A Message from the Content Specialist
I am very proud to present the teacher-authored instructional unit samples in Comprehensive Health. Each of these units represents the work of a team of Colorado educators to translate one curriculum overview sample into a full instructional unit with learning experiences, teacher and student resources, assessment ideas, and differentiation options. To learn more about the unit development process and the unique aspects of the Comprehensive Health units, please consider participating in one or more of the scheduled instructional unit webinars.
Each of the units posted here was authored by a team of Colorado educators. As examples, they are intended to provide support (or conversation/creation starting points) for teachers, schools, and districts as they make their own local decisions around the best instructional plans and practices for all students.
You can also view the complete list of Comprehensive Health curriculum overview samples and use the instructional unit template to begin constructing your own Colorado Academic Standards-based units.
Comprehensive Health Content Specialist
The resources provided within the sample curriculum units are intended to provide a comprehensive menu of resources for educators to use in a way that supports their instructional planning. Provided resources should be previewed and used with teacher discretion. Because the units contains resources outside of the CDE website, CDE cannot control changes in outside content and listing these resources does not indicate an endorsement by the Colorado Department of Education.
Users of the Comprehensive Health Units of Study Please Note:
Section 22-1-128(3) C.R.S. requires school districts to provide prior written notification to parents of planned curriculum that includes comprehensive human sexuality education and the option for parents to excuse their student from the curriculum without penalty or additional assignment. Districts are also required, upon request of parents, to provide a “detailed, substantive outline of the topics and materials to be presented in that portion of the planned curriculum related to comprehensive human sexuality education”. Sample units of study containing this content have been marked using an asterisk (*) below.
- Instructional Unit Process Guide
- Instructional Unit Blank Template
- Curriculum Overview and Instructional Unit Template with Explanations
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Unit Title: Goal Setting, Self-Management, and Positive Decision Making (Gunnison Watershed School District)
Unit Description: This unit looks at substance abuse through the lenses of healthy goal setting, self-management, and positive decision making; behaviors that impact relationships throughout a person’s life. During this 3-4 week unit, students will identify positive support systems, both in their lives and their community, as well as analyze the risks and consequences of substance abuse. Students will reflect upon a variety of influences in their lives, their community, and in larger society, as well as consider the interactions of these influences. The unit culminates in a “Talk Show” designed to allow students to demonstrate all they have learned about substance use/abuse and interpersonal relationships.
Unit Title: Happy is the New Healthy (Center School District)
Unit Description: This unit focuses on mental/emotional wellness with an emphasis on advocacy. Across the unit’s 3-4 week duration, students will define various issues of mental/emotional health (depression, anxiety and self-harm), in order to familiarize themselves with a multitude of resources to support mental/emotional health, and improve communication skills to meaningfully advocate for mental/emotional health on behalf of themselves and others. Additionally, students will leave with an understanding of the impact diversity and respect play in creating a more positive environment within their school.
Unit Title: It's All About Safety
Unit Description: This unit allows students an opportunity to develop an awareness of personal responsibility and its impact on personal, family and community wellness. Students will focus on becoming self-advocates by examining preventative medical advances and technology. In addition they will analyze risky behaviors, potential consequences, and apply decision making skills to various situations. The unit culminates with a performance assessment that requires students to design a wireframe application advocating for health, wellness and disease prevention.
Unit Title: Nutrition
Unit Description: This unit looks at influences such as family, peers, and culture and how they impact a person’s decisions for making healthy food choices. Additionally, the unit will allow students to explore how personal food choices, economics and behaviors influence weight management, disease prevention and overall health. The unit culminates with students using their knowledge of food choices and nutritional values to create a healthy restaurant menu.
Unit Title: Personal Choices*
(*includes comprehensive human sexuality education- See Section 22-1-128(3) C.R.S. statement above)
Unit Description: This unit analyzes both positive and negative relationships that adolescents develop and the decision-making skills needed to establish personal boundaries and strategies to resist behaviors such as unwanted or unplanned sexual activity (e.g. Dating, Abstinence, STD/HIV prevention, Birth Control & Teen parenting) that could negatively impact personal health and goals. Additionally, students will research and discuss healthy dating skills, abstinence, birth control, STD/HIV prevention, and teen parenting. The unit culminates with students creating a marketing campaign designed to encourage healthy decision making skills regarding personal choices and the impact on sexual health.
