Feather Fun


Pass out one feather to each student.

Have the students spread out so they each have their own space to work.

Tell the students to hold the feather high in the air and let it go. Have them watch how it slowly and softly floats to the ground.

Now challenge the kids to the following feather tests. Have them hold the feather up in the air as high as is possible again and let it go.

As it floats down, see if they can catch it or have it land on the following body parts:

  • back of the hand
  • elbow or forearm
  • shoe or foot
  • lay on floor and have it land on your back
  • knee
  • nose
  • any other body part.

Additional Feather Activities

  • The feathers could be used to represent the colors of the five food groups:
    • orange for grains
    • red for fruits
    • green for vegetables
    • blue for milk and dairy products
    • purple for protein.

Spread the feathers out on the floor. When you say “go,” have the students run to the feathers, grab one, and then quickly go to a corner or area of the room that represents that food group. The students with the green feathers could group in one corner and so on. The students with black, brown or yellow feathers could all represent the fats/oils group.

  • Follow up this activity by having the students think of a healthful snack or food item that is the same color as the feather or think of a food item that is from the food category that their feather represents.

Sports Charades


Write names of various sports on pieces of paper (e.g. Basketball, soccer, bowling, baseball, swimming, etc.) Depending on the number of students, consider writing the same sport name on more than one piece of paper.

Lay the pieces of paper in a row on one end of a gym, large open space or an outdoor area.

Divide students into teams of 6 to 10.

One player (per team) at a time runs to the other end of the room or outdoor area, grabs a piece of paper and runs back to their team to act out the sport. (Remember, don’t let your teammates see what it says on the paper.)

When the team answers correctly, the next player runs and grabs a piece of paper and runs back to act out the sport. This continues until each team member has had a turn.

The team who finished first wins. This game is a good way for students to learn about a variety of sports.

The Concussion Conundrum

Lesson Overview

This lesson helps young people understand the basic concepts of concussions. Youth will discuss brain injuries and complete a KWL chart (already Know, Want to know, what I Learned) to list facts about concussions. A hands-on learning activity gives young people a chance to experience what living with a brain injury may be like. Finally, the youth will reflect on what they learned about brain injuries and how to prevent them.

Instructor Notes

Before facilitating this lesson, you may want to review the following information about concussions. These facts can be shared with young people during your discussions.

Young people who play sports or are active other ways, such as riding bikes or playing on the playground, are at risk for concussion. This is a blow to the head that affects how the brain works. It is a form of brain injury. You can’t see it but it causes changes in a person’s behavior, thinking or physical actions.

Your brain is a soft organ that is protected by spinal fluid and your skull. Normally the spinal fluid acts as a cushion between brain and skull. When your head or body is hit hard enough, however, your brain can get knocked against your skull and be concussed. Signs of a concussion can occur right away or hours or even days after the injury occurs. It’s possible to have a concussion even if you never lose consciousness. Signs and symptoms of a concussion can include:

  •   headache
  •   problems with memory
  •   upset stomach (nausea) or vomiting
  •   balance issues or dizziness
  •   double or blurry vision
  •   being sensitive to light or sounds
  •   feeling hazy, foggy or groggy
  •   problems concentrating
  •   confusion
  •   not “feeling right”
  •   seizures.

Long-term problems are possible if a person has more than one concussion, or is re-injured before the brain fully heals. That’s why rest, seeking medical treatment, and following a doctor’s instructions are all important. Even better is to prevent concussions in the first place. The Centers for Disease Control recommends these prevention methods:

  1. Wear a seat belt every time you drive or ride in a motor vehicle.
  2. Wear a helmet that is fitted and maintained properly when:
    • riding a bike, motorcycle, snowmobile, scooter, or all-terrain vehicle
    • playing a contact sport, such as football, ice hockey, lacrosse or boxing
    • using in-line skates or riding a skateboard
    • batting and running bases in baseball or softball
    • riding a horse
    • skiing, sledding or snowboarding.
  3. Ensure that during athletic games and practices, you:
    • use the right protective equipment (should be fitted and maintained properly in order to provide the expected protection)
    • follow the safety rules and the rules of the sport
    • practice good sportsmanship
    • do not return to play with a known or suspected concussion until you have been evaluated and given permission by an appropriate health care professional.
  4. Make living areas safer by:
    • installing window guards to prevent people falling out of open windows
    • keeping stairs clear of clutter
    • securing rugs and using rubber mats in bathtubs
    • not playing on fire escapes or on other unsafe platforms.


