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Mental Health Unit Plan


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Title: True Life “Death and Dying”

A: Brainstorm/Discussion

B: Media and Death

C: Death in Different Cultures

D: Marble Exercise

E: Closure


Context of Lesson Plan:

This lesson will be the fourth lesson taught in a 5-day unit on mental health. It will be taught after depression and before stress management.



-Variety of Marbles

- Library


Rationale for Materials:

The marbles will be used during an activity when the students describe a time when the lost a special person or pet. We will use the library to access computers so the students will be able to look up information on death in different cultures.


Student Learning Objectives:

  1. Cognitive- Students will explain how different cultures morn or cope with death by accessing information using the Internet during the time spent in the library.
  2. Affective- Students will share own personal feelings and experiences on a death or time period of sadness during a group discussion.



I will assess my first objective by having the students present the information they have learned about the different cultures to the class. I will assess my second goal by asking for volunteers to share their experiences with the class. I will not force students to participate because this is a “touchy” subject.


National Health Education Standards:

Standard 1- Students will comprehend concepts related to health promotion and diseases prevention to enhance health.

Standard 2- Students will analyze the influences of family, peers, culture, media, technology, and other factors on health behaviors.

Standard 3-Students will demonstrate the ability to access valid information and products and services to enhance health.

Standard 7- Student will demonstrate the ability to practice health-enhancing behaviors and avoid or reduce risk.


Performance Indicators for Standard 1

  1. Analyze the relationship between healthy behaviors and personal health
  2. Describe the interrelationship of emotional, intellectual, physical, and social health in adolescence
  3. Analyze how the environment impacts personal health
  4. Describe how family history can impact personal health.

6. Explain how appropriate health care can promote personal health


Performance Indicators for Standard 2

  1. Examine how the family influences the health of adolescents.
  2. Describe the influence of culture on health beliefs, practices, and behaviors.
  3. Describe how peers influence healthy and unhealthy behaviors

5. Analyze how messages form media influence health behaviors.


Performance Indicators for Standard 3

  1. Analyze the validity of health information, products, and services.


Performance Indicators for Standard 7

1. Explain the importance of assuming responsibility for personal health behaviors

2. Demonstrate healthy practices and behaviors that will maintain or improve the health of self and others.

3.Demonstrate behaviors to avoid or reduce health risks to self and others.


Rationale for National Health Standards

Standard 1-By having the students comprehend concepts relating to death and dying they will be better prepared for when it occurs in their life.

Standard 2- by understanding how internal and external factors will affect the students’ life they will better understand how they cope and see death and dying.

Standard 3- by using the Internet and technology the students will be able to learn new information about how different cultures deal with death. It is important for students to understand that everyone deals with death in a different way.


NYS Standards and Assessment:

NYSHE1- Students will understand human growth and development and recognize the relationship between behaviors and health development. They will understand ways to promote health and prevent disease and will demonstrate and practice positive health behaviors.

NYSHE 3- Students will understand the influence of culture, media, and technology in making decisions about personal and community health issues. They will know about and use valid health information, products and services. Students will advocate for healthy families and communities.


Key Concepts Addressed:

  1. Death is a natural process that will occur in life.
  2. It is ok to be sad or upset when a death occurs in your life.
  3. Everyone deals with death differently.


Skill Addressed:

The skill of self-reflection was done when they picked the marble out of the box to describe a time in their life they suffered a death. Another skill used was self-management. It important for students to be able to maintain their emotions and control their feelings.


Activity and Procedures:

Activity A: Brainstorm/Discussion

  1. I will inform the students that the topic will be death and dying. I will then ask questions such as has anyone died that you know, how did it make you feel, how did you cope with the loss.


Rationale for Activity A:

By doing this activity it will slowly ease the students into this topic. Also by asking the questions it will get the students thinking about death. Also I will be able to see how comfortable the students are talking about this topic.


Activity B: Media and Death

  1. In this activity students will get into groups and think about how the media portrays death. There will be 4 groups each assigned a different aspect of the media. They will be movies, television shows, news, and commercials. They will be able to analyze different themes and ideas that the media has on portraying death. I will give them an example such as television shows may create jokes or make fun of death. Each group will then present their ideas to the class.


Rationale for Activity B:

This is a good activity to identify many external factors that may affect a students’ outlook on death and dying. Also this activity will get the students thinking abstractly about the media.


Activity C: Library

We will then go to the library for 15 minutes. They students will be broken up into 4 groups. They will be assigned different countries. They will look up information on how people from that country deal, cope, or celebrate death. I will give them the example of Mexicans and how they celebrate death with the Day of the Dead. We will then go back to the classroom and each group will present the information they have.


Rationale for Activity C:

I think this is a great way for students to learn how different people cope/deal with death in their life.  Also I think that there is a lack of multicultural learning in schools and this would be a good way for students to learn something new and different about their fellow classmates and friends.


Activity D: Marble Reflection

In this activity students will pick out a marble that represents a loss in their life. I will inform the students that it can be a friend, family member, or a pet. I will give them a minute to think quietly about how the marble reminds them of their loss. I will then ask for volunteers to share their experience with the class.


Rationale for Activity D:

This is a good activity for the students to reflect on a time of loss that occurred in their life. Also this activity will create trust among the students. They can relate this activity to decision-making, self-management, and self-esteem.


Activity E: Closure

I will express my thanks to the students that volunteered. I will then go over some key concepts that were covered during class. I will also mention was to help cope with a death in one’s life such as talking to a friend or family member, journaling, and reflecting on the good times you had with that person or pet.


Rationale for Activity E:

I will go over the main points of the lesson. I will check for understanding by asking the students questions. I will also talk about how people cope when a person passes away. I will make this the last part of class because it is the most important and I want the students to remember it.




When Somebody Dies



Ann Kolodji





Telljohann, S., Symons, C., & Pateman, B.(2007).  Health education elementary and middle school applications.





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