Unit Title: Stress Management
Unit Description: This unit allows students, regardless of their capacity to handle stress, to recognize stress, analyze personal stressors and use stress management techniques such as positive self-talk, goal setting and visualization. Students will investigate the possible effects stress can have on mental/emotional wellness as well as interpersonal relationships. During this unit, students may become self-advocates and implement strategies to improve their sense of wellbeing and mental health. The unit culminates with a performance assessment that requires students to create a goal setting plan and demonstrate effective stress management strategies in an impromptu role play.
Unit Title: Suicide Prevention (Positive Choices and Options) (Adams Five Star School District)
Unit Description: This unit allows students to develop an awareness of suicide prevention and become advocates for themselves and others by using effective communication skills to connect with emotions such as depression, anxiety and stress. During this 1-2 week unit, students will integrate prior knowledge of these emotions in order to recognize when distress may potentially become a warning sign for suicide. The unit culminates with a performance assessment that requires students to demonstrate effective communication and advocacy skills by creating a public service announcement to increase high school students’ awareness of suicide prevention.
Unit Title: The Golden Rule
Unit Description: This unit allows students to develop an awareness of violence prevention and become advocates for themselves and others by using effective communication skills to build an understanding of various perspectives and reduce the risk of violence. During this 2-3 week unit, students will reflect on underlying causes of violence, develop skills and strategies to reduce the violence and access resources to aid in the recovery process. The unit culminates with students creating a media production demonstrating violence prevention and de-escalation strategies.
Unit Title: A Violence Free Society
Unit Description: The focus of this unit is for students to identify a need for pro-social behaviors and develop skills for cultivating positive social behaviors to improve their school and community. Students will evaluate behaviors through statistical analysis and recognize the difference between certain social behaviors, media’s influence, communications skills and understanding how their role (e.g. bystander, victim, bully) impacts a community. Within the final performance assessment students will develop an advocacy plan and presentation that includes a pro-social issue, data supporting the issue’s importance and provide descriptions and samples.
Unit Title: Alcohol, Tobacco and Drugs
Unit Description: The focus of this unit is for students to make connections between drug use/abuse, risky behavior, poor decision making and possible consequences. Students will evaluate the positive aspects of their life and hypothesize how alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs could impact that happiness. They will use credible resources to develop and support arguments regarding use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. Finally, students will reflect on the causes of addiction and the portrayal of drugs and alcohol in the media. As a performance assessment, students will design and create a media presentation to showcase their knowledge of how drug and alcohol abuse may create possibilities for risky situations, poor decision-making, and addiction.
Unit Title: Health Promotions and Disease Prevention
Unit Description: The focus of this unit is for students to develop skills for advocating for the prevention of diseases. Students will explore the function of the immune system, investigate differences between communicable and non-communicable diseases, and make connections to how health trends and fads may impact local and global wellness. The unit culminates with a performance assessment that asks students to collaborate and create a campaign to promote awareness and prevention of communicable and non-communicable diseases.
Unit Title: Setting and Respecting Personal Boundaries* (Durango School District)
(*includes comprehensive human sexuality education- See Section 22-1-128(3) C.R.S. statement above)
Unit Description: This unit analyzes high-risk situations faced by adolescents and the decision-making skills needed to establish personal boundaries and develop strategies to combat risky behaviors such as drug use, underage drinking and unwanted or unplanned sexual activity that could negatively impact personal health and goals. The unit culminates with students designing a PSA for teens that will demonstrate an understanding of decision making and self-advocacy skills to maintain personal boundaries in order to minimize risky situations.
Unit Title: Who Influences Me? (Adams Five Star School District)
Unit Description: This unit allows students to analyze the impact that media, culture and peers have on an individual’s development of communication, advocacy, and self-management skills. Throughout the unit, students will explore positive and negative influences and consider strategies that could be used to potentially minimize negative influences on mental and emotional well-being. The unit culminates in a performance assessment that asks students to design and present an action plan to the school community that promotes positive behaviors and/or changes negative influences/stereotypes to support positive mental and emotional health and well-being.
