While Growing Healthy's planned, sequential curriculum provides a sound framework for a comprehensive health education program, it is Growing Healthy's activities that bring the curriculum to life.
Here are just a few representative examples from each grade level:
Kindergarten serves as an overview of the five senses. Students learn that their differences make life interesting. Students look in mirrors and discover the special features that make them unique. They make self-portraits and sign them with fingerprints, further reinforcing how every person is different. This grade stresses that we are all alike and we are all different.
In other phases, a dentist or dental hygienist visits the class to teach about tooth care and the function and development of teeth. Students taste colored, unflavored gelatin to determine how color influences perceptions.
Grade One focuses on three of the senses-taste, touch, and smell. Students learn that their bodies are precious "machines" that enable them to have healthy and active lives. Students use a stethoscope to listen to the heart, the engine that runs the "Super Machine." Students, make self-portraits, and compare them with others' to see how they are the same and how they are different. Using a magnifying glass, students study their taste buds and, later, perform an experiment to find out which part of the tongue experiences sweet, sour, bitter, and salty tastes. Students smell a variety of "mystery" objects to play the game, "Name That Smell."
Students participate in a variety of discussions designed to build their assertiveness skills and their self-esteem, their ability to say, "no" to an adult who touches them in an uncomfortable way, and the way to say, "no" in a definitive manner. They also practice communicating feelings.
In Grade Two, students learn about two senses-sight and sound. Students look at optical illusions, pictures that illustrate the need to look carefully to be sure we're seeing what's really there. They also participate in activities, such as spelling their names in Braille, and trying to navigate their way around the classroom, blindfolded and using a cane. An eye dissection explores how sight works. To empathize with the hearing impaired, students demonstrate lip reading and feeling sound vibrations.
Using a hand puppet, students discuss feelings, from shyness to happiness, and how tone of voice indicates feelings. They also learn and rank areas of noise pollution and offer solutions to reduce noise pollution.
In Grade Three, students focus on the muscular and skeletal systems. Students make a mannequin to show how people need muscles and bones to support themselves then use it to learn about movement. Using an interactive video, students practice exercises and movement activities while studying the muscles that allow them to participate in these activities. Participating in a chicken leg dissection, students also learn about the muscles and joints that allow movement.
Students learn about safety while staying home alone and construct "Home Alone Fridge Minders." They make skeletal hand puppets, and play, "Skeletal Says...", a game similar to Simon Says, which highlights the different parts of the body-Skeletal says, "Touch your cranium to your patella".
Students pop popcorn and observe how energy is transferred. They trace back where the popcorn received its initial energy (from the sun) to grow. To discover how to provide their own bodies with energy, students use the Food Guide Pyramid to "size up snacks" and plan nutritious, balanced meals.
To reinforce the inter-relations of the ecosystem, students play the "Web of Life" game. They experience digestion in the mouth by slowly eating soda crackers and observing the physical (chewing) and chemical processes (saliva) that begin the digestive process. Students complete other hands-on activities that highlight the digestive process.
Students learn to appreciate the respiratory system by conducting air experiments to determine the levels of pollution and create "pollution solutions." They are introduced to and practice the decision-making model. Reacting to a smoking machine, students learn about passive smoke and practice ways to say, "no" to peer pressure to use cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs. A class lung dissection aids students in understanding various lung diseases. Students learn mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and role-play first-aid skills for emergencies.
Students plan and build a time capsule collage to reinforce "how we've changed." Students identify future health goals and other goals at age 18.
Students construct a model cell and demonstrate the process of osmosis and diffusion. Another demonstration shows how bleeding is controlled. Students listen to their hearts with a stethoscope, learn to calculate their pulse rate, and dissect a heart to explore its' structure and function. Additional activities explore the causes and nature of stress and practice refusal skills introduced in Grade 5.