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LEARNING OBJECTIVES

Identify and describe health benefits associated with meditation; describe how to meditate; access resources to promote a personal meditation practice 

HEALTH ED STANDARDS

NHES 7: Demonstrate a variety of healthy practices and behaviors to maintain or improve health. 

CASEL COMPETENCY: Self-awareness; self-management

KEY VOCAB

meditation, hippocampus, amygdala, mantra

Lesson Plan: How to Stay Chill

Have you ever wished you could tell your brain to “chill”? Don’t stress: This month, you’ll learn about meditation, from its brain -boosting benefits to aah-mazing apps to help you relax.

ESSENTIAL QUESTION

How can I use meditation to improve or maintain my mental health? 

 CLOSE-READING QUESTIONS

  1. How can meditation improve your brain function? List at least two specific ways mentioned by psychologist Jennifer Guttman in the article. Accept any two: Meditation improves memory; Meditation can help you focus; Meditation can help you be less reactive (make good decisions and manage frustrating situations).
  2. Does your mind need to be totally blank while you meditate? Explain. No, it is practically impossible not to have a thought while meditating. However, you should notice thoughts as they come up, and then let them go.
  3. What opinion did Isabel used to have about meditation? Why did she change her mind about it? She used to think meditation was a waste of time, but when she reached high school, she needed something to help cope with the stress, or she felt she might crack.

 CRITICAL-THINKING QUESTIONS

  1. Based on the article, what do you think it means to have a “reactive” brain? If necessary, confirm the meaning using an online dictionary. Possible answer: Having a reactive brain means that you may make decisions without considering possible negative consequences.
  2. Have you ever meditated before, either on your own or at school (using a program like Calm Classroom, for instance)? If so, what benefits have you noticed? If you haven’t meditated, are you interested in starting? Why or why not? Answers will vary.
  3. Why do you think meditation can be especially beneficial to teens when compared to children or adults? Possible answers: Teens are young adults just learning to deal with common adult stressors for the first time; Having healthy habits/coping mechanisms is important while growing up—otherwise you could end up turning to harmful habits.

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES

DIGGING DEEPER

NHES 7

CASEL Competency: Self-awareness; self management

Give your students a mission: to answer the question HOW DO YOU STAY CHILL? In this activity, they’ll practice meditating in various ways to figure out how it works best for them. Then, have them create their perfect “formula” and share with you or another student. (Click here to find this Skill Builder.)

EXTENSION ACTIVITY

NHES 3

CASEL Competency: Self-awareness; self management

Have students figure out the answer to another important question for new meditators: MEDITATION: GUIDED OR UNGUIDED? Have them try out two of the meditation apps on the Choices website. Then, have them describe why they would or wouldn’t include either app in their meditation routine. For more experienced meditators, have them pick two apps they haven’t tried yet. (Click here to find this Skill Builder.)

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