Unit Title: Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs are Not for Me
Unit Description: This unit looks at substance abuse through the lenses of influences and risky behaviors, and their effects on the student’s health. Throughout this unit, students will identify short and long term effects of substance abuse and the social, economic, and personal impacts of addiction. The unit culminates with students researching and writing an informative/persuasive article about their chosen substance (alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana/drugs) to a published source and then reviewing a peer’s article of the other two substances not chosen to demonstrate a deepened knowledge of aspects of all three substances.
Unit Title: Injury Prevention
Unit Description: This unit allows students to develop personal safety skills and plans to prepare them for responding to personal injury, trauma, and natural disasters. Developing skills and processes such as precautions, prevention, actions, plans, emergencies and safety, will allow students to learn to navigate these possible personal injury situations. The unit culminates with a performance assessment that asks students to demonstrate their ability to design and execute a safety plan for a variety of situations. The goal of this unit is to give students the skills needed to be an effective first-responder.
Unit Title: Nutrition For a Healthy Life (Englewood School District)
Unit Description: This unit looks at an adolescent’s support systems and influences such as (family, peer and media) and how they impact a person’s decisions for making healthy food choices. Additionally, the unit will allow students to explore the importance of developing personal support systems to maintain overall physical and emotional wellness. The unit culminates in the creation of a public service announcement that will ask students to express what they have learned about living a nutritionally balanced life.
Unit Title: Personal Decisions*
(*includes comprehensive human sexuality education- See Section 22-1-128(3) C.R.S. statement above)
Unit Description: This unit looks at personal decisions through the lenses of influences, decision making, and values and how they impact relationships. Students will also assess how media, peers, community, and family affect choices around becoming sexually active. Other skill development strategies will target the setting of healthy boundaries and the cause and effects of unhealthy behaviors that lead to STIs/HIV/AIDS. This unit culminates with students working with peers to create a series of “How To” video clips for new 6th graders on making healthy decisions in middle school.
Unit Title: Strategies for Self Advocacy
Unit Description: This unit allows students to develop self-advocacy skills and strategies in order to support healthy relationships and manage daily life challenges. Students will explore the use of “I” statements, negotiation skills, communication skills and active listening in order to navigate through various situations to maintain overall health and well-being. The unit culminates with a performance assessment that asks students to work with peers as a team of doctors to write a Prescription Action Plan for a client who struggles with communication, developing active listening skills, creating healthy boundaries, and managing daily challenges. Their goal is to increase the client’s ability of using self-advocacy skills to benefit their overall well-being.
Unit Title: Communication is the Key
Unit Description: This unit examines healthy relationships through the lens of decision making, communication, and self-advocacy. Students will learn that setting boundaries and clear expectations play a critical role in developing healthy relationships and through this, they will evaluate how good decision making reflects and maintains physical, social, and emotional boundaries and beliefs. Assessing one’s risk behaviors and developing safety strategies may reduce consequences such as unintended pregnancy, contracting sexually transmitted infections (STI’s), and HIV/AIDS. Additionally, students will identify key support systems in their school, community, and personal lives that may be able to be advocates and resources.
The unit concludes with students assuming the role of a “game master” to create a state of the art game that analyzes the benefits of positive communication, sets clear expectations and boundaries, evaluates risk behaviors with unintended consequences, and determines benefits of adult support/guidance.
Unit Title: Healthy Bodies
Unit Description: This unit examines healthy bodies through the lens of physical health by building skills such as accessing reliable information and positive decision making to improve nutrition, physical activity, safety, and hygiene. These positive decisions may also impact emotions, reactions, confidence, and social relationships. Students will also look at the short and long term health consequences of positive nutrition and physical activity decisions. The unit culminates with a performance assessment that has students create a web page that advocates for a balanced lifestyle to be posted on a “Middle School Wellness Website”.
Unit Title: Media Messages and Your Health (Canon City School District)
Unit Description: This unit looks at alcohol and tobacco use through the lens of informational awareness, skill building, and positive decision making. During this 3-4 week unit, students will examine and differentiate between media/ social portrayals and the realities of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use and abuse. Students will also reflect on how media and advertising influence their personal decisions while gaining skills to critically analyze powerful media influences.
