Video recording of teacher training. Click on the YouTube description to see timestamps to important sections.
Not a video person? Scroll down for a full written breakdown of lesson plans.
Kami is an extension that allows you to edit and annotate PDF files. Both the teacher and student must have the Kami Chrome extension installed. To install the extension: https://tinyurl.com/yckll7tt
Kami is free to use to annotate PDFs. However, the premium version allows teachers to integrate Kami with Google Classroom, enabling students to fill out a worksheet using Kami editing tools and turn it in directly. See this video on how to use Kami with Google Classroom: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djpqf8yZCdY
Learn more about free and paid versions of Kami: https://www.kamiapp.com/pricing/
There are 4 consecutive health curriculum lessons paired with Kürzi. Each lesson has Kürzi gameplay activities to support it. See the gameplay activities associated with each lesson:
In this lesson, students learn to make healthier decisions by considering factors that impact health decisions, chart out a decision tree, and identify consequences of decision tree decisions. The Kürzi activity that supports this lesson is to make a decision tree for an activity the student decides for Kürzi.
There are many Kürzi gameplay activities that students can chart decision trees for, like exercising, reading a book, eating, drinking water, and resting on the bed. Kürzi was designed to support decision making, giving students control over Kürzi’s health activities.
In addition, in the Bedroom Computer, students can play decision making Mini Games such as Fridger, where students are trained to identify healthy vs. unhealthy food options. Which Burns More? is a mini game that asks students to decide between 2 given activities, which activity burns more calories.
This lesson teaches students to evaluate how healthy their diets are based on US Dietary Guidelines for daily calorie intake and MyPlate. To support this lesson, Kürzi has an interactive MyPlate in the Kitchen, where students can choose different healthy and unhealthy food options to feed Kürzi. Students can keep a food log of what they fed Kürzi in a day, and evaluate how this food log compares to calorie and MyPlate guidelines. This is less threatening than having students evaluate their own food habits with classmates.
Mini Games like Fridger train students to identify healthy vs. unhealthy food options.
The third lesson discusses helpful exercise metrics (RPE, BPM) to track to maintain students’ health. Kürzi comes with a pulse sensor that teachers can use in resting heart rate/ post-exercise heart rate in class exercises. Students can pair Kürzi with a daily log book and use the Outdoor Exercise Activity to measure their BPM after every activity they choose to do in a day.
NOTE: Using the Pulse Oximeter in the Sensors & Info menu does not display the time the student last measured a BPM in Gameplay Info. Only Doctor Events or the Outdoor Exercise Activity displays a timestamp of when the student last measured a BPM in Gameplay Info. See Pulse Oximeter for more detail.
This last lesson allows students to differentiate between mood and mental health, learn positive behaviors to improve attitude and mood, find ways to mitigate stress, effectively communicate their needs, wants, emotions and feelings, and learn how to ask for help. Within Kürzi, students can sit on the couch or read a book in the Living Room to add a boost to Kürzi’s mood, or play the Stressy Guess Mini Game in the Bedroom Computer.
Discussing factors that influence decisions, teaching decision trees to evaluate daily decisions, learning about different types of decisions, and analyzing the consequences of decisions.
Project skill: Awareness of the number of decisions students make everyday.
Life skill: Making decisions.
Educational standards: Functional knowledge and skills.
Success indicator: Students create a decision tree and list the factors that impact the decision.
We make decisions nearly every minute of every day...what to wear, what to eat, what route to take to get to school, where to sit in class, who to talk to. How might we help students make healthy decisions? By showing them a technique for increasing their skills in evaluating the decisions they make on a daily basis and applying it to their everyday decision-making.
Materials: Computer; 25 copies of decision tree example and template.
Time Required: 30 min.
Demonstration (if necessary): Review the decision tree included in the activity with students.
How do you make decisions about your health? What decisions impact your health? How might you evaluate the decisions you make in terms of health?
Decision making impacts all of our lives. This lesson shows students how to use a decision tree and to look back to evaluate the consequences of making the decision.
