This exciting lesson will assist you in creating engaging health education lessons for high school students. Read on to learn about potential topics and activities for health education, as well as suggestions for making teaching uncomfortable topics less awkward.
The Importance of Health Class
Health topics and activities for high school can be very exciting. Engaging lessons filled with accurate information not only creates a stimulating learning environment, but also provide essential knowledge that will help youth make the right decisions and lead healthy lifestyles for years to come. The first thing an educator needs to do when developing lesson plans is to check the state curriculum standards to ensure he or she meets all requirements.
Heath topics can cover a wide range of medical information, and the required subjects to be covered in class vary by state. In Maryland, for example, some mandatory topics include mental and emotional health, alcohol and drug information, reproductive health, sex education, and nutrition and fitness. The topics listed can be further explored through research and then taught in segments. For example, the topic of sex education can be broken down into multiple lessons by teaching not only the facts of reproduction, but the development of the fetus and the entire birthing process.
Addressing Uncomfortable Topics
Another important rule to remember when teaching these topics is to not shy away from any information. It is understandable that some health subjects may seem awkward to discuss, but leaving out important information may be detrimental to your students in the future. Inviting outside professionals to speak to the class regarding some health topics that may be uncomfortable to address is one way of making things a little less awkward for the teacher. But please remember, your students have built a relationship with you, their teacher, and they put their trust in you. As such, students may not take what the outside professional says to heart in the same way they would hearing it straight from you.
Another option is to show engaging health class videos to your students. Let the narrator do the hard, uncomfortable work for you as your students learn from relevant photos and animation. Using existing resources also cuts down on your prep time.
Health Education Activities
Activities to engage the students in learning about mental and emotional health may include:
Field Trips to the Local Health Department
Schedule a field trip to visit your area's department of health services, where students can learn about healthy living concepts such as nutritional eating habits and a drug-free lifestyle.
Physical Exercises that Improve Mental Health
Teach students about the link between mental and physical health with simple exercises that can be done in the classroom. For example, you might start each class by demonstrating a different yoga pose and discussing how it improves blood flow, boosts endorphins and reduces stress.
Expert Advice on Alcohol and Drugs
Invite a local law enforcement officer to the classroom to talk about the many different types of pills on the street and how they may look similar to regular, over-the-counter medications.
Review Effects of Drug Abuse on Celebrities' Bodies
Using a projector, display images of famous celebrities whose bodies have declined due to drug use. Discuss the specific drugs and how they affected the stars' bodies, and follow up with a review sheet that asks students to match the drug with its harmful effects.
One activity that would assist in explaining the development of the fetus is having a licensed ultrasound technologist visit the classroom. He or she could bring along pregnant patient volunteers at different stages in pregnancy.
Nutrition and Fitness
Another activity a health educator could pursue with students is discussing how nutrition and fitness are related. Having the students perform physical exercises and then measuring the amount of calories burned while comparing it to the calorie intake of food will help to teach them the importance of eating healthy and proper exercise.
Prior to creating a health class lesson plan, it is important to research the state's curriculum standards so that all health education requirements are met. There are many health topics to teach, and some include mental and emotional health, alcohol and drugs, reproduction and sex education, as well as nutrition and fitness. There are many activities that teachers can do to engage the students in learning about health that will help them to make good, healthy choices throughout their lives.