The focus of World Health Day this year on 7 April is that good health from an early age can help us to lead long and productive lives. It is an ideal opportunity to remind pupils of the importance of a healthy lifestyle and of the damage that can be caused by harmful activities, such as smoking.
Wash your hands is an assembly by the British Red Cross that focuses on one of the most basic and effective methods of maintaining good health – hand-washing. Suitable for use with primary or secondary pupils, the kit features a script for a short and lively presentation that aims to raise awareness of the need for good personal hygiene. It also makes the point that, in some parts of the world, hand-washing can be a matter of life and death. The pack is supported by a chart that illustrates the hand-washing technique recommended by the NHS.
In stark contrast, Filth and Fever in Victorian England is a history resource from The British Library that highlights the impact of poor sanitation and healthcare on life expectancy rates in the first half of the 19th century. Pupils can explore a range of sources, from cartoons published in Punch magazine to statistical data gathered by the very first health inspectors, to investigate why three in 20 babies died before their first birthday in the early 1900s.
Back to the present day, and Olympics 2012: Health looks at some of the health risks associated with the Games . Suitable for secondary pupils, the resource features group activities that explore how disease spreads when mass gatherings of people take place and the demands they place on medical services. Pupils are also encouraged to investigate what they can do to preserve their own health and wellbeing and how the Olympics might prompt people to question their inactive lifestyles.
Keeping healthy –Diet is a resource for primary pupils that focuses on the importance of a balanced diet. Students use information about different foods, including those that are rich in fats, oils, sugars and starch, to create a healthy menu for a day. An accompanying resource, Keeping healthy – Exercise, encourages pupils to think about the factors that affect our pulse rate and make predictions about the changes in our bodies that take place after exercise.
For secondary pupils, Fit and healthy uses animations and graphs to illustrate how our breathing and heartbeat change with exercise. It also investigates the effect of drinking alcohol on reaction rates. This is explored further in Factors affecting performance, which is for 14- to 16-year-olds and looks at the effects of smoking, alcohol and socially unacceptable drugs on health and performance.
The Guardian Teacher Network has more than 100,000 pages of lesson plans and interactive materials. To see and share for yourself go to teachers.guardian.co.uk. There are also hundreds of jobs on the site; for a free trial of your first advert, go to schoolsjobs.guardian.co.uk.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010