Habitual decisions may impact our health in positive or negative ways (think about whether you climb the stairs or use an escalator or elevator when you go to the mall; whether you park your car close to an entrance or farther away). You might describe an example to students such as how you brush your teeth...start on the lower back teeth, move to the front, brushing back and forth or up and down. You don’t give much thought to how you do it, it just gets done and you rinse your mouth and start your day.
Students are not always able to choose between healthy or unhealthy alternatives—their parents may smoke and they do not get a choice; they may have to eat whatever is served for dinner; they may need to babysit their brothers or sisters while their parents are at work—so we can consider those no choice decisions. The goal of this activity is to help students become more aware of the choices they are making, and the consequences on their eating, exercise, and mood.
Students are going to focus on healthy eating, activity, and mood during the next few lessons. The Kürzi will help them to understand the effects their decision making has on it in terms of its overall health. Hopefully, Kürzi will help them make healthier decisions.
Tonight's activity is to begin to explore the Kürzi. How does it move? What does it do? They must interact with it for at least one “day” this evening. That includes moving it from room to room, playing mini games, feeding it, and trying an exercise with it.
Ask students to fill out a decision tree for something they decided for Kürzi.
Understand healthy eating based on US Dietary Guidelines for Americans, understand the benefits of healthy eating, explain how outside factors influence health decisions, and evaluate food choices.
Project skill: Evaluating food choices.
Life skill: Making decisions.
Educational standards: Functional knowledge and skills.
Success indicator: Students evaluate a food log using the guidelines of My Healthy Plate.
Students eat a variety of foods but may not evaluate their choices. This activity asks them to log their food choices (or use a log provided) to evaluate how closely they match the guidelines presented on https://www.myplate.gov/
Time Required: Homework assigned the night before; 40 min for in class activity
What did you eat today? Ask students to list the foods they ate. Be sure to accurately count servings. Determine from https://www.myplate.gov/ which of the five food types the food represents (fruit, vegetables, grain, protein, or dairy). Some foods may represent more than one category.
Discuss how to read a nutrition label. What are the sections? Where are the ingredients listed? How can we make decisions about the health of a food by looking at the label? Use the linked label pictured to the right to lead a class discussion on learning how to read and make sense of food labels to make informed decisions on what we eat; refer to https://www.fda.gov/media/135197/download.
Nutrition labels. Read and compare food labels on the following pages.
Pre-assigned homework: What did you eat today? Ask students to list the foods they ate. Be sure to accurately count servings. Determine from https:// www.myplate.gov/ which of the five food types the food represents (fruit, vegetables, grain, protein, or dairy). Some foods may represent more than one category.
Discuss how to read a nutrition label. What are the sections? Where are the ingredients listed? How can we make decisions about the health of a food by looking at the label?
Use the food log worksheet. Write down the food you have eaten for the day. Make sure to include the serving size and food group or category the food comes from; refer to the example below.
Evaluate a food log. Students may use their own food logs or ones provided. (Student food log and pre-made logs are at end of lesson.)
Kürzi. Play the Fridger mini game. You will see a food falling down from the top of the screen and must click on the right decision (unhealthy left, or healthy right) before the food leaves the screen. If you chooses the incorrect answer three times, the game will end. Each time you play Fridger, you will earn coins for every correct answer. At the end a screen showing your results.
Answer these questions after you play:
See Activity 3 in Classroom Activities.
Middle school is an important time for children and establishing their eating habits. Some students are experimenting with food choices (vegan, vegetarian, meat eaters) and they may not realize that they need to have a wide range of foods to get the needed energy and nutrients for them to reach their full potential, both physically and mentally.
When choosing foods, nutrition labels can give a good look at what is healthy. The amounts of sugar, salt, and fat may be major contributors to weight issues and health-related problems in the future. If sugar or salt are one of the top three ingredients, perhaps a different choice should be made. If the content is over 30% of the daily value for adults, it might be a better decision to avoid that food on a regular basis. (see nutrition label example on last page).
Many of students’ nutrition choices are limited by their parents’/guardians’ decisions and budgets. Helping students to understand the extent to which they can make healthy choices and guiding those decisions by helping them to evaluate the health of foods will make a difference even when they don’t believe that they have many choices.
