Hello, Guest!

Lesson Plan

Your Genes: Your Future by Discovery Education

Course, Subject

Health, Health, Physical Education, and Family and Consumer Sciences

Grade Levels

Intermediate, 6th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade


Two class periods


Students will

  • review healthy behaviors;
  • choose one of their own behaviors they'd like to change or improve; and
  • write a letter to themselves pledging to make that change, detailing why it's important to their health and outlining how they might enact the change.


  • Computer with Internet access
  • Print and online resources about healthy behaviors (exercise) and dangerous and unhealthy behaviors (smoking, taking drugs, drinking alcohol)


  1. After watching the video, ask students: How would you describe a healthy person? Write their answers on the board. Possible answers include
  • exercises often,
  • eats healthy foods,
  • doesn't eat a lot of junk food,
  • doesn't do drugs, and
  • talks about their problems with someone.
  1. Ask students to write down an aspect of their lifestyle that they'd like to change or improve-for example, "eat a healthier diet" or "get more exercise." Then, have them to list one or two specific ways they could make that change-for example, "eat five fruits and vegetables every day" or "take walks after school, at least three times a week."
  2. Explain that they're going to research the lifestyle aspect they'd like to change and then create an action plan in the form of a letter to themselves.
  3. Once students have chosen a lifestyle aspect to change, give them this list of questions to address in their letter:
  • What aspect of your health would you like to improve?
  • Why is this change important to your health? What could happen if you don't make this change?
  • What behavior do you need to modify? Explain one or two specific behavior changes you can make.
  • Imagine how changing this habit would improve your life.
  1. Have students use print and online resources in their research. These Web sites contain helpful information:

Food and Fitness
TeensHealth: Food and Fitness

Discovery Health: Nutrition Center

USDA: The Food Guide Pyramid

Dole: 5 a Day

Smoking, Drugs and Alcohol
TeensHealth: Drugs and Alcohol

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency: Facts and Information

Discovery Health: Diseases and Conditions Encyclopedia: Depression

Teen Health: Depression

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance: Depression

  1. Because students' letters may be personal, you shouldn't share them with the class. Instead, ask students to pull a few lines or a short paragraph that they believe might motivate another student wishing to change the same habit. Tell them that these quotes will be anonymously posted on a "healthy habits" board.


Use the following three-point rubric to evaluate students' work during this lesson.

  • Three points: Students were highly engaged in class discussions; wrote a detailed, thorough letter answering all of the questions provided.
  • Two points: Students participated in class discussions; wrote a satisfactory letter answering most of the questions provided.
  • One point: Students participated minimally in class discussions; wrote a simplistic letter answering few or none of the questions provided.


Access this resource at:

Your Genes: Your Future


Definition: Physiological dependence on a drug
Context: An addiction to drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes can be very dangerous and difficult to treat.

Definition: A medical condition that leads to intense, prolonged feelings of sadness or despair
Context: A person suffering from depression may lose interest in things they enjoy, feel tired or irritable, or experience a change in appetite.

Definition: The food and drink that a person consumes; a balanced diet is based on the scientific principles that healthful foods and appropriate nutrients must be consumed each day.
Context: Fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet.

Definition: Substances, such as alcohol, nicotine, marijuana, and cocaine, which are unhealthy, often illegal, and can lead to addiction
Context: Although alcohol and nicotine are legal drugs, they can be just as dangerous as illegal drugs like marijuana and heroin.

Food Guide Pyramid
Definition: A visual representation of the number of recommended daily servings in each of the six food groups
Context: According to the Food Guide Pyramid, people should eat two to three servings of dairy foods, like milk or cheese, every day.

Definition: Substances, including proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, found in foods that people need to stay healthy
Context: Eat a variety of foods to get the nutrients you need to stay healthy.

Definition: A poisonous substance derived from tobacco; the substance that causes addiction to cigarettes
Context: When people smoke cigarettes, nicotine enters their bloodstream.

Definition: The dried leaves of the plant Nicotiana tabacum or related species
Context: Tobacco, used in cigarettes and chew, contains the poisonous substance nicotine.

Content Provider

Discovery Education

Discovery Education offers a breadth and depth of digital media content that is immersive, engaging and brings the world into the classroom to give every student a chance to experience fascinating people, places, and events. All content is aligned to state standards, can be aligned to custom curriculum, and supports classroom instruction regardless of the technology platform.

Whether looking for a digital media library service, an implementation to help you transition your classroom to a 21st century environment or to move completely to replace textbooks with digital resources, Discovery Education offers a continuum of solutions to meet your district's specific needs. In addition, we offer real-time assessment services and a variety of professional development to ensure effective implementation in the classroom. You know your needs. We know our services. Together we can create an effective solution.

And, add the vast number of additional classroom instruction opportunities available such as virtual experiences, compelling Discovery talent, free lesson plans and materials, and a variety of contests and challenges and with Discovery Education teachers are truly able to give students opportunities to soar beyond the traditional textbook for endless possibilities.

Credit: Joy Brewster, curriculum writer, editor, and consultant

Data is Loading...