In the past twenty years, the percentage of overweight children ranging from age 6 - 11 has more then doubled, from 7% in 1980 to 18.8% in 2004.1 In my opinion, a new responsibility of educators, especially those involved in the sciences, is to educate students on maintaining a healthy body. Making smart food choices, understanding nutrition labels, appreciating the importance of maintaining a healthy body, being aware of the consequences of choosing an unhealthy lifestyle, and incorporating physical fitness are just some of the components that will assist students in choosing a healthier lifestyle.
Both science and health can be taught in a variety of ways. This unit will use real world examples and application to promote student retention and real life application. According to current educational research connecting the science curriculum to the real world is essential for optimal understanding. When information is presented in the context of real world situations, students acquire and retain information most effectively.2 Through this project, students will make connections to the real world and be able to apply what they have learned to their lives outside of school.
Moreover, students will discover that there is a country-wide health crisis. In combination with their language arts unit on the effects of making poor health choices students will discover that there is a problem. ABC News reported in 2001 that the average middle school aged student watch TV, plays video games, or is on the computer up to 4.8 hours a day. In addition to the approximately 5 hours a day students spend sitting in school, young children are spending too much time being sedentary. 3 Studies have revealed that, "When science is presented as a solution for a societal problem, students begin to understand its true importance".2 When students understand its true importance they are motivated, dedicated, and intrigued. These qualities will make students want to learn.