Monkeyflowers growing at Atherton Jr/Sr High School
About seventy high school students from Atherton Jr/Sr High School are participating in a new curriculum from “Health in Our Hands (HiOH): Mystery of the Monkeyflower.” Mystery of the Monkeyflower is a 10 - 12 week, NGSS-aligned, project-based learning unit for high school lifescience. Students use a monkeyflower plant experiment and a graphic novel developed to learn how traits evolve over time through natural selection. The plant experiment is based on the research of Dr. David Lowry, plant biologist at Michigan State University, who is studying how different environments affect the development of different traits in the population of one species of monkeyflowers (Mimulus).
During their weekly visit to Ms. Lauren Jones Science class on February 23, 2022, the HiOH team observed students excited to share how they measure their plants and record the data they collect in numbers and drawings. This activity is part of Lesson 3 - How do the parts of the monkeyflower work together to keep the monkeyflower plant alive? Dr. Hildah Makori and Dr. Consuelo Morales answered students’ questions about making measurements and recording the data collected from their observations of the Monkeyflowers.
National Drug and Alcohol Facts: Week Flint/Genesee County Partnership
National Drug and Alcohol Facts: Week Flint/Genesee County Partnership
Genesee County Prevention Council (GCPC), Genesee Health System (GHS) and Health in Our Hands (HiOH) partnered to plan activities for the National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week (NDAFW), March 21 through March 27th. The NDAFW through the National Institute on Drug Abuse is all about “Linking teens to facts that SHATTER THE MYTHS® about drugs and drug use.”
GHS created an infographic linked to a Kahoot! Quiz. The infographic highlighted local data about drug and alcohol use by Flint/Genesee students. Most students reported that they do not use drugs or alcohol. Highlighting these results support a positive community norming approach.The Kahoot! which is a game-based learning platform, questions quizzed the students' knowledge about drugs. These questions were also shared on social media via GCPC and partner Facebook and Twitter pages. HiOH distributed copies of posters of the infographic to share with their teachers at Atherton Jr/Sr High School, Flint Holmes STEM Academy Middle School, and Flint Southwestern Academy.
The NDAFW partnership also created a video to lift youth voices by spotlighting Flint 8th grade students who studied substance use disorder in their science class. The students have just completed the Health in Our Hands (HiOH) curriculum: “How can looking for thrills make me miserable”? The students became very interested in phone use and gaming (video). Their teacher, Ms. Teri Jones organized a Substance Use Disorder Health Summit for students to present their findings and recommendations. Following the Health Summit, the GCPC videographer and HiOH Program Coordinator, interviewed the students about their research question “How does the use of technology affect my well-being?” They surveyed their peers and family members and kept logs of their technology use. They concluded that technology use can have negative effects on their well-being. You will learn about their findings and feedback in the video “Flint Youth Take Charge of Their Well-Being.”
Flint Jaguars focus on their well being while using technology
Eighth grade students from Holmes STEM Academy in the Flint Community School District presented their Community Action Research Projects to their peers and school officials on Wednesday, February 16, 2022. This fall, while studying the Health in Our Hands (HiOH) Curriculum: “How can looking for thrills make me miserable”? the students became very interested in phone use, gaming (video) and technology use.
In their presentations, students developed their own model and definition of Well-Being and how it affects healthy behaviors, such as good sleep, healthy food, good interactions with friends, family and teachers. Positive feelings of high self esteem, empowerment, anger control and happiness are all affected by our well-being. The students also shared that well-being affects how academically engaged they are by their productivity, participation and their attention in class.
Students research question was, “How does the use of technology affect your well-being?” They surveyed their peers and family members and kept logs of their technology use. They concluded that technology use can have negative effects on their well-being.
“Technology is affecting my sleeping cause if I get sleep while I’m on the phone I start to fall asleep but soon as I hear my phone go off I’m wide awake and I do not end up going to sleep.”
“My problem is when I’m watching a tv show I stay up all night to finish it”
Next students answered: How am I going to change my usage of technology to better my well-being? Students committed to making changes in the way they use technology to maximize well-being such as scheduling their sleep time, limiting their access to their phones by turning them to “do not disturb” or giving them to a parent, and paying better attention to their food and exercise choices:
“When I know I’m sleepy, I will put my phone on do not disturb so I can’t hear my phone go off and I will go to sleep. I get sleepy around 10pm but go to sleep around 2am because I’m on the phone.”
“I am going to set a time for me to go to sleep and give my phone to my mom so I can sleep better”
Atherton Wolverines are curious about Real vs Fake Foods
Seventh grade students from Atherton Jr/Sr High School in the Atherton Community School District presented their Community Action Research Projects to their peers and school officials on Monday, February 7th, 2022. This fall, the students became very interested in hidden sugar, food labels, processed and unprocessed foods, “real” vs “fake” food and portion size while studying the project-based curriculum, “Health in Our Hands (HiOH): What Controls Our Health?.” The students learned about diabetes, genetics and nutrition in their science class. At the end of the unit, students conducted a research project to help reduce or present diabetes in their community. Their research question was, How does raising students’ awareness of real (unprocessed or homemade) vs fake (processed or prepared) foods affect their food choices?
In their presentations, students learned from their interviews with family members that family members know the difference between real and fake foods but they choose the processed foods because it is easier to buy fast food and to prepare store-bought foods than make meals from scratch. Cost also plays a role. Family members shared that they would eat real food if they had the time and money to purchase it. Students learned that family members ate fake food when younger. But knowing what they know now, they will try and make better choices.
Students also met HiOH Flint Genesee Partner, Alaina Larrea. She is the Assistant Project Manager for Commit 2 Fit, program of the Greater Flint Health Coalition. Students learned about her career as a Nutritionist, Alaina provided expertise in reading food labels and learned about her career educating people about how food choices affect their body.
Students reflected on what they learned about health:
“Most of the things I normally eat are quite unhealthy and if I continue to eat them I could become at risk for diabetes.” -
Atherton 7th grader
““...ultimately I control my health by the choices I make with food and exercise.” - Atherton 7th grader
Health in Our Hands Inspires STEM Careers Awareness
A new journal article published by Michigan Science Teachers Association (MSTA) shows how Health in Our Hands (HiOH) inspires interest in STEM careers for underrepresented middle school students both in and out of school. Studies show that students are losing interest in STEM careers. Recommendations suggest that we must do a better job of supporting students' interests from a young age through awareness and encouragement.
The article provides an example of how career exploration is embedded in “What Controls My Health”, an NGSS-aligned middle school unit about diabetes. Through investigations and discussions, students are introduced to different careers in health and science which help increase student awareness, build interest in STEM careers, and introduce role models and mentors for students. The article gives tips to science teachers about how they can promote STEM careers in their instruction that supports students in building their STEM identity and connects activities to the home and community.
For more information about HiOH, visit https://hioh.education/.