THE most recent numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that 17 percent of children and adolescents are overweight. Statistics show that one in five kids abuse prescription drugs. These are only two examples of the health issues facing children today. In fact, there are many health topics that need to be incorporated into the curriculum, such as chronic diseases, infections, and environmental hazards. Like adults, most students will turn to the Internet. According to a new Pew Internet & American Life Project report, 10 million American adults look online for health information in any given day. Only 27 percent begin their search at a health-related Web site. Providing students with reliable health sources will give them the knowledge they need to make wise decisions.
BAM! BODY AND MIND
The CDC from the Department of Health and Human Services provides this Web site for learning about health issues. Find out how scientists track diseases such as the West Nile Virus and SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome). Meet doctors whose work is detecting, preventing, and stopping certain diseases. Discover some delicious cool treats for a more healthy diet. Create a fitness and activity calendar from the hundred choices for an active lifestyle. Learn the rules and techniques for playing sports on the activity cards that include all aspects of particular sports. Your Safety is a section that includes practical information for staying safe while engaged in physical activity. Ways of dealing with conflict, stress, and pressure are included under Your Life. Use the KABAM! Comic Creator, and read about the Immune Platoon. This site offers loads of information and interactive activities on all aspects of keeping healthy.
CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION
Did you know that the CDC was founded in 1946 to help control malaria? Since that time, it has expanded its focus to prevent and control infectious and chronic diseases, injuries, workplace hazards, disabilities, and environmental health threats. The CDC site is a gateway to publications, statistics, and news. Featured on the page are Pandemic Flu resources, the Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work Campaign, and breaking news stories. Stay informed by subscribing to free email updates tailored to your specific interests. This is a great starting point for students studying diseases and current health issues.
GirlsHealth was developed by the Office on Women's Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is designed to provide girls between the ages of 10 and 16 with reliable information regarding health issues they will face as they become young women. Read stories written for girls by girls from New Moon magazine, vote on a current issue, or browse through a wide array of informative articles. Rounding out the site is an educator's page that includes links to classroom materials and how to order free promotional posters.
INFECTION DETECTION PROTECTION
Infection Detection Protection, sponsored by the American Museum of Natural History, is a Web site that engages students in learning about microbes. The information is interesting and interactive. Play Bacteria in the Cafeteria or Infection! (where you are the germ). Follow that duck in China and learn how it could have possibly given you the flu. Click on the Microbe Hunter and answer questions about famous scientists in the study of microbes. Be sure to solve the Mixed-up Microbe Mystery. Finally, avoid infectious diseases at The Prevention Convention. Upon completing the activities, students will have learned a wealth of information.
Want to become physically fit? This site encourages physical activity by suggesting a variety of indoor and outdoor activities. Participate in a scavenger hunt in or out of the house. Find the object and determine the time it takes. Compete against a friend or yourself. Play the fitness challenge, composed of 10 activities, on your computer. Compete with another person or against yourself. See if you can improve your time. Play Move Mixer to create dances by combining predefined moves with music. Then dance along and teach others. This site encourages physical activity while allowing for creativity.
Parents, kids, and teens will discover a wealth of information reviewed by medical and health professionals. In the parent section, a variety of topics are presented such as positive parenting, emotions and behavior of kids, and symptoms of more than 80 infections. Kids can learn about everyday illnesses and injuries, try experiments that demonstrate amazing things regarding the senses, and view movies about How the Body Works. Teens get straight talk on a range of issues from body art to diseases as well as advice from peers who share personal stories about their experiences with wearing braces, dealing with divorce, or coping with cerebral palsy. You won't want to miss this site when preparing lessons for your classroom.
Find sample health-science activities and lessons for all age levels. These lessons and activities are all aligned to national standards. Games and Webquests are included to keep students engaged and interested in living a healthy lifestyle. Students and teachers do need to register for a free account, which requires an email address. However, teachers can create additional accounts under their usernames. Meet the nutrient superheroes in interactive problem-solving situations. Every aspect of health education is included in these lessons to engage students in becoming health-conscious.
