Assign roles and responsibilities to group members.

Following this, discuss the importance of collaboration for the success of the project. Encourage students to use the self direction checklist (doc) throughout the project as they work on different activities. Also reflect their experiences at the end of project.

Introducing the Unit

Pose the unit question: “Is our health inherited or acquired?

Get the students to discuss in groups and record initial responses. Ask students not to limit their thoughts and share the points discussed in their groups with the class.

Narrow down the discussion and introduce the topic with a brief group discussion responding to the following questions.

  • What does it mean to live a healthy lifestyle?
  • Thinking about healthy lifestyle.
  • What makes us healthy?
  • What are the benefits of leading a healthy lifestyle?

Introduce the definition of health of W.H.O. Discuss multiple dimensions of health. Give special focus on important targeted areas of health i.e. Physical, Mental and Social.

Introducing the Seeing Reason Tool

Demonstrate the Seeing Reason Tool and allow the students to explore the tool. Explain causal maps as a tool that helps visually represent specific, measurable factors that influence the central factor or a problem. With the help of few examples explain Cause and Effect relationships. Also explain them to the students the significance of two coloured arrows with different thickness. Introduce comment feature to communicate and receive feedback. Caution your students that relationship between cause and effect is a complex one. Introduce them to causal fallacies with the help of examples.

Seeing Reason Activity

In the next class start the unit with the help of a unit implementation plan. Ensure that students grasp the concept of their working during the entire unit. Provide guidelines for working on the unit and to keep the student on track.
Introduce the students to the question “What factors most influences healthy development?” Have students use Seeing Reason Activity to recognize the most influencing factors on healthy development. Have the groups log on to the student workspace. As students create their maps, take the opportunity to gauge understanding and guide learning. Look at maps, listen to conversations, and ask students to describe their maps as students are working on their maps, Are they seeing multiple causes and effects? Are they interpreting connecting events correctly? Conduct a whole-class mini-lesson, if necessary.

Examine the Seeing Reason Activity

The Seeing Reason Activity work space below represents one team’s investigation in this project.

Project Name: Pursuit of Happiness.
Question: What factors most influences healthy development?

Healthy Life Styles


Discussion on Cause and Effect Maps

After maps are complete, encourage the students to view other group’s maps and discuss the cause and effect relationships and explanation or evidence for the factor and relationship. Encourage teams to use the description feature of the activity and articulate their thinking behind the maps.

Revisit the Visual Ranking Tool

After discussion, provide time for the students to reevaluate their visual ranking map. Use the comment boxes and direct students to think how their thinking has changed by analyzing the errors or misconceptions in the original ranking.

Activities and Investigations to Support Development of Key Concepts

  • Physical Health
    On the basis of the factors generated begin discussion by asking students whether they think their lifestyle is healthy. Focus on diet, exercise, sleeping habits. Pre assessments quiz (doc) will use to check the students prior knowledge. This is an independent student activity, testing knowledge learned regarding the food guide pyramid, nutrients and the need to eat healthy foods, increasing awareness that humans need to eat right to be healthy. Pose content questions:
    • What role does nutrition and exercise play in our daily lives?
    • What shows our healthy dietary and activities guidelines?

    Have students complete a group discussion and do research for investigating about:

    • Why do we need to eat healthy foods?
    • What is meant by a balanced diet?
    • How do the choices we make now affect us later?
    • What shows our daily food choices and activity guidelines?
    • What is something you can do to make your body healthy?
    • How do diet, eating, stress, exercise affect healthy living?

    Ask students to refer to the list of resources (doc) for research on various topics.

    Demonstration on Exercises
    A live demonstration will perform holding a title “Some exercise is much better than none”. Focus on the role of exercise on wellness, stress management tips, warm-up and cool-down stretches and computer desk exercises. Explain thought provoking questions such as:
    • Why should we exercise?
    • Who should exercise?
    • What kind of exercise should we do?
    • How long should we exercise?
    • Is there anything we will do before and after exercise?

    Nutritional Survey
    Teacher will review key points of the lesson. Get students to develop a quick and easy questionnaire for conducting a survey on their personal lifestyles and compute the proper amount of exercise, rest and nutrition to provide peak personal performance.

