Grade 4: A Healthy Body
A Sample Unit on
Medical Research

Lesson 1 | Lesson 2 | Lesson 3 | Lesson 4 | Lesson 5
Grade 4: A Healthy Body: Lesson 1

Topic: Medical Research

Activity: What is a serious illness?

Decision-making Process

  • Stop!

Resources

Foundational objectives

  • Students will increase their knowledge of the human body
  • Students will identify sources of support for healthy living
  • Students will describe a decision-making process (CCT,IL)
  • Students will develop their intuitive, imaginative thought, and their ability to evaluate ideas, experiences and objects in meaningful contexts (CCT)

Learning objectives

Students will:

  • understand some problems of physical health, one of which is HIV/AIDS
  • gradually incorporate the vocabulary related to the human body and to health into their speech and writing (C)
  • recognize that the job of health-care professionals is to prevent disease and injury and to care for those who are ill or hurt
  • connect what they already know with what they are learning (IL)
  • participate in brainstorming and classification activities (CCT)
Note: This lesson offers opportunities to incorporate HIV/AIDS education

Procedure

  • Brainstorm a list of diseases, or prepare an initial list and have students add to it (examples: measles, mumps, the flu, a cold, an ear infection, tetanus, rabies, AIDS, an allergy, asthma, bronchitis, Alzheimer's disease, cancer, diabetes, etc.)
  • In cooperative groups of three or four, ask the students to think of a way to group these diseases. Which ones would go together? Why?
  • Have them label their categories (what title could they give to each group?) Students might come up with such categories as diseases: that can/cannot be cured; that do/don't last long; that can/cannot be prevented; for which there is/isn't a vaccine; that are infectious/non-infectious; that are/aren't serious... Observe the groups and guide discussions by asking questions and by encouraging students to justify their suggestions or to clarify their thinking.
  • Have reporters from each group describe and explain how their group categorized the list of diseases.
  • Have students look at the various ways the diseases were categorized. Discuss how categories might relate to each other, and ask if they think some could be combined (for instance, would a disease that can be cured necessarily be considered "not serious"? Why or why not?)
    • Discuss the concept of "serious disease": Is the flu a serious disease? How about a stomach flu? When is it considered serious? (You might want to talk about which categories of the population usually get immunized against the flu and why; students could read articles about the child mortality rate in developing countries due to diarrhea and dehydration.) Discuss the following points: some diseases are serious but can be controlled; others are serious but have almost been eliminated thanks to vaccines; researchers are working hard to find a cure or a vaccine for other diseases.
Notes

Assessment: Observe students' participation in categorizing activity: Do they demonstrate respect for others' opinions? Do they suggest categories and define characteristics for each category? Do they justify their suggestions? Do they use appropriate vocabulary? Do they use prior knowledge of diseases in the classification process?

 
Grade 4: A Healthy Body: Lesson 2

Topic: Medical Research

Activity: Technology and medical research

Decision-making Process

  • Stop!

Resources

Foundational objectives

  • Students will identify sources of support for healthy living
  • Students will develop their ability to make decisions (CCT)
  • Students will develop an understanding that technology both shapes and is shaped by society (TEC)
  • Students will develop an appreciation of the value and limitations of technology within society (TEC)

Learning objectives

Students will:

  • recognize that the job of health-care professionals is to prevent disease and injury and to care for those who are ill or hurt
  • gather and evaluate information from a variety of sources
  • explore the impact of technological change on health (TEC)
  • explore how human needs shape the direction and development of technological innovations (TEC)
  • explore the advantages and limitations of modern treatments and technology in controlling health and diseases (TEC)
Note: This lesson offers opportunities to incorporate HIV/AIDS education

Procedure

  • Invite a speaker to talk about a serious disease that we have learned to control thanks to medical research (e.g., diabetes or asthma). Inform the speaker of the type of information you would like the students to get: evolution of treatments thanks to research, treatments now available, sources of support, how research for this disease is funded, what type of research is currently taking place (finding a vaccine, identifying the cause of the disease, developing new techniques for treating the disease.)
  • Or invite a nurse to talk about vaccination and the diseases we are usually vaccinated against (address such questions as when the vaccines were discovered and what would happen if we did not have access to them).
  • Using the KWL method, have the students conduct research on the history of treatment for various diseases (this might include AIDS). Students might look for information such as important discoveries relating to the disease, discovery of a vaccine if applicable, developments in types of treatment, etc. Have the students present this information on a time line and report on their research. Have them compare the time lines and research findings for the various diseases.
  • Visit a hospital and learn how scientific advances and technology are used to treat diseases and to improve the quality of life of patients.
    • Discuss the limitations of some medical discoveries (e.g., acquired resistance to certain remedies). Explain how diagnosis fits within a decision-making process for doctors, who have to take into account short-term and long-term consequences before prescribing a treatment. Many doctors have "analyzed and modified their action plans" against certain diseases: e.g., they do not prescribe antibiotics as often as they used to.
    • Invite an Elder to make a presentation on natural remedies and the medicinal properties of plants. Before the visit, have students prepare questions; if they have researched technological advances in dealing with certain diseases, they may wish to ask whether these can be treated with natural remedies and how. Following this presentation, students might start a herbarium (a collection of dried plants on charts or in book form) in which the names and medicinal properties of each plant would be identified.
    • Discuss the need to respect our environment. For example:
      • how destruction of certain habitats (South American rainforest) may make medicinal plants rare or extinct;
      • pollution is suspected to cause some serious diseases
Notes

For further information on the KWL method, refer to the Instructional Methods section of the curriculum or to the "Instructional Strategies Online' website.

