Lesson Plan Title : Americans Then and Now

Age Range: Grade 9 through Grade 12 (High School)

Overview and Purpose: In this lesson, students will examine the differences between the lives of Americans today and fifty years ago. They will look for changes in our lifestyle that have impacted our health.

Objective: The student will be able to

*examine the differences between the lives of Americans today and fifty years ago.

*suggest ways that Americans can add more physical exercise to their lives today.


Internet access for each student

Teacher created worksheet


Explain to your students that obesity is becoming an epidemic in this country. So many people are overweight. Ask the students to work in groups of three to brainstorm how they think our lifestyle is contributing to the overall weight gain in America. Talk as a class about some of the ideas the students thought of.

Using the ideas your students came up with, have them research how that aspect of American life compares to how it was fifty years ago. For example, if one group said that Americans watch too much TV, have them compare the amount of time spent watching TV today and fifty years ago.

Come back together and discuss the results.

Sample worksheet:

Suggestions for Americans today
People spend too much time in front of the TV.

Fewer stations to choose from.

People watched one or two shows and then turned the TV off.

Many stations to choose from.

People have TV sets in every room.

Limit the number of hours the TV is turned on.

Switch to basic cable to limit the number of shows available.

Wrap Up:

Helping students make connections between our everyday lives and our weight is important to helping them live healthier lifestyles. Challenge yourself and your students to adopt one or two of the suggestions that were mentioned during the class.