    Each student will fill the nutritional survey: “Are you Healthy?” questionnaire and discuss results as a group, assess their personal food journal and investigate the current lifestyle and makes plan for improving and maintaining health throughout his/her life.

    Get students to reflect on the  following questions:

    • To what extent are you a healthy eater?
    • Do you consider yourself to be physically active?
    • Do you get enough exercise and activities?
    • Do you think you have a healthy lifestyle?
    • What measures of health related behavior: diet, exercise, stress, pollution?

    Health Journal (Record of goals they would like to reach to improve their habit.)
    Tell students that everyone can probably do something to improve their habits, making for a healthier lifestyle. Then ask students to write down three or four goals they would like to reach to improve their habits. Suggest that they use a separate notebook labeled "Health Journal (doc)".

    Help students focus on what kinds of goals they should consider, provide the following sample goals:

    • To increase the number of servings of fruits and vegetables that students eat each day.
    • To increase the number of times students exercise each week.
    • To try to go to bed earlier each night.
    • To try to strike a balance between work and play.

    Tell students that no one will be checking their goals or the progress made on reaching them. The idea is for them to keep a personal record by keeping track of their habits-and changes in them-each day.

    At the end of unit, have them share the results of the goal-setting activity.

    • Did students notice a change in their lifestyle?
    • Is goal-setting a good way to make changes?

    If students think that keeping a journal is a good strategy for them, encourage them to continue their journals as a tool to facilitate change.

  • Mental Health
    Introduce the unit question: “How do my surroundings affect me?

    Get students to discuss within group. Ask students to share the points discussed in their groups with the class. Narrow down the discussion, pose content question:

    • How does mental health play an important role in a healthy lifestyle?

    Describe mental health, and its importance. Focus on factors that most influences mental health and find the ways of reducing stress in their lives.

    Revisit the factors on the Seeing Reason tool and determine which factors are responsible for good mental health.

    Mental Health Resources & Facilities (Visit ICP)
    Pose content question:

    • What are the resources of mental health facilities?

    A visit of Institute of Clinical Psychology (ICP) will be made to analyze different methods of treatment for mental health, differentiate between Therapist, Counselor, Psychologist, Psychiatrist and Neurologist and recognize the treatment plan of a mentally disturbed person.

    Pose a question ”How can we be, mentally healthy?” 
    During the briefing session get each group to come up a problem case of mentally sick person. Remind them that they would be discussing this at ICP with a Psychiatrist/Psychologist (Therapist/Counselor) Neurologist.

    Before visit ICP provide guidelines through a  presentation (ppt) on how to collect information. A structured performa (doc): “Oh!!!!!! Is she insane? How can we help?” will be given to students for help and to narrow down their activities to collect relevant information.

    After collecting information student will discuss their conclusion, share the ideas with peer groups and then will be writing down the Anecdotal Notes in their journals.

  • Social Health
    Introduce the unit question: “Why is socialization essential for the survival of society?

    Discuss in groups responding to the following questions:

    • How do relationships affect healthy living?
    • How do work, school, responsibilities and family affect a healthy lifestyle?

    Review and discuss factors most influences social health. Focus on society, relationships friendship, isolation, environment, occupation etc.

    Introduce Story
    Tell the students that they will be reading the story “Devoted Friend” in their text book. Once the students have completed reading the story, ask them to discuss the story in groups.

    Pose content question: “How does friendship contribute to healthy personal and social development?

    Discussion will take place about the importance of friendship and the qualities one looks for in a friend.

    Introduce the Visual Ranking Tool
    Inform students that they would be working on Visual Ranking Tool to analyze and rank the channels of distribution. Introduce the Visual Ranking Tool  to students using the demonstration space. Show students how to rank and compare lists, and explain their ranking. Provide time for students to practice.

    Visual Ranking Activity
    After students get a complete insight about the tool, assign the team Ids and make students log in to their Visual Ranking team space. Point out the prompt: Rank the good qualities that are most valued in friendship? And why have you chosen to rank the qualities in this order?

    Review the story “Devoted Friend” and the discussions conducted in last class.