Assessment: Observe students' participation in activities and interest in topics. Are they able to see positive and negative sides of scientific advances in health care? In traditional remedies?

 
Grade 4: A Healthy Body: Lesson 3

Topic: Medical Research

Activity: Offering support to people who are sick

Decision-making Process

  • Stop!

Resources

Foundational objectives

  • Students will better understand the basic elements of social and emotional well-being (PSVS)
  • Students will identify sources of support for healthy living
  • Students will develop attitudes necessary for healthy living (PSVS)

Learning objectives

Students will:

  • gradually incorporate the vocabulary for expressing feelings and for social interaction into their talk and writing (C)
  • recognize that family and friends are sources of support
  • recognize that the community provides facilities and services to help its citizens enjoy better physical and mental health
  • demonstrate compassion for people suffering from ill health, including people with HIV/AIDS
Note: This lesson incorporates HIV/AIDS education

Procedure

  • Have students categorize the following words and expressions under the headings "Physical symptoms" and "Emotions": having a headache; sneezing; being scared; having a fever; being lonely; being bored; coughing; being tired; being worried; having a runny nose; being angry; having a rash; being relieved; being sad; having a stomach ache; being depressed. Discuss how sick people need not only medical care but also moral support.
  • Divide students into groups of three and ask them to make a list of what family members, friends and the medical system (doctors, nurses, etc.) do to support people who are sick. Remind them that support is needed to meet both physical and emotional needs.
  • Invite a nurse to come and talk about the different ways we can provide moral support for people with serious illnesses and explain how this support helps such people.
  • Read accounts of people who have founded support groups, or who have benefitted from support groups. Or invite guest speakers to explain how they have benefitted from support groups.
  • Read a story such as Alex, the Kid With AIDS. Discuss how friendship and emotional, as well as medical treatment, help Alex cope with his disease.
  • Using examples from children's literature or real-life stories, prepare case studies involving a sick person and another person (family member, friend, neighbour, etc.) who can provide help or moral support. Ask students to draw up a list of ideas of how they can provide a sick person with moral support (think about group actions as well as individual ones; remind them that "little touches," such as bringing flowers from the garden or reading a story, can comfort a sick person).
  • Using examples from children's literature, ask students to write in their reading response journals what they would do to provide support for a character in a book who is sick.
Notes

Assessment: Discuss journal entries during conferences.

 
Grade 4: A Healthy Body: Lesson 4

Topic: Medical Research

Activity: Dealing with sickness

Decision-making Process

  • Explore...

  • Go!

Resources

Foundational objectives

  • Students will identify sources of support for healthy living
  • Students will treat themselves and others with respect (PSVS)
  • Students will develop attitudes necessary for healthy living (PSVS)

Learning objectives

Students will:

  • recognize that family and friends are sources of support
  • increasingly accept responsibility for themselves and others
  • demonstrate compassion for people suffering from ill health, including people with HIV/AIDS
Note: This lesson offers opportunities to incorporates HIV/AIDS education
Procedure
  • Read accounts of the lives of scientists such as Louis Pasteur, or health care givers like Florence Nightingale. Talk about what prompted them to undertake their work. Read about or talk about people who have founded support groups in response to a specific event (such as the illness of someone close to them, an accident, etc.) Have students reflect on these people's response to a traumatic event. Ask the students to suggest other possible actions (participating in fund-raising drives for research, volunteering to help sick people, etc.) Ask them to make a list of things they could do themselves to help a specific person or sick people in general, and then to draw up an action plan for that purpose.
  • Students could decide to prepare brochures to explain what they have learned about the development of treatment for various illnesses throughout history. Have them observe the characteristics of informational brochures, (size, titles, layout, etc.) before making their own brochures. Provide time and structure to allow students to go through the various stages of the writing process. Hold conferences with students to discuss how their work is progressing and to assist them with decisions about their work.
  • Students could prepare a book in which they each write and illustrate a page describing something they have done to help a sick person. The book could be read to younger students.
Notes

Assessment: Agree on evaluation criteria for the brochure and monitor progress throughout the process. If this activity integrate Health Education and Language Arts, include criteria for skills related to both programs. Information Sheet 4.1 provides an example of a rating scale for evaluating the final product.

Online Resources Extensions
 

Information Sheet 4.1 Evaluating the brochure: rating scale (example)

Name:
Date:
Scale
1 = needs improvement
2 = acceptable
3 = good
4 = excellent

1

2

3

4

Content

       

Documentation is complete

       

Information is accurate

       

Presentation

       

Written work is neat and legible

       

Tables and diagrams are clear

       

Colours and illustrations add to visual appeal

       

Organization

       

Information is arranged logically

       

Each new section starts with an appropriate heading

       

Spelling, punctuation, vocabulary

       

Spelling and punctuation are correct

       

The vocabulary specific to the unit is used correctly

       

Comments and overall impression:

 

© 2007. Online Learning Center, Saskatoon Public Schools