By Trisha Jensen
Unit Summary: This unit is about community helpers and the responsibilities that various community helpers have. This unit specifically focuses on three community helpers: dentists, police officers, and firefighters. The purpose of this unit is to help first graders learn about some community helpers in their own community and what each of those community helpers do. The unit incorporates a variety of hands on activities and experiments to help students learn about community helpers.
Here is one of my favorite lesson plans from my unit. It is a lesson on dentists and how dentists help us keep our teeth healthy. The lesson also helps students learn about their teeth and how to keep their teeth healthy.
- Students will be able to identify the various things that a dentist does.
- Students will understand the importance of brushing their teeth.
- Students will know how to brush their teeth properly. Students will demonstrate this knowledge by brushing their own teeth.
- Students will be able to identify what foods are healthy for their teeth and what foods are not healthy for their teeth.
- Students will be able to identify a variety of different things that they can do to keep their teeth healthy. They will demonstrate this knowledge by making a tooth necklace that tells how they can keep their teeth healthy.
- Ask the students what they know about dentists.
- Ask the students what they know about teeth and taking good care of their teeth.
- Display toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss etc.
- Read the book "My Dentist My Friend" to the students.
- After reading the book talk to the students about the dentist and what the dentist does. Explain to the students that the dentist helps us to keep our teeth healthy. Talk to the students about different ways that we can keep our teeth healthy.
- Explain to the students that they are going to do an experiment and that the experiment is going to go on for two days.
- Hard boil enough eggs for each student to have one. Get clear plastic cups and write each of the student's names on one of the cups. Pour a different substance (liquid) into each of the student's cups. Some of the different substances (liquids) that you can use are orange juice, Coca-Cola, milk and water. Have the students place their eggs into their cups. (Different spots will appear on the eggs depending on what they were soaked in. Brown spots should appear on the orange juice and soda shells. The eggs need to soak in the different substances for at least 24 hours.)
- Tell the children that we are going to pretend that the egg represents their tooth. Explain to the students that they are going to leave their eggs in their cups overnight. Explain to them that tomorrow when they come to school they will have the opportunity to look at and explore their eggs to see what happened to them.
- Read "Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist" to the students.
- Talk about the sister bear's fears and brother bear's visit. Did they brush well? Why do you think they got the good results that they did? How should you brush your teeth and what is the proper way?
- Review with the students what a dentist does (make a list on the board of the students answers). Also review with the students ways that they can keep their teeth healthy. Talk to the students about foods they eat that are healthy and unhealthy for their teeth.
- Have a variety of different foods taped up onto the board. Divide the board into two columns: one column labeled "Healthy Foods For Teeth," the other column labeled "Unhealthy Foods For Teeth."
- Have the students come up one-by-one and pick a food and place it in the category it belongs in. Repeat this process until all of the foods have been placed into the category in which they belong.
- Next have three centers set up in the classroom. (You will need to have two parent volunteers or two aides to help with this part of the lesson).
- After the discussion divide the students up into three groups.
- At table number one have the students explore the eggs in their cups.
- Explain to the students that the eggs represent their teeth. Explain to the students that the spots on the eggs represent foods that are bad for their teeth. The eggs that were soaked in Coca-Cola and orange juice will have spots on them. Explain that the spots also represent cavities and what happens to our teeth if we do not brush them. Talk to the students about cavities and the importance of brushing their teeth at least two times a day.
- Explain to the students that the eggs without spots represent foods that are good for their teeth. The eggs that were soaked in milk and water should not have spots on them. Explain that these eggs also represent healthy teeth (teeth with no cavities) and teeth that have been brushed on a regular basis.
- At table number two the students will make homemade toothpaste. They will also be showed the proper way to brush their teeth. The students will each be given a brand new toothbrush that they can keep for themselves. The students will be given the chance to practice brushing their teeth (the proper way) with their new toothbrush and the toothpaste that they make.
- To make homemade toothpaste, you combine 4 teaspoons of baking soda, 1 teaspoon of salt, a small amount of peppermint flavoring and a small amount of food coloring. (**Note this part of the lesson could also be used as a mini math lesson because students will be measuring ingredients and working with numbers).
- At the third table students will make a healthy tooth necklace.
- Each student will be given a drawing of the shape of a tooth. Each student will have to cut out their tooth.
- On the tooth shaped paper each child will write something that they can do to keep their teeth healthy.
- After the students have finished writing on their tooth paper, punch a hole in the top of the tooth and put a piece of string through the hole. This makes a healthy tooth necklace for the student to keep and to wear around his or her neck.
- The books "Berenstain Bears Visit The Dentist" and "My Dentist My Friend."
- Hard boiled eggs
- Salt, baking powder, peppermint flavoring and food coloring (ingredients to make the toothpaste).
- A toothbrush for each student to have and to take home with them.
- Orange Juice, Coca Cola, Soda, Water, and Milk
- String, scissors, pencils, and copies of a tooth (materials for the students to make their tooth necklaces with).
- I will be able to see if the students understood the lesson by watching how they brush their teeth.
- I will also be able to tell if they understood the lesson by reading what they wrote on their tooth papers about keeping their teeth healthy.
- In addition, I will be able to tell if the students understood the lesson by watching them as they place the foods into the healthy or unhealthy categories.
**Ideas for the lesson were adapted from Camilla Orr at www.perpetualpreschool.com & from Amy at www.lessonplanspage.com
For more information about resources and lesson plans used in this unit please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.