EDUCATOR'S GUIDE TO HOSTING A GLOBAL HEALTH CONFERENCE
This guide uses biology, health, and world study topics to engage students in global health issues and solutions from experiential and multidisciplinary perspectives. The guide offers an outline of how to organize and host a "Global Health Conference," and provides suggestions regarding logistics and instructions as well as resource materials for preparing and organizing a student conference. The Global Health Conference is a school event where students present display boards and two-page essays on various countries and their health challenges, very much like a science fair.
As a template, the guide can be modified to suit each educator's goals, student needs, and school policies. The guide is designed to involve all students from a single grade level—e.g., all seventh-grade students. However, educators can use pieces from the guide or tailor it to one class or a whole school. We recommend that each educator adapt this guide to the most appropriate scale for his or her own school environment and policies, student needs, and learning outcomes.
This guide aims to support educators in experiential and multidisciplinary teaching approaches by providing tools and resources that:
- Include real-life case studies on historical and contemporary global health challenges and solutions;
- Challenge students' assumptions about global health problems and solutions;
- Help students evaluate not just biological but also environmental, social, political and other factors affecting health; and
- Help evaluate how students can make a difference in global health through personal responsibilities and contributions.
Students will be able to:
- Identify and analyze a health problem and solutions in a specific country;
- Research independently, gather and organize data, analyze and synthesize meaningful solutions, and summarize/communicate their findings and conclusions effectively;
- Use diverse types of sources and critically evaluate them while correctly citing them;
- Demonstrate effective expository reading and informative writing skills; and
- Summarize and communicate effectively via visual, textual, and oral means.
A Sample Calendar is a document that lists administrative, logistical and instructional considerations for organizing and hosting a Global Health Conference, which are organized into the following four periods:
- Beginning of the School Year
- Instruction and Research
- Day and Evening of the Conference
This Sample Calendar is modeled after the annual Global Health Conference held by the seventh-grade students and social studies teachers at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville, Maryland.
The List of Resources includes all student and teacher documents used in the section, Instructional Procedures and Resources. (Underlined items below indicate hyperlinks to corresponding documents)
- Alma Ata Statement
- Country Profile Worksheet and Teacher's Country Profile Worksheet
- Global Health Interest
- Health Survey and Teacher's Health Survey
- Health Topic Worksheet and Teacher's Health Topic Worksheet
- Human Rights Statement
- List of Sources and Teacher's Annotated List of Sources
- Reflection Survey
- Vocabulary List and Teacher's Vocabulary List
- Word-graphic organizer and Word-graphic organizer: example
The following Instructional Procedures and Resources are organized into a four-week time frame. This section provides instructional activities and resources that involve students in researching, creating display boards, and writing papers in preparation for the Global Health Conference. However, the instructional activities and resources are presented as independent modules that can be used on their own, so that the guide can be scaled down for its use in a single classroom as well. Please review the preparation suggestions provided in the Sample Calendar before starting classroom instructions.
During the first week of the global health project, students consider diverse factors that affect health; evaluate personal and community health; define health as a basic human right; review key words they may encounter during research; and receive the details about their global health project. The instructional topics and resources that help students achieve the goals set for week 1 are:
Health Survey Activity:
Students express their own understanding of the importance of and relationship between personal and community health. They also examine diverse factors that affect health and consider the concept of health as a basic human right. [Note: Incorporate recent news stories to make a connection to real life from the activity. See Step 6 on the Sample Calendar document.]
- Distribute a copy of the Health Survey to each student and have students work in pairs to respond to the survey.
- Place a blank Health Survey transparency on an overhead projector. Review and summarize selected student responses on the transparency. The Teacher's Health Survey provides some discussion suggestions.
- Use recent news stories you or students have collected in order to inform and engage students in current global events and trends in health. This is to help students build literacy skills for finding and comprehending information in the kind of sources they will be encountering in their research. [Note: FAIR, the national media watch group, provides an online "How To Detect Bias in News Media" guidelines page at http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=121]
You and Global Health Activity:
Students learn about international declarations that connect health and human rights. [Note: Incorporate recent news stories to make a connection to real life from the activity. See Step 6 on the Sample Calendar document.]