    Ask the students to prioritize and rank the good qualities of friendship using Visual Ranking Activity. Ask student teams to respond to the prompt:  Ask the student to make a separate list according to their preference. During activity teacher will ask following questions to keep them on the right track.

    • Was it harder to figure out the most important qualities or the least important?
    • Were there some qualities that you like to add to your list?
    • Do your friends actually have these qualities?

    Examine the Visual Ranking Activity
    The Visual Ranking Activity work space below represents one team’s ranking.

    Project Name: Friends are great treasure.
    Prompt: Rank the qualities of friendship from the most important to least important based on your own experiences of friendship.

Healthy Life Styles
  • Comparing Rankings and Respondings to Questions
    At the end of the activity, each student has her own individual list of friendship priorities. Encourage the students to discuss with another group about their list and know the reason for their ranking. Ask questions to foster discussion and help students formulate their rationale:

    • Why do you think your list of priorities is different with other teams?
    • Why have you chosen to rank the qualities in the order you have?
    • Why do you think these qualities are essential for friendship?

    Next, have each group compare its list with the “class average”. Have them print a report of this comparison. Encourage them to find the differences in their thinking processes. Ask students to enter their thoughts on the question how does friendship contribute to healthy personal and social development? and reflect on their ranking experience to answer the question. Spend time with the different groups reviewing their journal entries and discuss their answers and their understanding.

    Family Opinion on Friendship
    To strengthen the bond of family relationship, Pose question: “How would you describe your relationship with your parents?”  Discuss in groups.
    Ask students to discuss about friendship with their parents. Ask them to reflect on these questions and keep responses on journal.

    • What do you look for in a friend?
    • What were their friends like when they were your age?
    • How have their friendships changed as they grew older?

    Creative Writing
    In the next class, discuss with each group and have them share their findings with the larger group. Now ask them to compose a poem on Friendship.

    Conflict Resolution
    Now that Students have identified mental, physical and social illness, they should also be taught conflict resolution. The Learning Peace website offers a step-by-step procedure: Students practice solving problems through role-playing following these six steps:
    Step 1: Cool off.
    Step 2: Tell what’s bothering you.
    Step 3: Tell what’s bothering you using "I" messages.
    Step 4: Take responsibility. 
    Step 5: Brainstorm solutions and come up with a solution that satisfies both people. 
    Step 6: Affirm forgive or thank.

    Encourage students to use these steps in their day to day dealing with people around them. Remind them that a lot of their mental and social and physical well being depends on how well they can resolve their conflicts.

    Creating a Poster
    Now that the students have learnt about conflict resolution ask each group to create a poster, (A Guide to Healthy Living) to demonstrate a healthy life style.

    Working in pairs, get students to use a digital camera or create picture through any art program on the computer.

    Arrange these posters at the seminar which will be organized at the end of the project.

Analyzing the Role of Media in Promoting an Unhealthy Lifestyle

Students brainstorm different forms of media. Next, students complete a media diary where they keep a record of their families' media consumption for one week. They graph the amount of time spent using different media and note any patterns of representation they see in certain types of media. As an extension, students can research and compare media consumption in their country to media consumption in other countries. The teacher leads a discussion around the idea of media literacy. Students work together to define the term and begin exploring the idea of why it is important to become critical consumers of information. Give them the website Media Lit Kit*.

Within the groups, students take on roles—recorder, presenter, observer, and facilitator. The facilitator uses the key questions to guide discussion within the group. The recorder writes down ideas, thoughts, and questions that surface while exploring each form of media. The observer watches the dynamics of the group and gives a brief report on how the group functioned. After students finish with the stations, the presenter reports out the groups findings.

As a class, students discuss the purpose of advertising and any patterns or themes they noticed while exploring the various forms of advertisements. The teacher closes the activity by having students consider the question: How do media shape our view of healthy lifestyles? Students write their thoughts about the question in a journal, and the teacher leads a whole-class discussion of the topic.

To dig deeper into the idea of advertising and its effect on children, student teams use the Showing Evidence Tool to take a position on the question:

Working with Showing Evidence Tool

Once the students are familiar with Showing Evidence Tool, they further explore the question – How do my surroundings affect me? They debate on whether advertisements affecting children should be banned. They use Showing Evidence Tool (simplified version) to analyze evidences and make conclusions.