Worried about fresh vs frozen? See https:// goaskalice.columbia.edu/answered-questions/nutritional- differences-between-canned-frozen-and-fresh-veggies for the facts.
Worried about GMOs? See https://gmoanswers.com/ for scientific answers to common questions.
Information about the new Nutrition Facts Label (15 PSAs): https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLey4Qe-UxcxaZlZKEArX33qrQvrHfixv4
Learn exercise terms (RPE, BPM), learn about various technologies that monitor fitness (heart monitor, pedometer, phone, apps), learn to track physical activity, learn stretching and exercise routines to improve flexibility, and learn to evaluate rigor of exercise, learn to tie nutritional concepts to fitness.
Project skill: Learning to track physical activity.
Life skill: Tracking and maintaining physical fitness through activity.
Educational standards: Functional knowledge and skills.
Success indicator: Students apply the Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) to a set of physical activities.
Students are probably aware of various physical fitness monitoring apps and devices. This process is designed to increase students’ own awareness of their physical activity and compare it to monitored activities.
Materials: RPE description (from: https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/measuring/exertion.htm#); videos or physical activity choices to use for practice
Kürzi. Student worksheet: Tracking Physical Activities + Kürzi
Time Required: 40-45 min
Kürzi. Play Which Burns More? mini game. Students are given two activity options on the left and right side of the screen. Students choose which activity burns more calories. If they choose the incorrect answer three times, the game will end. After showing the game results, the screen will redirect to the PC Options Menu.
Students may want to challenge each other by trading routines to try out.
See Activity 2 in Classroom Activities.
When introducing physical activity in the classroom, be sure that there is adequate space for what is expected and encourage students to use caution when exerting themselves during the activity.
RPE = Rating of Perceived Exertion: is a rating method that can be used to estimate your exertion using a scale of 6-20 to determine your heart rate.
Beats per minute - bpm: the number your heart beats per minute (also known as pulse).
How do you monitor your fitness? Is fitness important? Why? How do decisions you make about fitness or physical activity affect your diet and your mental health?
The Rating of Perceived Exertion is “based on the physical sensations a person experiences during physical activity, including increased heart rate, increased respiration or breathing rate, increased sweating, and muscle fatigue.” This rating is an excellent chance for students to estimate their rate of exertion and is highly correlated to the actual heart rate of respondents. This measure can be combined with resting heart rate, another measure of fitness, and how long it takes for someone’s heart rate to return to resting heart rate (RHR)* after exercise. The sooner the pulse returns to RHR, the better the fitness level. Not all people have the same RHR, so do not ask students to compare these numbers. RHR is affected by several factors: level of fitness, the amount of time since your last meal, genetic background, temperature, dehydration, stress, and more.
*Normal heart rates for youth ages 6 to 12 are 70 to 120 BPM, and for ages 12 and up they are 60 to 100 BPM. Well- trained athletes may have even lower heart rates.
Have students write out their list of activities they choose and try it out at home for homework with their Kürzi. Have them estimate their RPE while they are doing the exercise, then check their pulse on Kürzi.
Identify the difference between mood vs. mental health, learn positive behaviors to improve attitude and mood, learn to mitigate stress, learn to effectively communicate needs, wants, emotions, and feelings, learn to ask for assistance, and learn about the interrelationships of physical, mental, emotional, and social health.
Project skill: Learning to describe the difference between mood and overall mental health.
Life skill: Determining how to adjust attitude and mood through positive behaviors and how to mitigate stress. Determining when stress becomes detrimental to mental health.
Educational standards: Functional knowledge and skills.
Success indicator: Understands how to determine the difference between mood, stress, and other mental health issues.
This series of lessons is designed to make the connection between healthy decision-making and nutrition, physical activity, and mood (attitude). Mental health in adolescents is particularly difficult due to the varying situations students find themselves in and their development into adulthood as they go through puberty. This lesson attempts to illustrate that mood or attitude may be affected by situational factors, but also by brain development, and that stressors may exacerbate the things that are going on as they navigate the brain changes they are experiencing. Eating a well-balanced diet, exercising and getting enough sleep will also help adolescents navigate this sometimes upsetting time.
