|Reviewers Comments: |
The Science of Healthy Behaviors curriculum is part of the NIH Curriculum Supplement Series. NIH created curriculum supplements for teachers educating students in the elementary through high school levels. This particular supplement is designed to encourage healthy behaviors or behavior change with respect to general wellness for 7th and 8th grade students. The topics include mental health, nutritional science, healthy body image, and many others. The curriculum is available in a free web version online, and additional copies are available by request. Teacher’s guides and a list of state “standards of learning” criteria that the supplement meets is also available online. The curriculum is hole-punched and includes a poster and bookmark addressing the topic of interest.
The book is divided into an information section, followed by learning modules with individual lessons. After that, it includes a series of “master sheets” including handouts and lecture materials. The purpose is clearly stated in the information section along with background information about National Institute of Health (NIH), the importance of creating the specific lesson plans, and reasoning for creating modules are listed. Because the information section is vividly detailed, educators should have a good understanding of the material prior to teaching a class.
Organization, timelines, and necessary materials for the lessons are discussed with each individual lesson. There are five student lessons titled: “Defining Behavior,” “Influences on Behavior,” “Tools of Social and Behavioral Science: The Survey,” “Behavioral Specialists at Work: The Healthcare Setting,” “Behavioral Specialists in the Healthcare Setting…Again.” Each lesson follows a similar format, and includes web-based activities along with handouts. Additional materials with lesson questions and answers, tips, and evaluation techniques are provided.
The lessons were created for a school setting. The lessons require a high literacy level by the teachers and are required to meet standards of learning goals. Because of this, they might be difficult to complete for students outside of the school setting. Computers are necessary to complete these lessons. The websites consist of interactive videos for students to observe and discuss, thereby requiring proficiency with computers and technology along with high speed internet access capabilities so as to not delay the lessons from slow loading videos. Many of the lessons are dense, and may require multiple days to complete.
The curriculum can be personalized for use in either an informal or structured setting. The “Master” sheets can be helpful in any education setting as they contain excellent evaluation tools, situational and discussion based materials, reference sheets, and group activities. Each sheet is referenced to a specific lesson so an educator can look at that lesson for background information or ideas. Educators might have a problem if a facility does not have computer access as components of the lessons are web-based. If this is a concern, many online-based activities have “text-versions” Some online could be used for “homework” this provides a unique opportunity for educators to extend classroom learning to home. All of these materials allow an educator to personalize their program as they see fit.