Before actually working on the Showing Evidence Tool, the demo space is used to demonstrate the working of Showing Evidence Tool. A simple workspace with simplified version is also setup for the students to work on the tool and practice it.

A claim that there should be a ban on advertisements aimed at influencing young children in the claim workspace. The evidence bin is to be filled in with evidences for and against the claim. The students are guided to view the evidences given in the evidence bin and then drag it to the claim workspace to either support or weaken the claim. A handout (doc) is distributed on steps to work on Showing Evidence Tool.

The students can also create their own evidences the support from teacher or the gifted students can do by themselves. Depending on the supporting or weakening evidences, students conclude whether advertisements aimed at influencing young children should be banned or not.

Should there be a ban on advertisements aimed at children? Students gather evidence from multiple sources to support their position. They prepare a slideshow presentation to communicate their view to the class. Students get assigned to new teams based on their position and the teams formally debate the issue.

Examine the Showing Evidence Activity

Project Name: To be or not to be
Prompt: Should there be a ban on advertisements aimed at influencing children?

Healthy Life Styles


Data Manipulation

In preparation for the final presentation student interpret, theorize, evaluate and synthesize information. Give tips about the use of Internet search techniques and ensure that they make a work cited page. Educate them about copyright ethics, provide fair use guidelines (doc) and ensure that students do not copy/paste information from websites.

Provide a list of resources (doc) for research on various topics. Facilitate students while they browse the Internet and/or library resources within a given time limit.

Arrange for students to share collected information during classroom discussions within their own group. Each group will make a folder on the college computer to save their documents.

Creating Presentation

Each group creates a presentation as an end product. They design a fitness program based on the needs of individual described in case study. The program will include the fitness concepts that relate to total wellness.

Students self evaluate their performances and product using multimedia checklist (doc) while creating the presentation.

Presenting Findings at a Seminar on Healthy Lifestyles

As students complete their presentations, make arrangement for a seminar where they present their suggestions.  Arrange for the posters to be displayed here.

Guest speakers (Nutritionist and Psychologist) to be invited to give a talk on Healthy Lifestyle.


Student groups peer-evaluate and review the projects using the project rubric (doc). The teacher, using the same rubric, makes the final evaluation.

Wrapping up the Unit

Give each group a case study worksheet with the title: “Health is more than the absence of illness".

Ask each group to discuss the case and assess whether the person described in the case study is healthy or unhealthy and why. Ask student team to respond to the prompt: “What do you need to do to promote health and happiness?

Applying the knowledge and information they have, they make decision plan about “What is appropriate for a balanced lifestyle”. Use decision making checklist (doc) to help group think about scenario.

Each group will cover one area of healthy lifestyle. Group One will focus on physical health, Group Two emphasizes on mental health and Group Three will give suggestion on social health.

  • Check portfolio and return with comments and grades.
  • Return the library books.

Prerequisite Skills

Conceptual Skills
Students should:

  • be familiar with research using the Internet and print media.
  • have fundamental skills with Microsoft Word* processing, Microsoft PowerPoint* and Microsoft Excel* software.

Differentiated Instruction

Resource Student

  • Provide detailed instructions about different activities.
  • Students will work together with gifted students.
  • Give extra time for study or completing their tasks.

Gifted Student

  • Search material from Internet is used to investigate complex questions.
  • Responsible for compiling the portfolio and end product.
  • Have the student serve as an expert during research.


A team of teachers, Rubina Fazal, Humera Tatheer and Rizwan Siddiqui from APWA College Karachi implemented this unit in their class.

Healthy Life Styles

At a Glance

Grade Level: 9-12

Subject(s): Language Arts, Psychology

Topic: Health

Key Learnings: Enhance critical thinking, problem solving, concepts of cause and effect, conflict resolution, acceptance of responsibility for one’s actions and persuasive speaking.

Thinking Skills: Analyze perspectives; classify reasons; develop inductive reasoning; compare and construct support which will lead to development of analysis, synthesis and evaluation skills; investigate, question and pose problems, to make decisions individually and interdependently; think flexibly.

Time Needed: 
4 weeks – 40 minute class periods (2 class periods in a week).