This Web site, developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, helps readers understand how the food pyramid can assist in creating a healthy diet. Enter your age and amount of physical activity to receive a customized food guide. One size does not fit all. View the personalized guide and see what dietary needs are required for keeping healthy. Posters, coloring books, and work sheets are included for students, along with classroom materials for teachers. Next, play the interactive MyPyramid Blast Off Game to determine if your choices for a healthy lifestyle allow you to blast off. There is also a section geared more for adults that includes a calorie counter and sample menus.
NIMH: CHILD AND ADOLESCENT MENTAL HEALTH
One of the goals at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is to educate the public. Mental-health issues affecting children are outlined and include many resources for support and treatment. There are materials for children, adolescents, and adults. Current research is presented with results and the opportunity to participate in future studies. Health information, mental-health diseases, research and funding, and much more make this a very informative site.
NSF SCRUB CLUB
Meet the Scrub Club in their quest to encourage effective hand washing to avoid infections. For the younger set, this site provides a variety of games and interactive activities to help children learn about the causes and the prevention of diseases. Activities include the six steps to keeping clean, meeting villains of disease, the five-finger alert, and much more.
U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY: CHILDREN'S HEALTH PROTECTION
Search or browse the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) database to find lists of documents on potential environmental hazards. These can be downloaded and opened with Adobe Acrobat Reader. Under the Environmental Education button, teachers will discover grant applications, curriculum materials, training programs, and partnerships. EPAWeb sites for students are divided by age-appropriate grade levels. Environmental Kids Club (grades pre-K-4) contains hands-on projects and games. Student Center (grades 5-8) emphasizes concept building through a variety of activities. High School Environmental Center (grades 9-12) focuses on issues, community service, competitions, and careers. Finally, school districts may wish to review the free software program, HealthySEAT, developed by the EPA to help school districts evaluate and manage their school facilities for key environmental, safety, and health issues.
U.S. FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION
Access hundreds of food- and drug-related documents. Read the latest news concerning approvals, recalls, and product safety. Learn about the products the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates. The FDAis a good starting point for middle and high school research projects. Have younger students jump over to the Kids' Site where they can engage in a variety of activities such as assuming the role of an FDA inspector or taking a food safety quiz.
Be sure to visit the MultiMedia & Internet@Schools home page (www.mmischools.com) with CyberBee's Web Pick. Then fly over to CyberBee (www.cyberbee.com) for more curriculum ideas, research tools, and activities to use with your students and staff.
National Health Education Standards These are voluntary standards that serve as a guide for developing the curriculum.
Students will comprehend concepts related to health promotion and disease prevention to enhance health.
Students will analyze the influence of family, peers, culture, media, technology, and other factors on health behaviors.
Students will demonstrate the ability to access valid information and products and services to enhance health.
Students will demonstrate the ability to use interpersonal communication skills to enhance health and to avoid or reduce health risks.
Students will demonstrate the ability to use decision-making skills to enhance health.
Students will demonstrate the ability to use goal-setting skills to enhance health.
Students will demonstrate the ability to practice health-enhancing behaviors and avoid or reduce health risks.
Students will demonstrate the ability to advocate for personal, family, and community health.
From the American Association for Health Education and the American Cancer Society (www.aahperd.org/aahe)
BAM! Body and Mind www.bam.gov
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention www.cdc.gov
Infection Detection Protection www.amnh.org/nationalcenter/infection
NIMH: Child and Adolescent Mental Health www.nimh.nih.gov/healthinformation/childmenu.cfm
NSF Scrub Club www.scrubclub.org
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Children's Health Protection http://yosemite.epa.gov/ochp/ochpweb.nsf/content/homepage.htm
U.S. Food and Drug Administration www.fda.gov/default.htm
Linda Joseph is the author of Net Curriculum: An Educator's Guide to Using the Internet, published by CyberAge Books. The recipient of numerous awards, in addition to her work in the Columbus Public Schools and the Library of Congress, Linda is currently a part-time instructor for Ohio State University. Communications to the author may be addressed to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.