Introduce the lesson by discussing concussions, how they occur, and why young people need to be aware of this type of brain injury. Use the information about concussions in the Instructor Notes above.

Ask if anyone in the class has ever had a concussion. If so, ask if they are willing to share a little bit about what that was like.

Activity: Concussion KWL

Hand out the KWL Student Activity Sheet. Invite the youth to fill out the worksheet with a list of things that they know and things they still have questions about on this topic. On a KWL chart, full sentences are not necessary; the ideas are more are important. Suggest they use bullet points or numbers to make their lists easier to read.

Activity: Experiencing Altered Senses

In advance of the lesson set up the stations as described below.

Explain that you have some stations set up with activities that are simulations of some of the possible effects of a brain injury such as concussion. Divide the young people into groups and have them move through the stations before holding a discussion at the end:

    1. Sensory loss: Sometimes people who have a brain injury don’t feel things the same way anymore, either temporarily or even permanently. Simulate this by putting common items in a bucket filled with rice. Have young people put a thick rubber glove on their dominant hand and reach into the rice to feel the items. Can they identify what they are?[1]
    2. Vision impairment: Smear the lenses of several pairs of goggles with petroleum jelly. Have the youth do a variety of regular classroom activities such as sharpen a pencil, copy a sentence off the board, write their names on a worksheet, walk to the bathroom and so on while wearing the goggles.[2]
    3. Loss of taste: Have several types of snacks available. Have each young person choose one of the types of snacks to taste. The first taste should be with their noses plugged. Have them write down a few words to describe the taste (such as sweet, salty, spicy). Then have them taste the same snack with their nose unplugged and again write down a description.
    4. Sensory hypersensitivity: Give the youth a math worksheet that’s at their level. Have them complete the worksheet while wearing headphones blaring loud music.

After the youth have completed the stations, reconvene the group a debrief using the follow questions as guides:

    1. What was it like to do those different things? Describe the experience as well as your feelings as you trying to accomplish them.
    2. Were some of them more difficult than others? Why?
    3. Were some of them more frustrating or upsetting than others? Why?
    4. What surprised you?
    5. Did you know that having a concussion could cause these kinds of problems?

[1] Adapted from Sharon Thorson, Injury Prevention Specialist, and the Denver Osteopathic Foundation, and from the “Brain Injury Empathy Experience” of Mapleton Center for Rehabilitation.
[2] ibid.


To conclude the lesson, ask the young people what they now know about how to prevent concussions. (Discuss and make sure they touch on all of the information mentioned above.)

Ask the youth to complete the last section of the KWL chart on the student activity sheet, listing things they learned about concussions.

Continuing the Conversation

Hand out the Healthy Families Newsletter in English or Spanish, which also includes these tips, so that families can continue discussing brain health and brain injuries at home.

Related Health Powered Kids Blog(s)

Additional Instructor Resources

Information about Concussion in Sports from CDC.gov

Brain Boost

Lesson Overview

This lesson helps young people understand what they need to do to protect and help grow their brains. They will learn about activities and habits that help their brains develop and function at their best.


The brain is a very important organ. Without it, nothing else in a body can function. Scientists are learning more all the time about how brains grow and develop, and how we can best care for them.

Guide young people through the Brain Basics online learning activity. The main points are also listed below.