Unit Title: Positive Communication in Times of Conflict (East Grand School District)
Unit Description: This unit looks at ways to de-escalate conflict through anger management strategies, advocacy skills, and positive communication among peers, teachers, family members, and the community. Students will examine the effects of violence in our history and what strategies can be used to decrease violence in our lives today by analyzing the concepts of conflict, bullying, and harassment and make connections to their own personal experiences. The unit culminates with a performance assessment that has students create a children’s story book that will describe and illustrate how to de-escalate conflict in a non-violent way, show positive communication skills when talking to adults and/or peers involved in the conflict, and apply advocacy skills for you and others.
Unit Title: We All Need to Communicate
Unit Description: This unit examines communication through the lens of considering various perspectives and experiences. Students will explore the interconnectedness between mental/emotional health and communication. Additionally, students will consider how critical skills such as decision making, self-advocacy and interpersonal communication lay the foundation to develop overall well-being. They will analyze the importance of communicating feelings and emotions, understanding the signs, symptoms and effects of anxiety, stress, depression, loss and grief. The unit culminates with the development of a “Put Yourself in My Shoes” book encompassing empathy, content knowledge and key skills.
Unit Title: Human Growth & Development (Thompson School District)
Unit Description: This unit examines the structure and function of body systems and the changes that occur as we mature. Throughout the unit students will explore the physical and emotional characteristics of the maturation process, make personal connections to their individual growth and development, and establish positive coping skills. The unit culminates in a performance assessment that asks students to help their peers recognize the natural changes that occur to human bodies at developmental stages.
Unit Title: Safety (Poudre School District)
Unit Description: This unit is designed to build upon basic decision making skills and incorporate higher level communication behaviors needed to manage external influences such as interpersonal relationships, peer pressure and social media. The development of these tools will allow students to become better equipped to deal with potential life experiences such as resolving conflicts, maintaining personal safety, and protecting personal boundaries. The ultimate goal of this unit is to provide students with the confidence and knowledge to develop healthy relationships and maintain overall health and wellness. It concludes with students analyzing social dilemma scenarios to design a role play that depicts the negative choice followed by a depiction of a positive resolution.
Unit Title: Communication Works for Everyone (Del Norte School District)
Unit Description: This unit addresses positive communication skills as it relates to personal needs, boundaries, and pro-social behavior in order to establish healthy relationships. Through the examination of effective communication skills students will investigate the importance of positive decision-making in order to enhance elements of healthy relationships such as advocacy, cooperation, consideration and respect. Across the unit students will explore boundary setting, verbal and non-verbal communication strategies and definitions/attributes of sportsmanship.
Unit Title: Be a “Buddy” not a “Bully” (West Grand School District)
Unit Description: This unit uses friendship relationships to help students develop their understanding of healthy interpersonal relationships as well as unhealthy bullying relationships. Through the examination of effective communication skills (speaking and listening) and perspective-comprehension strategies, students will actively explore proactive anti bullying and empathy-building activities. The unit culminates with students creating (audience) interactive skits to share their perspective on bullying prevention. The ongoing learning experiences center around role-playing as a means to scaffold and prepare students for the creation of their own skits.
Unit Title: Express Myself (Canon City School District)
Unit Description: This unit uses listening skills and appropriate expression of emotions to help students develop their understanding of healthy and positive communication skills and problem solving strategies. Through the examination of both verbal and non-verbal communication and examples of polite and empathetic responses, students will actively explore various forms of communication. The unit culminates with students creating a poster project that depicts a problem and solution using problem solving strategies they have learned though out the unit. The ongoing learning experiences center around role-playing as a means to scaffold and equip students with lifelong skills.
Unit Title: Healthy Relationships (Adams Five Star School District, Boulder Valley School District, and Denver School District)
Unit Description: This unit provides an opportunity for students to develop communication skills for establishing and maintaining healthy relationships. They will learn how to identify trusted adults, recognize personal space and boundaries, and begin to self-advocate in unsafe situations. Students will explore aspects of nonverbal and verbal communication, respect for self and others and levels of danger and emergency contacts. The unit concludes with students taking on the role of a puppet master to create a puppet show for their peers depicting teacher prompted scenarios to include an unsafe situation, identifying the trusted adults, and how to communicate verbally and/or nonverbally for help.