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6-8 > Health
Grade level: 6-8 Subject: Health Duration: Two to four class periods
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Extreme Measures

By the end of these lessons, students will be able to:
1. Identify specific physical and emotional characteristics within themselves and others.
2. Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of personal diet and exercise.
3. Demonstrate skills necessary to record personal data.
4. Apply basic skills of logic and reasoning to draw conclusions and summarize data.
5. Administer general writing skills.

Old Magazines (sports, fashion, entertainment)
Construction paper
Notebooks (optional)
Pens, colored pencils, pencils, markers
Reality Matters, Extreme Measures handout
Reality Matters, Extreme Measures Words handout

1. Introduction (one class duration)
To introduce the concept of “body image”, click on play to watch an overview of Extreme Measures:PLAY(download the free realplayer)
2. Reality Matters, Extreme Measures Facts handout should be given to students as an introduction to the activities within this lesson plan.
3. How do you see others?
1. As an opening exercise, have students go around the room and say something they like about the person next to them (students should not choose who they would like to make comments about – everyone should be included and get a turn). Make a personal tally of how many of the comments refer to something they like that is about the person’s “outer” self, (hair, clothes, smile – etc.) and how many comments refer to the person’s “inner” self (kind to others, hard working – etc.)
4. Share results of your tally with the class. Then, ask students a few questions that will stimulate discussion. Question suggestions:
  1. What is usually the first thing you notice about someone?
  2. Do you care about how others see you?
  3. Who influences you more - peers? adults? (Parents, teachers, doctors), the media?
  4. How does the media influence how we see ourselves?
5. Have students note characteristics they feel are important to create the “perfect” person. They can build their own image by describing this person in words. They should also describe this person by drawing or cutting out pictures from magazines of people they feel emulate the “perfect” person. Have the students answer questions about why these characteristics important. Students should then keep this characterization exercise and turn it in as a part of their Daily Health Journal summary (next section) at the end of the one-week period.
6. A Daily Health Journal (out of class activity- one week duration)
How do you see yourself?

Students will keep a daily health journal and record the following for one week:
  1. Theirdaily diet(food intake). What they have eaten and how much? They also need to keep a record of the time of day they ate, where and with whom. You can also have them record how they felt before they ate and after they ate.
  2. Their amount ofdaily exercise. What type of exercise they did, time of day, where and for how long? Were they with friends, at a gym or alone? Again, you can have them log how they felt before they exercised and how they felt afterward.
  3. Their mood. Students should record their mood at three different points in the day.
    1. Morning – before school
    2. Mid-day – at school (at one time: example 12:00 noon)
    3. Night/evening – after school or before the end of the day
7. On a daily basis, remind students of their journals and ask how their progress has been. It is suggested that several students could report on one or two items they recorded in order to keep the assignment fresh in students’ minds.
8. Inform students that at the end of the one week period, they will turn in their daily health journals along with a summary of the week and their feelings regarding changes they might make, strength areas, etc. Write the following questions on the board and ask students to record their answers in their journals:
  1. How do you see yourself “outside” and “inside”?
  2. In your opinion, which area is more important – outside, inside, or both?
  3. What is the “perfect” body?
  4. How important is it to have the “perfect” body?
  5. What do you feel a person might need to do to have the “perfect” body?
  6. Do you have the type of body you want?
    1. If no: What would you change about yourself?
    2. What do you feel you can do to change yourself?
    3. If yes: What is it about yourself that you feel good about?
    4. What do you do to maintain the type of body you want?
9. Ask for volunteers that would be willing to share their journal with the class at the end of the one- week period. Choose three volunteers from the class. These students should have different characteristics from each other. They should also be students who would not be embarrassed by feedback from the class.
NOTE: Input and comments from the class regarding the student volunteers’ journal should always start with a “positive” comment. This might be a challenge for some students but very important for all involved – the student volunteering their journal as well as the person making the comment. It is a great exercise in positive thinking and personal relations.
10. Weekly Class Activities
Guest Speakers (one-three classes duration)

Invite outside professionals to talk to the students about different areas surrounding body image. These professionals might include:
  • Nutritionist
  • Personal Trainer
  • Pediatrician
  • Sports and Medicine Doctor/Psychologist
  • Pharmacist
As an option or in addition to having community professionals visit the classroom, you may access our video of experts from the coordinating visual. Click play to run the expert segment of the Extreme Measures:PLAY
11. Vocabulary (one class duration)
Students can work in groups to research definitions of key vocabulary words addressing body image. See attached copy of the teacher’s version with definitions.
12. Use the handout,Reality Matters, Extreme Measures Words, as the student worksheet for the vocabulary exercise.
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Younger students can record their diets for 2-3 days instead of a week. Limit the amount of information they will record to facts that will be vital for the discussions of the week. Students can elaborate on the section of the assignment that has them create a “perfect” person. They can use magazine images to depict “outer” characteristics and write on “inner” characteristics that are important to them.
Once older students have summarized their health journals, they should develop a personal “action plan”. This plan will describe how the student will change or maintain their daily health activities. This should be written with explanations of why certain areas have been targeted and what they plan to do. Finally, students can try their plans for a week and share their reactions as to how it went.
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Discussion Questions