  1. Nutrition: Brains need lots of fuel. What you eat can have short-term impacts on things like concentration and focus, as well as longer-term effects on how your brain grows and develop. A balanced diet that includes lots of whole foods rich in vitamins and minerals, healthy fats, and proteins, is your best bet. It’s also important for kids to to eat throughout the day…especially breakfast.
  2. Sleep: Specific sleep needs vary, but children and teenagers need more than adults do. Some general guidelines are:
    • ages 3 to 10: 10 to 12 hours each day
    • ages 11 to 12: about 10 hours each day
    • teenagers (ages 13 to 17): about nine hours each day.
  3. Stimulating thinking activities: People of all ages need to use their brains in lots of different ways to keep them sharp and effective. This means mixing it up with different activities that involve logic and problem solving, concentration and memory, reading, making plans, being silly and creative, and working hard on something.
  4. Physical activities: Exercise and movement are critical. Playing sports, free play, running, hiking, jumping, skipping…all of this and more promote health brain development.
  5. Mindfulness/relaxation/rest: Even little kids can get worried and stressed out. Too much of that isn’t good for how we feel in the moment or how our brains change over time. Everyone needs to find ways to quiet and calm their minds. Learn more through other Health Powered Kids lessons or the Change to Chill web site: changetochill.org.
  6. Protection: Our skulls, which surround our brains, are fairly hard and tough and do a good job of keeping our brains safe. But our brains are actually pretty soft and they can be sensitive and sometimes when we’re doing more rough activities, like biking, skiing, or skateboarding, it’s good to have even more protection than usual. And if our brains get injured, we need to rest and following a doctor’s instructions for healing.

Activity: Brain Drawing Worksheet

  1. Hand out the Brain Basics Drawing Worksheet (see What You Need).
  2. Explain that our brains are very important because they keep the rest of our bodies working, including things we don’t ever have to think about like our lungs breathing and our hearts beating. While we’re sleeping we don’t realize it but even then our brains are working hard to keep everything running smoothly.
  3. Explain that since our brains take such good care of us, it’s important for us to take care of them. Point out the sections on the worksheet and say that they each represent things we can do to take care of our brains. As a class, brainstorm some ideas for the sections. In the Protect Your Brain section, for example, young people could draw a picture of themselves wearing a helmet while riding a bike. For the “What Else?” category, choose another method that was discussed in the Brain Basics online learning activity, such as sleeping, meditating, or doing stimulating thinking activities. Have the youth draw pictures of things that help boost their brains.

Activity: Concentration Game

After giving students a bit of time to work on their activity sheets, play a game of concentration. There are lots of variations of this game, but here’s one: Players sit in a circle cross-legged and take a number each, starting with number one.

Students start chanting the following while slapping their thighs twice then clapping their hands twice:

Concentration (slap slap clap clap)

Are you ready? (slap slap clap clap)

If – so – (slap slap clap clap)

Let’s – go! (slap slap clap clap)

Then player one, continuing the rhythm, says their own number twice followed by another number in the circle.

For example: 1, 1, 4, 4 (slap slap clap clap)

Player 4 then does the same, starting with their own number and following with someone else’s:

4, 4, 7, 7 (slap slap clap clap)

Anybody who makes a mistake or doesn’t keep the rhythm is out but remains in the circle, making it more difficult for the other players, who must remember not to use the numbers of the people who are out.


After playing the game for a while, explain that games like concentration help your brain by forcing it to do more than one thing at a time (make your hands move, remember the pattern, think of a number, say and number, and so on). Ask if anyone has examples or ideas of other things that could help strengthen your brain. If anyone has an idea of a game give it a try if you have time.

If the youth did not have time to finish the activity sheets, encourage to finish working on them at home.

Continuing the Conversation

Hand out the Healthy Families Newsletter in English or Spanish so that families can continue discussing brain health at home.


Skin: Caring for the Largest Organ

Lesson Overview

This lesson helps young people understand the basic structure, function, and care of skin. Youth will be introduced to the topic with an online interactive quiz. They will read about the skin, including tips for its care, then get creative by designing products and giving persuasive presentations.


This lesson focuses on three aspects of skin: its basic structure, the jobs it does for our bodies and how to care for it. You can introduce the topic by having young people take the Online Quiz either individually or as a larger group. Discuss the answers. Were there any answers that surprised you?

Give each of the young people a copy of the Skin Handout. Review the diagram and headings. If time permits, youth may want to read this before starting the activity below.


  1. In small groups, invent new skin-care products and try to “sell” them to the rest of the class. The youth can do this as a written advertisement (preferably with some art…like a magazine ad), a pretend radio ad (spoken with no actions) or a pretend video/television ad (incorporating actions). Be sure to include:
    • a description of your product (a cream, a cleanser, or something less common…be creative!)
    • the problem it solves
    • why people should buy it.
  2. Young people do skits or presentations for others about skin health and skin care. Tell them the goal is be persuasive…to convince their peers to do their best to keep their skin healthy. If they have access to the Internet you can allow them to look up additional information.


