Stress management is an important lifelong skill we need to encourage and develop in our students. Teenagers and “tweens” face all kinds of different stressors in their lives. Between raging hormones, pressure to fit in with peers, and over scheduling, students need to learn how to relax! Joann mentioned 3 of the activities catalogued on The Gateway that help teach students how to deal with stress and anxiety. These types of activities help students deal with the stress in their lives by teaching them ways to manage and deal with stress.
I was especially intrigued by the scientific approach to the subject taken by PBS in their Scientific American Frontiers shows and activities. Instead of simply teaching students how to decrease their stress levels, these activities for grades 5-8 help students understand what is actually happening to their body in times of stress. The explanation and exploration of the physiological effects of stress and anxiety help students understand how stress-reducing techniques can work. The multimedia activity, “Worried Sick, Temperature and Stress” involves using a thermistor and multimeter to actually experiment with temperature changes in the body in times of stress. This resource includes a printable teacher guide with answers and a link to National Science Standards and curriculum. The hands-on nature of the activity should be right at home in a middle-school science classroom, where a traditional introduction of meditation or relaxation techniques might not be well received.
“Worried Sick, Watch Your Pressure” brings even more activities to the video clip, focusing on the effects of stress on blood pressure. Students learn how to measure blood pressure and how this blood pressure can change with varying stress levels. Before they measure blood pressure, they are prepared with background information on the subject through the video clip and online research. I really like the discussion questions and extension activities included by PBS. Some of the extension activities include designing an experiment to conduct at home and writing a play about stress.
Our focus on stress this week brought me to these valuable resources, but Scientific American Frontiers has a lot more to offer educators. Start here on their website to search for topics that you can use in your class. They aren’t making new shows, but the old shows are archived on the site and can be viewed online. Each show has a quiz and a couple of science activities with teacher’s guides and numerous extension activities. Browse through the site, and maybe you’ll find something that works for you. Good luck!
~Peggy's Corner - 7/2/2010~