Diabetes, heart disease and the many afflictions and maladies that are caused by stress are becoming a serious threat to our society. The essential questions this unit seeks to answer are: What are the most prevalent health problems in our communities and how are these diseases prevented through educating our young students? And, how to present anatomy and some physiology in a manner that is clear and simple yet covers the many different, rising health problems that we see among our youth and children today?
Gallup.com lists the seven most prevalent diseases, in order of occurrence, as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, depression, asthma, diabetes, cancer, and heart attack.(Mendes July 23, 2012).
Many of these health problems can be prevented through lifestyle choices such as diet, exercise and stress relief. The Journal of the American Medical Association states that, "Outside of proven clinical interventions, there is reason to think that certain changes in lifestyle might increase host resistance to infectious diseases. These include broadening one's social involvements (e.g., joining social or spiritual groups, having a confidant, spending time with supportive friends) and being more careful to maintain healthful practices such as proper diet, exercise, and sleep, especially under stressful conditions." (Glaser et al. June 30, 1999)
This goal of this unit is to teach children the basics about their anatomy and how it works including the organ systems, lymphatic system and metabolism so that they would be encouraged to create life habits that promote bodily health, thus preventing disease in adulthood. Interactive science notebooks will be used each day during this unit for students to record their predictions and observations, to keep data entry charts, record classroom notes and create drawings related to specific anatomy and health lessons.(See Appendix B for interactive notebook links).
Another goal of this unit is to present lessons in both the literacy and the science classes to fifth grade students by integrating anatomy vocabulary, personal narratives about experiences with nutrition and exercise into the writing curriculum.