Designing a Community Health Project
Service Project Suggestions
- School bulletin board: Begin a dedicated bulletin board to display health issues and information related to healthy living and healthy communities. Suggested titles: Stuff You’ve GOT to Know, BE COOL, BE HEALTHY. Post articles, charts, posters, food riddles and jokes, healthy recipes, and interesting and disturbing facts about health. Add, change and revise the bulletin board every week or two. Encourage the students to add current events, interesting facts, and posters to the bulletin board.
- Newsletter: Maintain a Healthy Communities newsletter (with content similar to the bulletin board described above) to distribute to students, parents, and neighborhood businesses.
- Read Alouds: Have students select passages from books related to healthy living to read aloud to a younger class in the school. Students will need to practice reading aloud slowly and with expression. Encourage students to plan questions to ask children during or after reading. Have students rehearse with small groups of classmates. Suggested books: Chew on This: Everything You Don’t Want to Know About Fast Food by Charles Wilson and Eric Schlosser, Real Kids Come in All Sizes by Kathy Kater, I’m, Like, So Fat! By Dine Newmark-Sztainer.
- Petition and Letter-Writing Campaigns: Students draft letters or petitions to a local representative or to the school’s principal or to a local TV or radio station urging their attention to relevant, health-related issues.
- Fundraiser: Create a cookbook with recipes from students’ families. Include favorite Taste Testers snacks and treats that use healthier alternatives to white flour, oils, and sugar. Use as a fundraiser.
- Walk-a-thon: Work with students to organize, advertise, and implement a student and teacher walk-a-thon to help prevent obesity by encouraging exercise. The American Diabetes Association has some pointers here: http://www.schoolwalk.diabetes.org/
- PSA: Divide students into small groups to brainstorm ideas for a public service announcement about health that targets young people.
- What is it important for your peers to know about health?
- How can you create a message that will influence other young people? How will you inspire them to take control of their health?
- Media Messages: Ask students to select a current advertisement or song (print, TV, radio) and change it to reflect a healthy message. Create a new, effective version of the ad that presents a healthy message. Perform it for the class.
- Create a Character: Ask students to consider characters like talking M&M’s. How do characters like these help to market unhealthy foods to children? Students should think about the qualities that make characters like M&M’s appealing and then create characters that make healthy foods just as tempting. (Bro Broccoli?)
- Jokes and Riddles: Create a series of Fun Food Facts posters using riddles and interesting/surprising information about different healthy foods.
Look! Out in the field! Is it a vegetable? Is it a grain? Is it a fruit?”
It’s a vegetable, a grain AND a fruit – it’s corn!
Include information about how corn is eaten and what food categories it belongs to.
Add a silly riddle, for example: What do you say to a farmer who wants to talk about corn? "I'm all ears."
- Mini-Books: Make mini-books of student-illustrated food riddles and include a fun food fact with each one.
- For example:
- Why did the banana go to the doctor? It wasn't peeling well.
- Why did the peanut butter jump into the ocean? To be with the jellyfish
- What dessert do fish serve at their parties? Crab cakes
- Game: Students use index cards and magazine photos of foods. On the back, write the food group, portion size, and approximate calories. Make cards for every food group.
Make a Meal— Spread out the cards, food picture side up. Players use the cards to make a meal. Scoring: 1 point for each food group (except Extras). 1 point for identifying each food group.
Calorie Counters—Spread out food cards for a single food group. Players identify the food with the least and the most calories.