Materials: Review this video for background: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzyXGUCngoU&t=57s (from beginning to 3:40)
Study.com: https://study.com/academy/lesson/g-stanley-hall-storm-stress-in-adolescence.html (if you have an account)
Stressor cards (final page of lesson)
Time Required: 40 minutes; 10 minutes to review stressor cards to determine which ones you might use.
Students individually write down things that put them in a “bad mood.” (This could be assigned as homework before class.) After a brief discussion of the difference between mood and mental health/illness, they rank order stressors and determine the ways to help deal with those stressors.
Logbook Activity. Students individually write down things that put them in a “bad mood.” (This could be assigned as homework for the previous night.) Have them share with their group. Discuss the difference between being in a bad mood vs having poor mental health. What are the factors that contribute to “bad mood” and how are they different from anxiety and depression?
Students will use the Situation cards to rank stressful situations according to their perspectives. Students then share their rankings with others. (Optional: rankings could be collected and the most stressful situations shared with the class.)
Students will use the stress reduction list to choose their top three strategies for reducing stress.
Kürzi. Students will use Kürzi to play the Stressy Guess mini game and determine which stress reduction strategies are best for reducing stress. After students pick their choice, the game will reveal which option was considered relaxing or stressful to Kürzi.
After playing have students answer the following question:
How do the decisions you make within the game play of Kürzi affect the mood bar?
See Activity 1 in Classroom Activities.
Mental health: includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.
Mental illness: is common in the United States. Nearly one in five U.S. adults live with a mental illness (51.5 million in 2019). Mental illnesses include many different conditions that vary in degree of severity, ranging from mild to moderate to severe.
What is mental health? How do we become healthy mentally? What is the difference between a bad mood and mental issues? What situations do you find to be most stressful? What can you do to reduce stress?
Mental health and mental health impairment are far more common than we’d like to admit. Unfortunately, adolescents are vulnerable to mental illness due to the changing landscape of their development through puberty and into adulthood. Half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14 and 75% by age 24. Suicide is the #1 cause of death for adolescents and young adults.
Read this article for facts about adolescents and mental health: America’s mental health crisis (and how animals can help), https://www.certapet.com/emotional-support-animals-and- mental-health/.
Stress in adolescence might be triggered by situations around these topics: academic/school-related stress; social stress; family discord; world events; traumatic events; and significant life changes.
Stress is one of the most common experiences in everyone’s lives.
“Stress is a feeling of being tense, overwhelmed, worn out, or exhausted. A small amount of stress can be motivating, but too much stress makes even small tasks seem daunting. Sometimes stress is the accumulation of many small hassles, while other times it is the result of major life changes or long-term problems.”
Stress can have effects on your heart rate and on your long term health. Managing stress is an important skill to master!
Managing stressors is sometimes difficult. “Stress is emotional pressure. Stress causes chemical changes in the body that can raise blood pressure, heart rate, and blood sugar levels. It may also lead to feelings of frustration, anxiety, anger, or depression.”
Here are some people with careers who may be able to help you deal with stressors: teacher; school counselor; social worker; mental health counselor/therapist; psychologist; school nurse; religious leader (pastor, minister, reverend, priest, clergy, rabbi, elder, etc.)
Here are some additional tips that may help you lower your stress level: Laughter - watch a funny video or movie; Chew gum; Get a house plant - caring for plants has been shown to help people feel more comfortable, soothed, and natural; Relaxing/meditation techniques/routines - yoga, stretching; Smells that stimulate your olfactory system (i.e. essential oils); Listening to music; singing along; Go for a walk; Play with a pet; Write in a journal; Spend time with friends; Leisure activities; Play a game; Read a book; Take a break from the activity you are in; Spend time in nature; Eat a healthy meal/ snack; Exercise; or Talk about problems with a trusted friend/ adult.
Other Mental Health Resources