Year 9 PSHE: “Staying safe from COVID-19”
How we must all play our part in the fight against the pandemic.
Note to Year 9 teachers: These activities are designed to be used (1) as a single stand-alone lesson in which all three segments are used, or (2) short PSHE COVID-19 safety exercises at the end of an online subject lesson.
- If your class were given the Vitamin D homework exercise last week, start at 2; or if not move straight to 3.
- In your homework exercise, you looked at Vitamin D. Who can tell us one natural source of Vitamin D? (Get a range of suggestions from pupils.) And what about its benefits? Who wants to say something about how Vitamin D helps us? Then be specific and see if some of them have discovered the role of Vitamin D in the human immune system. Did anyone write something about COVID-19 (or Coronavirus) and Vitamin D? Give particular praise to those who made the connection.
- Show the following video, and introduce Dr John Campbell with something like, “This is a doctor whose job is to train nurses working in the NHS – the UK’s health service. We can regard his advice on this subject as very well-informed.”
For Year 9 the opening remarks in the video on the benefits of Vitamin D for the immune system are the first learning point: low levels of Vitamin D = reduced ability of the body to fight Coronavirus and other infections that attack our body. This could be written at the end of the homework task (for those who did it.)
After the first three minutes, stop the video and pick up the point he was making about skin colour determining the amount of Vitamin D received from the sun and ask students about their views on it. Then use the following research to explore the question further:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21310306 about vitamin D deficiency in US adults. This could also be discussed alongside the news that black Americans are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 (students can Google it and see various news stories about this.)
2. Testing for presence of the virus
Note: The “Testing” exercise may work well if you have an able Year 9. If not, you may like to do the Lockdown Diary activity instead (see Year 8 page). The exercse below is a cut-down version of a more developed exercise for KS4.
Testing is our window onto the pandemic and how it is spreading. Without testing we have no way of understanding the pandemic. Your task is to explore the video and the links on https://equusasinus.net/covid-19-pshe/ks4-covid-19-pshe/covid-19-links-testing/ then write developed answers to the following three questions. A developed answer could be two or three paragraphs only.
- How does testing work: in other words what is the method for identifying infected individuals?
- How does testing for COVID-19 inform our understanding of the pandemic and the risks it poses in different populations.
3. Coping with COVID-19 anxiety: mental health issues
Use the prompts in this PDF file to look at some of the issues around mental well-being as a result of the last weeks. What are the positive ways to deal with these anxieties and mental health concerns?
These are presented in the form of a poster. Discuss some of the difficulties that students and their other family members may have experienced during the time they have been unable to leave their homes.
Imagine you have been asked by your parent, who is busy teleworking at home, to talk to a younger brother or sister who is showing some signs of being unhappy. Your parent won’t be able to spend time with them until they finish work in a few hours time. Imagine the conversation you have with your younger brother or sister. What do you think they might say? What will you say to be positive and encouraging?
Write this as as dialogue (a play script). You do not need speech marks in a play script:
ME: Are you feeling OK? I haven’t see you texting your friends today! Have you fallen out with somebody, or just having an “off day”?
JUAN: It’s OK, I’m all right… It’s just all a bit strange, isn’t it?
ME: If it’s any comfort, I’m also finding it a bit weird! It’s like a bad science fiction movie, don’t you think…
Imagine the whole conversation. How do you see that talking helps? Sometimes we use social media as a way to avoid talking to our close family or friends. Why is it easier to talk on our phones?
Teachers: set appropriate boundaries if you set this as a homework task. Make sure it is an imaginary exercise to work through the student’s own anxieties, and not an invitation to your Year 9 student to try out amateur psychotherapy on a sibling!