Theme: Health, fitness, lifestyles
Lexical area: Sports, recreational activities, frequency adverbs
Cross curricular links: Personal and social education
Instructions for language assistants in italics.
Warning If any of your students have health problems you may want to adapt these materials before you use them.
Introduce this topic by writing couch potato on the board. Pre teach this expression if necessary. Does anyone know what it means? What types of behaviour could be described as lazy? Students can complete their questionnaire individually and/or in pairs. Do a quick round up of their responses around the class. Who watches the most TV? who walks the most? Anticipate the meaning of the words fit/unfit/sedentary.
1. Questionnaire : How active are you?
This first task gets students to think in a non judgemental way about their own lifestyles and will provide material for them to reflect on in later activities. You could get the students to interview each other in pairs and try to decide which has the most active lifestyle.
Task 1 How active are you?
1. How often do you walk more than a kilometre?
- Every day
- Once a week
- Once or twice a month
- Very rarely
2. When was the last time you took any form of physical exercise? (swimming, running, dancing)
- Last week
- Last month
- A long time ago
- I can’t remember
3. Tick any of the following activities if you do them regularly:
- Watching TV
- Playing team games (football, rugby)
- Watching team games
- Playing computer games
- Surfing the net
- Walking in the countryside
- Listening to music in your room
- Playing outside/in the garden/in the street
- Going to a gym
- Texting your friends
2. Your health
This task follows on from the previous one and gets students to look more closely at which activities are healthy. You can get the students to do this in pairs or small groups.
Task 2 Your health
Can you calculate the number of hours you spend on the activities per day or per week? (e.g. I spend 2 hours a day cycling to school and one hour a day watching TV).
- Which of the activities in the questionnaire might be good for your heart?
- Which activities can be called sedentary?
- Give other examples of sedentary activities.
Lead in to this activity by using the examples in the text. Is Ben more active than his mother? Why not ? Are you allowed to walk back alone from school or stations? Were your parents or grandparents allowed more freedom outside? Elicit examples round the class for their grandparents before they work in pairs or groups.
Task 3 Reading
Read the text and answer the questions.
- How does your lifestyle compare to British teenagers?
- Are they more active than you?
A generation of couch potatoes
Lots of teenagers have posters of their sports hero on their bedroom wall. But do they follow the healthy examples set by these athletes? British parents are worried that young people are not as fit and healthy as in the past. Why is this?
According to the British Heart Foundation, 13 to 15 year olds are spending too much time doing sedentary activities such as watching TV or playing computer games. A special report describes a generation of couch potatoes , young people sitting around at home, growing up in their bedrooms, travelling by car and in serious danger of heart disease as they get older. Is this their fault ? Are young people lazy?
Many parents don’t allow their children to play outside or walk to school by themselves. “ I ring my Dad on my mobile and he picks me up from the station. It’s 10 minutes walk from home but he thinks it is dangerous”, says 14 year old Carrie. Some teenagers blame their over protective parents for making them unfit. It is certainly becoming more difficult to encourage young people to have an active life and protect their hearts. In recent years schools have spent less time on sports. “My Mum did lots of hockey and netball at school but we didn’t have time for that this year because we had so many exams to prepare”, says Ben 16.
4. Talk about lifestyles in your country
This task gets the students thinking about their lives and the lives of their grandparents. You could start by using one of the headings and giving some examples about yourself and your grandparents. Then get the students into small groups to continue the activity. Finish with some open class discussion. You could base this on the statement 'Our grandparents had better lives.' and see how many agree or disagree.
Task 4 Talk about lifestyles in your country
How does your lifestyle compare to your grandparents’ lives? Has anything changed? Discuss these topics:
- Spare time activities
- Physical activities
5. Do a fitness survey
Give guidance on questions using the 2 models in the questionnaire (1). Elicit further examples and put prompts on the board. Feed in more adverbs (sometimes, not often, hardly ever) and practice time expressions like twice a week, once a month etc. Each pair can think of 1 question. Put all the class questions on the board. Students use their questions to interview each other. Be aware that this activity could last a long time and you need to hold a feedback session to assess the results. Do they think their class is fit?
Task 5 Do a fitness survey
Make a survey for your class to measure fitness levels. Ask questions using:
- How often do you .....?
- When was the last time you .....?
6. Fitness campaign
Elicit a couple of suggestions before groups/pairs start. Artistic students could design a poster to encourage a more active lifestyle or to raise awareness of keeping your heart healthy. Ask the class if there are adverts in their country to encourage healthy habits/diet. Are they effective? This discussion is best with higher level groups.
Task 6 Fitness campaign
Think of 4 ways to encourage young people in your town/area to improve their fitness.
- How can you encourage a more active lifestyle at home and at school?
- Use expressions such as:
- 'I think we should;
- It might be a good idea to..;
- Why don’t we'.
- Use expressions such as:
7. Discussion: Attitudes towards lifestyles and healthy living
In this task students have the opportunity to compare their own beliefs with those of the statements. You could put students into pairs and tell one to argue 'for' and the other to argue 'against' each of the statements or they could just defend their own opinions. If you prefer you could do this as an open class debate.
Task 7 Attitudes towards lifestyles and healthy living
Do you agree or disagree with these statements?
- Young people are naturally fit and healthy and don’t need much exercise
- Eating fast food is OK if you don’t eat it every day
- Older people always say negative things about teenagers’ habits
- Sport is good fun
- Teenagers don’t have enough time to do sports because they have too much homework
- Schools should make all students do at least 2 hours of PE a week
- Can you add 2 statements?
- Do your friends agree with you?
This site contains some information about kids' health
By Clare Lavery