1. What does body image mean to you?
2. How do you see yourself?
3. How do you feel your friends see you?
4. To what extent would you go for the body you want?
5. What do you do to lose weight? Or gain weight?
6. How important is what you wear? – hair? make-up?
7. What makes a person “well liked” – “outer” body image or their “inner” body?
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Students may be evaluated by using the following three-point rubric:
  • Three points:student has followed all given instructions and fully participated in class discussion, assignments and activities. They have also fully completed daily health journal report and summary.
  • Two points:student has had some participation in class discussions and completed necessary assignments for the daily health journal.
  • One point:student has completed portions of given assignment with limited class involvement.
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Media and Your Mind
How does the media influence how we see ourselves? Have students watch particular/popular TV shows at home and make notes on the number of comments relating to body image or innuendos on how a person is perceived. Students should write down specific comments or give information on events leading up to and following incidences addressing body image. Discuss what students saw the next day. It will be interesting to see if students picked up on the same situations in a show or if some students made note of totally different situations.

One-Week Wonder
Have students develop a one-week health program for someone (doesn’t need to be them personally) who wants to loose a few pounds. They will do this by breaking down a daily program that changes day to day. Students may have many ideas on how to help this person but they will need to provide information and research to support their program (examples: caloric and fat intake, burning calories, etc). They should include examples of daily meals (breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner) and a daily exercise program listing type and length of exercises. Once students have developed their programs, ask them to share them with the class and discuss their findings. See if they would be willing to try it out for a week and see what happens.

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Suggested Readings

“The Body Image Workbook”
Thomas F. Cash, Ph. D., July 1998
This book addresses how to combat destructive and unhealthy attitudes towards one’s physical appearance. An eight-step program shows readers how to evaluate a negative body image, change self-defeating “private body talk,” and create a more pleasurable, affirming relationship with the body.

“Love the Body You Were Born With: A Ten-Step Workbook for Woman”
Monica A. Dixon, January 1996
This interactive workbook helps the reader with common-sense advice and practical exercises to help them learn to love their bodies. It also teaches how to take control of your body and behavior patterns by using self-tests and realistic, specific steps that foster a healthy body and a healthy mind.

“200 Ways to Love the Body You Have”
Marcia Germaine Hutchinson, March 1999
This book offers a very accessible way to enrich your experience of living in a body. It helps the reader to see the profound role that your body plays in your personal life as well as revealing the ways your body is central to living on this planet and in spiritual growth.

“What’s Real, What’s Ideal: Overcoming a Negative Body Image (Teen Health Library of Eating Disorder Prevention”)
Brangien Davis, September 1998
This book offers a thoughtful, thorough, and pragmatic exploration of the relationship between teenagers’ perceptions of their bodies and their overall health and well-being. It offers factual information, realistic color photographs, and mini-stories about teens’ challenges with physical appearance.

“The Eating Disorder Sourcebook: A Comprehensive Guide to the Causes, Treatments, and Prevention of Eating Disorders”
Carolyn Costin, 2nd Edition November 1999
The author, a recovering anorexic and eating disorder specialist, provides a unique personal and professional viewpoint on eating disorders; examining individual and family dynamics and helping readers assess symptoms which may indicate problems.

“Finding Our Way: The Teen Girls’ Survival Guide”
Allison Abner, Linda Villarosa, February 1996, Reading Level: 4-8
A unique, illustrated guide that helps teen girls discover who they are, what they want in life, and how they can get it in today’s complex world.

“Body Image: A Reality Check (Issues in Focus)”
Pamela Shires Sneddon, March 1999, Reading Level: Young Adult
Physical appearance is of overwhelming concern to a majority of American teens. Sneedon presents a discussion of the issues involved in forming body image, including upbringing, personal confidence (or lack thereof), and societal pressure to conform to unrealistic ideals, and ends with suggestions on how to accept one’s body.

“Real Girl/Real World: Tools for Finding Your True Self”
Heather M. Gray, Samantha Phillips, Ellen Forney (Illustrator), August 1998, Reading Level: Young Adult
There is “no one right way to be.” That’s the theme of this scattershot but encouraging, frank, and approachable resource for young women that crisscrosses topics related to body image, self-esteem, and sexuality.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and its member pediatricians dedicate their efforts and resources to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. The AAP has approximately 55,000 members in the United States, Canada and Latin America. Members include pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists.

Eating Disorders Awareness and Prevention, Inc.
Eating Disorders Awareness and Prevention, Inc., EDAP, is a national nonprofit organization dedicated in increasing the awareness and prevention of eating disorders through education and community activism. Founded in 1987, EDAP has grown to become one of our nation’s largest nonprofit organizations dedicated solely to the prevention and awareness of eating disorders.

KidsHealth is one of the largest sites on the Web providing doctor-approved health information about children from birth through adolescence. The mission of KidsHealth is to provide the best children ‘s health information on the Internet.

