8th Grade Health
Why you should wear deodorant...and other things
There comes a time in a young man or woman's life when…
Okay, enough of that old-school stuff. Shmoop's here to give you an up-to-the-minute health course on the birds, the bees, fire escape plans, Instagram safety, and then some. Beyond those staples of contemporary life, you'll also
- identify major conditions, both medical and emotional, through recognizing their symptoms.
- advise your peers (and yourself) on how to treat and solve medical and mental health issues.
- research health issues, health products, and places in your community where you can receive resources—and learn how to analyze the validity of a totally bogus "resource."
- discuss complex health issues with your peers and apply legit medical research to back up your opinion.
- write both informatively and creatively to evaluate multiple outcomes of tricky health situations.
- create visual presentations to spread health awareness (yay!).
Basically, by the time you finish the ninety lessons of this standard-aligned course, packed with articles, videos, blog entries, teen resources, and actually-sorta-fun activities, you'll be giving your teachers advice on health instead of the other way around.
…Actually, maybe you shouldn't do that. That'd be pretty awkward.
Course BreakdownPurchase units individually *
*Purchasing by unit includes course material only.
Unit 1. All Up There
This course kickoff gives you info on key aspects of mental health. We talk about emotional stability, mental disorders and depression, grief and loss, therapy, and bullying. Most important, we give you the rundown on how to spot mental health issues in yourself and others and how to get the necessary help.
Unit 2. In a Relationship
What does it mean—and what does it take—to change your status to "in a relationship"? Way more than clicking a button, apparently. This unit focuses on family, romantic, and peer relationships, with tips and reading that Shmoop 100% guarantees you can use in your daily life.
Unit 3. Your Body
Part of being a teen is thinking about your body. A lot. (And Shmoop's gotta tell you: it doesn't go away when you become an adult.) Unit 3 focuses on hygiene, workouts and eating, health-related shopping, and how to do all these tricky things in the safest and healthiest way possible.
Unit 4. Disease and the Healthcare System
Think you're too young to learn about health insurance and infectious disease? No way. Disease is what happens all around you, every day—this unit's all about educating yourself about viruses, bacteria, health care, environmental health, resources for health information, and public health campaigning. Way crucial to reaching your goal age of 200 years.
Unit 5. Sexual Health
Yes, we said "sex." And we're going to be saying it a lot more in this unit; here we'll focus on sex in the media, hormones, male and female reproductive systems, sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS, pregnancy, risk reduction behaviors, and prevention. After this unit, puberty will be a breeze. Well, it probably won't, but at least you'll be able to talk about it breezily.
Unit 6. Saying No and Staying Safe
We know, we know: drugs are bad. But in this unit, we're going to get into the nitty-gritty of how drugs really mess up, your brain, your social life, and the lives of those around you. Finally, we're going to dig into safety. We're talking survival kits, planning, and weapon safety—the fun stuff.
Sample Lesson - Introduction
Lesson 1: The Science of Sleep
What a lovely day. It's time to stop and smell the inevitable biological changes of adolescence.
In other words, welcome to the Shmoop Healthstravaganza. Our first stop is personal hygiene. Just in case that isn't an everyday word for you, we'll spell it plain: hygiene is a reflection of how clean and neat we are. Cleanliness and healthiness are related—you're probably not at your physical best if your hair is messy and your teeth are falling out—so it's not weird to talk about personal hygiene in a class about personal health.
Shmoop's not about pointing fingers, but hygiene is super important for y'all in particular, because your bodies are undergoing some intense changes that'll make it harder to stay clean and shiny. For example: how's that armpit hair working out for you?
Today we'll go over our the basics of hygiene—showering, cleaning your ears, trying not to eat raw garlic every day—and transition to the biggest boost to personal hygiene that you can make: getting enough sleep.
"Just a few more hours; then you can eat me."
It's tough, we know. Just when your growing bodies need the most sleep, we stick you in a schooling system designed to deprive you of it and make you wake up too early to shower and properly clean your ears. And you won't feel comfortable with cutting down to 7 hours of sleep until you're 40 (at least), so it's best to think about maximizing your Z's now, while those mean ol' teachers are working you to the bone.
To round things off, we'll do plenty of deep thinking and debating about your sleeping habits. Which will be torture if you're reading this at 8:00 in the morning after pulling an all-nighter. Try to stay awake, and bear with us.
Sample Lesson - Reading
Reading 3.1: Lookin' Good
Hygiene is an important part of everyday health, because clean people look healthy, and it's easier to get sick if you let yourself get dirty.
More importantly, you guys are almost adults ready to rumble in the real world. We're sad to say that you'll get judged by your appearance pretty much all the time, and if you look unhealthy, you'll have a harder time making friends, getting a job, and taking over the world, if that's your thing.
So you need to keep hygiene in mind. Fortunately, you don't have to adopt a creepy routine in order to put the most hygienic, healthy-looking version of yourself out there. All you need to do is follow this simple advice:
- Scrub-a-dub-dub: Showering and bathing are important. "Duh," you say. But before you get too sassy, know this: Thanks to all those teenage hormones, your skin and your scalp are pumping out more oil than before, and your armpits are gonna smell worse and worse. You need to clean that stuff up. Please, please, please don't forget to wash every day, and to wash again after intense physical activity. No matter how buff you are, no one will take you seriously if you're post-workout-stinky.
