Triangle of Balanced Health: High School Health Education
This health education lesson plan is what I call the health triangle, or the three aspects of health. Students will identify ways to improve health with physical, social, and mental health.
Are you surviving or thriving?
A lot of times when we think of health we only think of physical health. We look at ourselves and think “I’m not sick, so yeah, I’m healthy.”
There are many aspects of health that need our attention so that we can experience total wellness. Having total wellness helps us to thrive in life and reach our full potential.
When we have total wellness we are able to accomplish goals, think of creative solutions to problems, get help when needed, and have better relationships. Health can include things like physical, mental, emotional, financial, social, and even spiritual health.
Question for discussion:
- What are some ways you keep yourself healthy?
- Ideas to add: Be around healthy people and stay away from or limit toxic people.
- Notice when you are struggling emotionally and get help if needed.
- Talk to people and make friends.
- Go to bed on time by putting your phone away an hour before bedtime.
- Learn and develop skills.
Activity: Health Papers
Use one paper or poster for each aspect of health that you want them to write about. To focus on just three aspects of health, use physical health, mental/emotional health and, and social health for each paper or poster.
- Place the papers on the walls or desks around the room.
- Make it so there is a group of at least 2 people at each paper and give them something to write with. Markers work good.
- Let the groups rotate and write on each paper their ideas of how to be healthy in the area of health that is on the paper in front of them.
- They can read what the groups before them wrote and add to the list.
- I usually have them be at each paper for about 3 minutes.
When they have gone to all of the papers and added their ideas, gather them for discussion and put the papers up on a wall or board so they are visible.
Go over what they wrote, add any ideas, and discuss or ask any questions about why it would be important to do the things they wrote or how their ideas help us be healthy.
Make sure the list has some of the main things for each area of health. Here is a list to start with:
- Physical– exercise, healthy diet, get enough sleep, and stay away from harmful activities and substances.
- Mental/emotional: Learn, identify and control emotions, recognize abnormal thinking, and stress management.
- Social: Have healthy peer and family relationships, communicate needs and wants, do things that keep you safe from germs and accidents, and be respectful.
Questions for discussion:
Why do we have to keep all of the aspects of health in balance and not just focus on one area?
Answer: you need to take care of all aspects of health because they affect each other and when one is out of balance, you are not experiencing total wellness.
What drives us to be healthy in all areas and try to be our best selves?
Answer: It is our feelings of self worth that help us want to be healthy. You can make a paper that has the words ‘self worth’ on it to put in the center of these papers.
When a person can really see themselves as a person of worth they will do things that increase their health and wellbeing.
Activity: Yarn Web
- Have 6-9 teens write on a small paper a way to be healthy and they will tape it to their forehead or chest.
- They will stand in a circle shoulder to shoulder.
- You take a piece of yarn and give the end to the first person.
- Make the yarn go from one person to another person across from them until each person is holding, tightly or with tension, a part of the yarn. It should look like a web.
- Tell them that this web represents our health. Go to a few people in the circle. Look at what they wrote on the paper and say that this person decided not to do what is on their paper any more. They have to let go of the yarn and step back. Example: if the person wrote eat healthy then you say “so this person that this web represents decided that they didn’t like healthy eating and that they just wanted to eat junk food.” Do this to 3-4 people and have them look at and observe that the web is drooping and not strong anymore.
Questions for discussion while they are holding the yarn:
How is this web looking?
How does this represent a person’s health?
Our health is compromised of several areas of health that all need our attention to have total wellness. We can do things in each area of health to keep us healthy, happy, and able to thrive in life. Having feelings of self worth can motivate us to take better care of ourselves and create the best life for us.
Resources: Utah Education Network