12 Grab & Go Projects for Health

* this post originally appeared on Choices.Scholastic.com

Many schools are shifting their curriculum to include project-based learning (PBL), but in the life of a teacher, project planning time is always tight.

As a head start, use any of these 12 ready-to-go projects and adapt them to your class as needed. Just click on the project title for a step-by-step outline.

1. The Blue Zones Project: Cultivating Healthier, Happier Student Lifestyles

Students research The Blue Zones, five areas of the world where people are most likely to live to be over 100. After learning about the healthy behaviors that lead to longevity, students set “Blue Zone” goals to implement within their homes and communities.

2. The Energy Bar Project: Part 1 & Part 2

Students analyze food packaging health claims by making a trip to the grocery store, taste-testing energy bars, then creating and marketing their own healthy bars, complete with product boxes and a commercial. (This is a new project I tried this year, and my students absolutely loved it!)

3. Exploring Dietary Guidelines Around the World (and at Home)

Let’s be real: The FDA’s new dietary guidelines are more confusing than ever. To learn to love real food, rather than fear food data, students will research dietary guidelines from around the world and create a set of guidelines for your school, using journalist Michael Pollan’s Food Rules as an aid.

4. A Nutrition PBL That Can Lead to Healthier School Lunch

After watching an inspirational documentary about a group of kids who bettered the lunch options in their school’s cafeteria, students work to make change in their own school with the help of an awesome advocacy kit from DoSomething.org.

5. The Family Values Project

Family values play a key role in the decision-making process, and as teens gain more freedom, sticking to those values will help keep them safe from high-risk behaviors. In this project, students have a conversation with their parents to create a list of core values and a mission statement for their family.

6. The Alcohol Research Lab

Research on the impact of alcohol and the teenage brain is updated almost constantly. Rather than give the students the facts, let them find out for themselves as they dig up the latest details on the risks of underage drinking.

7. Teaching Kids About E-Cigarettes

Using resources provided as a launching point, students will create their own inquiry-based project to learn more about e-cigarettes.

8. An Advocacy Project to Help Kids Learn About the Benefits of Sleep

Today’s teens are horribly sleep deprived, and many of them don’t understand all of the ways that it’s negatively impacting their health. In this project, they’ll research the benefits of sleep and create an advocacy campaign to convince their classmates to get more shut-eye.

9. Stress Management for Teens

This unit plan ends on a positive note, with students making videos of their favorite healthy coping skills and stress busters. (This one is always a highlight for my sixth grade students.)

10. Positive Peer Pressure to Help Stop Bullying

Rather than take the anti-bullying angle, this project has students use a medium of their choice to encourage and support others via positive prevention methods.

11. Advocacy Through Art

In this cross-curricular project, health classes and art classes team up to create a public service announcement and a logo for an advocacy campaign of their conception.

12. Using Social Media to Teach Advocacy

So often we focus on the negative when talking to kids about social media, but in reality, they’re using social media to do amazing things to bring about positive social change. In this project, students find an advocacy group on social media that inspires them and present what they learned to the class.

Don’t have enough time to fit in a full project with your class? Team up with a colleague from another subject and check out these ideas for cross-curricular learning.

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