- Pearly Whites: Don't forget to brush twice a day, and to floss at least once. Gurgling Listerine or some other mouthwash is a nice touch, too. Healthy teeth are the hallmark of healthy dudes and dudettes. Take it from Shmoop—you can't just floss the day before you have a dentist appointment. By then, the crud and bacteria will have already hardened on your chompers, and it'll take serious pick action to remove it. Seriously, it takes 15 seconds to floss. Just do it.
- Random Bits: Your ears, nose, and nails all need some love, too. Some of you will start growing hair out of your ear and nasal cavities, and if you're not careful, you could end up looking like a gnome, especially if you neglect the ear wax that's accumulating in your hearing holes. Plus, the feeling of a Q-Tip in your ear is a sensory glory that cannot be denied. You should probably trim your nails, too: people notice when your fingers end in dirty talons and your feet look like an evil wizard's feet.
- Shaving: For the fellas out there: unless you're working in a retro malt shop in Brooklyn, you should probably know about shaving. Beards and mustaches can be cool, but stubble looks sloppy, especially if you can't grow a full beard and there are "patches" of hair on your face. If you can only grow 30 hairs above your upper lip, you might want to concede defeat and wait until you're older to grow a 'stache. Peach fuzz isn't doing anyone any favors.
Ladies, it's a matter of personal preference if you want to shave your armpits and legs or not. Some people like it. Some don't. Try out both styles and see what feels best with you, but remember you still. Have. To. Shower. Either. Way.
See? Hygiene isn't hard. It's just a matter of getting in touch with your inner cat and grooming, grooming, grooming. But we've saved the best for last: one of the best things you can do for your health and overall hygiene is get enough sleep.
As teens, you guys technically should be getting 9 hours of sleep every night, which is hilarious, we know. Between homework, extracurriculars, working, and hanging out, few of you have the ability or willpower to plunk yourselves in bed between 9:00 and 10:00.
It's worth it to maximize the time you spend asleep, however. If you're tired, then you can't concentrate as well as on your work (or your driving!), so you'll have to spend more time on those tasks than you normally would.
A lack of sleep is also bad for your health, both physically and mentally: Your organs and muscles need rest to function properly, and you might feel irritable or sad if you're caught in the foggy haze of fatigue.
Finally, they don't call it "beauty sleep" for nothing: people who don't get enough sleep will probably look pale and haggard, and they'll have more acne too, because the stress of fatigue clogs up your pores. Yay.
It may be impossible to get the recommended amount of sleep, but here are some ways you can maximize your Zs:
- Set a fixed bedtime and try to stick to it.
- Don't sleep in too late on the weekends—that'll throw off your sleeping rhythm, which is also called your "circadian rhythm."
- Try to detox your brain by avoiding electronic devices for 30 or 60 minutes before bed. The stimulation of staring at an exciting, bright screen actually makes it scientifically harder to fall asleep.
Getting sleep is tough, but it's worth it. For more about the epidemic of sleepiness in today's schools, check out this interview with a smart science lady.
As you read, compare what Mary Carskadon says to your own sleep habits. Are you getting enough sleep? How is it impacting your school/life performance? And, are the people around you doing anything that Mary suggests to make it better, or are they encouraging your decline into life as a sleep-deprived zombie?
Sample Lesson - Activity
Activity 3.1a: Comprehension Check Completed
Before we plow ahead into the sleepy blue yonder, let's make sure all that jazz about hygiene went down smooth. Write in complete sentences, and give three examples in your response to each question.
Sample Lesson - Activity
Activity 3.1b: Dream Report! Completed
How much sleep do you get a night? We're guessing it's not a lot. And if that's the case, you have a better idea of what it's doing to your body, even though you've only been hanging out with us for a day so far. We don't mess around!
For today's activity, we'd like you to do some writing for us. Three brief paragraphs (3-4 sentences each) will do the trick. We're looking for some personal reflections, not a formal essay. Yet.
- In the first paragraph, tell us how much sleep you usually get every night—noting if there's a difference between weekend and weeknight sleep. Then explain what Mary Carskadon would say about your sleep totals: Would she be psyched, or would she be worried? Why? Definitely relate your answers to the reading, guys.
- In the second paragraph, think aloud about your sleeping habits and what they're doing to your overall health. How are your skin, attention span, friendships, and performance in the classroom affected?
- In the final paragraph, let us know if you could make changes to your sleeping habits. Do you need more sleep? If so, what could you do to sneak in a few more winks? Or would that be absolutely impossible, given your current routine?
When you're done, post your results to the discussion board and read through your classmates' experiences with sleep. We'd also like you to respond to at least two of their posts, but don't just say "I hear you, man" or "God, I hate you." (We're supposed to be nice, remember?) Compare your situation to their own (using details) and say what you would do in their place.
And as always, be nice. Any cruel comments will haunt you in nightmares. And then that's even less sleep for you.
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- Course Length: 18 weeks
- Grade Levels: 8
- Course Type: Elective
- Health, Physical Education, and Counseling
Just what the heck is a Shmoop Online Course?
Common Core Standards
The following standards are covered in this course:HE.8.B.3.1