Skin health and skin care will always be an important part of our lives. Encourage young people to take the handout and newsletter home as references they can keep and perhaps share with other family members.

Continuing the Conversation

Hand out the Healthy Families Newsletter in English or Spanish, which also includes these tips, so that families can continue discussing skin health at home.

Additional Instructor Resources

Listen Hear! All About the Ear

Lesson Overview

This lesson will introduce young people to the structure of their ears and how they work through a diagram and by building a model ear drum. The youth will play a listening game to learn more about their hearing and how important it is to keep their ears healthy.


Describe the three basic parts of the ear, using the Your Ears Handout as a visual guide (see What You Need). Discuss the care of each part.

The Parts of Your Ear

Outer ear: This is the part you can see. The outer ear is where sounds are collected and moved along the ear canal toward the middle ear. The middle ear is separated from the outer ear by the eardrum.

Middle ear: Vibrations from the eardrum travel through the little bones of the middle ear (ossicles) and are sent to the inner ear. The space in the middle ear is filled with air.

Inner ear: This is where the vibrations from the middle ear create nerve signals. The nerve signals send the messages to your brain that become the sounds you hear.

How to Care for the Parts of Your Ear

Outer ear: This is the only part you should clean.You can wash behind your ears and around the outside. Sometimes shampoo or soap can get stuck behind them so rinse well!

Whatever you do, don’t stick anything larger than your elbow into your ear. Even though earwax can seem kind of icky, it is normal and usually healthy. It should only be cleaned out if your doctor says it’s OK.

If you have pierced ears, be sure to keep them clean with a sterile solution or they can become infected.

Middle ear: This part can become infected. If this happens, your doctor can prescribe a medicine (such as an antibiotic) to help treat the problem.

You should never stick anything in your ear canal because the eardrum can be punctured or torn.

Inner ear: The part can also become infected and would need treatment by your doctor.

Activity: Make a model eardrum

  1. Give each young person or small group the following supplies:
    • a plastic cup. This represents the ear canal.
    • a piece of plastic wrap large enough to stretch over the lid of the cup and stay there securely. This represents the eardrum.
    • a rubber band, if using rubber bands to hold the plastic wrap in place.
  2. Give each young person or small group about 10 grains of rice or salt. This is just a visual aid to help them see what is happening to the “eardrum” (plastic wrap) when exposed to loud noises.

  3. Tell the youth to stretch the plastic wrap tightly over the cup, secure it, and place the grains of rice or salt on top. They now have model eardrums.

  4. Have the young people experiment with noisemakers to see if they can get their model eardrums to vibrate. They will know if it is working because the rice or salt will bounce around. This is a simulation of what happens when sound waves reach your eardrums. They vibrate, causing other parts of your ears to vibrate, sending signals to your brain that are processed as sounds.

  5. After a while ask for volunteers willing to make small holes in their model eardrums. Experiment with that for a while. Notice what happens. Compare those with tears to those still intact. Also compare different size tears.

  6. Discuss the experiment: What did you notice about what happened when we exposed our “eardrums” to different sounds? What happens if we poke a hole or make a tear in one of them? Does it work as well? (No, it does not; it doesn’t vibrate as much. Also, things like the grains of rice or salt can get through.) Try to imagine a hole or a tear in your own eardrum. What do you think would happen to your hearing? What about the health of your ear? (You could have temporary hearing loss or, if the tear didn’t heal, permanent hearing loss. Also, bacteria and other contaminants could get in and lead to infection.) It’s important to remember to never stick anything in your ear to clean it or for any other reason. Doctors are the only people who should put anything in your ears…they know how to do it and can do it without damage.

Activity: What’s that you say?

  1. Form a circle with one person blindfolded in the middle (can be done seated or standing).
  2. Explain that you are going to silently point to people around the circle and that when you point at someone, he or she is to say the name of the person blindfolded in the middle.
  3. The blindfolded person must then try to point in the direction of the voice and identify the name of the person who said his name.
  4. Try this experiment with the blindfolded person using both ears and then again with one hand over one of them to block the sound.
  5. Let any young person who wishes to take a turn in the middle.

After the activity, ask the young people to reflect with the following questions:

  • What is it like to try to identify where and from whom the sound is coming?
  • Do some people have a harder time with this than others? Why do you think that is?
  • Is it easier with one ear? Both ears? (Some people have a dominant ear.)


