One of the areas of health that I cover with my students early on in the semester is that of the ‘Dimensions of Wellness’. My aim is to get students to appreciate that there are many areas that factor into our overall wellness, and certainly more than the typical ‘looking good and eating right’ view of teen health. I also embrace participatory teaching methods and this blog post is an example of how I make my lessons interesting and increase the amount of time that my students engage actively with the content.
I used to teach students about the health triangle, but wanted to find something more detailed, and although there are many versions of the dimensions of health (are there 5, 6, 7, 8?) I prefer the 10 dimensions that are referenced in Lesson Planning for Skills-Based Health Education from Sarah Benes and Holly Alperin.
After using the material from their book, and asking students to analyze their own wellness, looking for areas of strength and improvement, I get students to participate in this activity. Inspired by Sarah and Holly’s book and conversations with Georgia Dougherty, an awesome health teacher from New Zealand, I created this activity to encourage students to analyze the health of a fictional student. One of the best things about this activity is that the wellness of the fictional student is randomized each time.
Students deal out cards that represent the 10 dimensions of wellness and decide whether that card would indicate a more healthy, somewhat healthy, or less healthy student. You could potentially assign points to each card (3 points for ‘more healthy’, 2 for ‘somewhat healthy’ and 1 point for ‘less healthy’) and give your fictional student a score for comparison with other groups.
The feedback that I received from my students was positive and they found this lesson to be fun and engaging, some groups even named their fictional student and started to create a full back story. After this lesson, students returned to their own wellness analysis, identified an area for improvement, and we used that as the start of our SMART goal setting lessons.
If you want a complete download of these cards, you can find the link here.
SHAPE America’s 2018 National Middle School PE Teacher of the Year (now teaching health!) Sarah Gietschier-Hartman has had great success in her classroom with this popular coloring activity based on 8 Dimensions. Here’s her template and instructions, here are follow up questions AND a rubric, and here are mini wellness-wheels that are ideal for remote learning.
Feel free to share any feedback, particularly if your students found this activity useful.
Other similar slowchathealth blog posts that you’ll like:
More Movement in the Classroom – includes downloadable for a kinesthetic decision making lesson.
Food Labels – includes a downloadable food label card game.
Book of the Month – great reading ideas and recommendations. How many of these have you read?
#YearofCalm – includes the link that teachers need to access the free premium features of the outstanding ‘Calm’ app.