The Healthy Eating, Healthy Living Program
The Healthy Eating, Healthy Living Program undertakes to identify the food and nutrition needs of at-risk vulnerable groups by means of critical analysis. Through the operation of information, education and communication center, this program engages in the development of health promotion initiatives by offering an information system that embraces up-to-date food, nutrition and health resources and keeps health professionals, the general public, government, non-government agencies and policy makers informed.

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Click on any of the vocabulary words below to hear them pronounced and used in a sentence.

speaker    image
Definition:An imitation, representation or reproduction of the form of a person or object
Context:An image can be a visible presentation, a copy or a likeness. Image as it pertains to “body image” is a concept of one’s physical appearance based on self-observation and the reactions of others.

speaker    anorexia
Definition:loss of appetite
Context:Anorexia nervosa is a psychological illness. It can be found in both female and male adolescents in which the patients have no desire to eat. The problem often starts with a simple desire to loose weight, which then becomes an obsession.

speaker    amenorrhea
Definition:the absence or suppression of the menstrual period
Context:Amenorrhea may occur as a result of abnormalities of the female reproductive tract, hormonal problems, or genetic disorder. It may also result from depression, malnutrition, emotional or physical stress, drugs, obesity and chronic illness.

speaker    diet
Definition:the mixture of foods that a person eats
Context:A diet is the usual food and drink of a person or animal. It is a regulated selection of foods that can also be prescribed for medical reasons.

speaker    obesity
Definition:the condition in which excess fat has accumulated in the body
Context:Obesity is usually considered to be present when a person is 20% above the recommended weight for his/her height and build. The accumulation of fat is caused by the consumption of more food than is required for producing enough energy for daily activities.

speaker    steroids
Definition:a group of chemicals whose structures are very much alike
Context:Steroids are a large family of chemical substances, comprising many hormones, vitamins, body constituents and drugs. Some of these drugs (like testosterone) have only recently been identified as having abuse and addiction liability. These drugs are also known as “Anabolic Steroids”.

speaker    negative
Definition:expressing, containing, or consisting of a negation, refusal, or denial.
Context:To be “negative” is to have no positive features. When someone is negative they cannot be positive or constructive.

speaker    obsession
Definition:a compulsive, often unreasonable idea or emotion
Context:An obsession is a persistent disturbing preoccupation with an often-unreasonable idea or feeling.

speaker    self-esteem
Definition:pride in oneself, self-respect
Context:Self-Esteem is a feeling of pride in you. It is when you hold a good opinion of yourself and you show a quality of being worthy of esteem and/or respect.

speaker    exercise
Definition:to put into operation - set into action
Context:Exercise is activity that requires physical and mental exertion - to exert your muscles in various ways. Exercise is a practice of developing your body and mind.

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This lesson plan may be used to address the academic standards listed below. These standards are drawn from Content Knowledge: A Compendium of Standards and Benchmarks for K-12 Education: 2nd Edition and have been provided courtesy of theMid-continent Research for Education and Learningin Aurora, Colorado.
Grade level:6-8
Subject area:Health
Knows environmental and external factors that affect individual and community health.
Understands how various messages from the media, technology, and other sources impact health practices (e.g., health fads, advertising, misconceptions about treatment and prevention options).
Understands how peer relationships affect health (e.g., name calling, prejudice, exclusiveness, discrimination, risk-taking behaviors)

Grade level:6-8
Subject area:Health
Knows how to maintain mental and emotional health.
Knows characteristics and conditions associated with positive self-esteem.

Grade level:6-8
Subject area:Health
Understands essential concepts about nutrition and diet
Knows appropriate methods to maintain, lose, or gain weight according to individual needs and scientific research.
Knows eating disorders that affect health adversely (e.g., anorexia, overeating, bulimia).

Grade level:6-8
Subject area:Health
Knows how to maintain and promote personal health.
Knows personal health strengths and risk (e.g., results of a personal health assessment).
Knows strategies and skills that are used to attain personal health goals (e.g., maintaining an exercise program, making healthy food choices).
Understands how changing information, abilities, priorities, and responsibilities influence personal health goals.

Grade level:6-8
Subject area:Language Arts
Demonstrates competence in the general skills and strategies of the writing process
Uses style and structure appropriate for specific audiences (e.g., public, private) and purposes (e.g., to entertain, to influence, to inform).
Writes compositions about autobiographical incidents (e.g., explores the significance and personal importance of the incident; uses details to provide a context for the incident; reveals personal attitude towards the incident; presents details in a logical manner).
Writes compositions that speculate on problems/solutions (e.g., identifies and defines a problem in a way appropriate to the intended audience, describes at least one solution, presents logical and well-supported reasons).

Grade level:6-8
Subject area:Science
Understands the nature of scientific inquiry.
Establishes relationships based on evidence and logical argument (e.g., provides causes for effects).

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CWK Network
Connecting with Kids provides television programming and products focused on the health, education, and well-being of children and young adults. To contact CWK Network, write to Lee Scharback at
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