Conclude the lesson with the following discussion questions.

  • How important is it that we take good care of our ears? Why? (We function best when they are both working. They are sensitive and can be damaged.)

  • Besides keeping them clean, what can we do to protect our ears? (Wear a helmet when riding a bike or board or playing contact sports. Avoid loud noises, especially over long periods of time such as a rock concert. A good rule of thumb is that if you have to shout to hear or be heard it’s too loud. Wear earplugs if doing loud work or being in loud environments.)

Continuing the Conversation

Hand out the Healthy Families Newsletter in English or Spanish, which also includes these tips, so that families can continue discussing ear health and safety at home.

Related Health Powered Kids Blog

What’s that you say?

Additional Instructor Resources

Eye Protection

Lesson Overview

This lesson helps young people understand how their eyes work, how to keep them healthy, and ways to protect them during different activities. The topic is introduced with whole-group formative assessment questions to generate interest and discussion. Then, youth complete an activity where they learn the parts of the eye. Finally, they learn tips for taking care of their eyes.


Start with an interactive voting activity. Use the lesson for the interactive whiteboard (see What You Need) or write the questions on the board.  Let the young people vote.

1. An eyeball is about the size of:

  1. A marble
  2. A grape
  3. A tennis ball
  4. A ping pong ball (correct answer)

2. Our eyebrows are useless and just for appearance:

  1. True
  2. False (correct answer; eye brows kept moisture, like sweat, out of our eyes)

3. You can get a sunburn on your eyes.

  1. True (correct answer; You can protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses with UV protection.)
  2. False

4. Which of the following can be a sign that someone has an eye problem?

  1. Blinking or rubbing their eyes a lot
  2. Eyes looking crossed or one seems to be going the wrong way sometimes
  3. Squinting when looking at objects
  4. All of the above (correct answer)

Ask if any of the answers were suprising. Which ones? Let young people talk about any problems they’ve have with their own eyes if they volunteer that information, but keep the conversation relatively brief and focus on what they can do to keep their eyes healthy, no matter what problems they’ve had in the past.

Activity: Parts of the Eye

After the opening quiz, have the youth work in small groups to do the Eye Didn’t Know That activity on the worksheet or at the interactive whiteboard. Once the small groups have identified the parts of the eyes, discuss the answers as a large group.

Conclusion: Taking Care of your Eyes

You only have one set of eyes and they have to last you your entire life. There are several ways you can take care of your eyes that will help them work better for you now and in the future. Discuss these tips with the youth.

  1. Give your eyes a break from the screen—Our eyes need rest just like the rest of us does…when working on a computer or using other electronics take breaks every 15 minutes or so.
  2. Make sure you have good light when reading, writing, doing puzzles, or otherwise focusing closely for an extended period.
  3. Protect eyes from bright light and sun exposure. Say something like, Research is linking UV rays from the sun to eye problems. Problems range from temporary blindness to developing something called cataracts, which cause cloudy vision and can only be repaired with surgery. Buying the right kind of sunglasses can help prevent problems from UV rays. For the best protection look for at least 98 percent protection from both UVA and UVB rays. Then ask for examples of other ways to protect eyes during different activities. If not mentioned, talk about the following:
    • Outdoor cold weather sports with lots of sun exposure such as skiing or snow boarding—Sport goggles with UV protection.
    • Outdoor warm weather sports with lots of sun exposure such as sailing or other water sports
  4. Protect eyes from possible injury.
    • Swimming—Swim goggles, especially in chlorinated water
    • Contact sports such as basketball or soccer—Sport goggles if a prescription is needed
    • Shooting sports, using power tools, doing science experiments—Protective glasses or goggles
  5. Eat foods with lots of beta carotene—Ask if anyone knows of foods that contain this nutrient. Beta carotene is food in large quantities in orange foods such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and pumpkins. It helps keep your eyes strong and working well.

Continuing the Conversation 

Hand out the Healthy Families Newsletter in English or Spanish, which also includes these tips, so that families can continue discussing eye health and eye protection at home.

Related Health Powered Kids Blog

Seeing clear around eye protection

Additional Instructor Resources

Phillips Eye Institute
Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month
Children’s Eye Safety – Gear Up! Poster