- Distribute a copy of the Human Rights statement or the Alma Ata statement to each pair of students to read and complete the tasks listed at the bottom of the handout.
- Place a Human Rights statement transparency on an overhead and solicit student responses. Record them on the transparency.
- Place an Alma Ata statement transparency on an overhead and solicit student responses. Record them on the transparency.
- Guide discussions on each transparency to help students consider health as a basic human right. [Note: More extensive instruction on the topic of health and human rights is available in the Health and Human Rights lesson plan.
- Use recent news stories you or your students have collected in order to inform and engage students in current global events and trends in health. This is to help students build literacy skills for finding and comprehending information in the kind of sources they will be encountering in their research. [Note: FAIR, the national media watch group, provides an online "How To Detect Bias in News Media" guidelines page at http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=121]
Vocabulary Building Activity:
If appropriate, use the following activity to introduce or review the words that students may encounter in various sources while they are researching and gathering information for the global health project.
- Print a couple of copies of the Vocabulary List and cut out each rectangle containing a word and its definition. You can add additional words and definitions on the blank rectangles.
- Have students work in pairs and give each pair a word rectangle and a copy of Word-graphic organizer. Ask each pair to complete the Word-graphic organizer for their assigned word. Place a Word-graphic organizer example on an overhead projector as an example of how to complete the graphic organizer.
- Review each word and record student responses on a Teacher's Vocabulary List transparency on an overhead projector.
- Review and check if any diseases listed at the bottom part of the Teacher's Vocabulary List have been mentioned previously.
- Ask students to identify other poor health conditions that can affect them or those around them. Have students think about the cause and type of the condition using the words from their sentences and the vocabulary list.
- Use news stories you have collected to inform and engage students in current local or global health discussions, which builds literacy skills for comprehending and finding information in the kind of sources they will be encountering in their research.
Country Assignment and Research Preparation Activity:
- You may consider students' interests in a country or a health topic in assigning a country to each student. To match students' interests, distribute copies of Global Health Interest for students to complete and turn in. You can review students' interests and use the information to match them to countries as much as possible.
- For a random assignment, have students pull out a piece of paper with a number. Place a world map in front of the class and have the student with #1 pick his/her country from the map first, then have the student with #2 pick, and so on until everyone has picked a country.
- Keep a list of the names of students and their assigned countries.
- Tell students about the Global Health Conference event, where they will present their assigned country's information as if they were attending a professional meeting. Inform them that they will conduct research, create a display board and write a two-page essay about their country. Provide each student with a copy of the Checklist that lists criteria for the display board and essay.
- Review each checklist and tell students that you will guide them through the research and preparation of the display board and essay.
During weeks 2-3, students participate in a brief research and data gathering activity in a small group; conduct research to gather materials to identify a health topic of their assigned country; and put together a display board and write a paper summarizing their research findings. The instructional topics and resources that help achieve the goals set for weeks 2-3 are:
Students conduct guided research tasks; identify a health topic for the country assigned for research; access resources needed for their global health project; and learn how to cite sources in their papers and display boards. This activity is conducted in the school media center, computer lab and/or library.
- Distribute copies of List of Sources, Country Profile Worksheet, and Health Topic Worksheet to each student. Have students write in the name of his or her assigned country on the corresponding area of each worksheet.
- Review Teacher's Annotated List of Sources, Teacher's Country Profile Worksheet, and Teacher's Health Topic Worksheet for descriptions of the sources and instructional suggestions.
- Tell students that the two worksheets are to help them collect information to create a display board and write a two-page essay about their assigned country and its health issues and solutions. If appropriate, refer to the Checklist and review the criteria for the display board and essay with students.
- Introduce sample reference resources and demonstrate how to navigate the web sites and reference literature. [Partnership note: A media specialist and/or librarian can do this as well as help students learn how to cite the sources correctly in a bibliography.]
- Depending on the students' age and level, demonstrate to the class how the data for the "World" column are found in the reference materials, then have students research and complete their worksheets; or have students work in pairs to gather data for the world and their assigned countries.
Students use the data gathered using the Country Profile Worksheet and the Health Topic Worksheet to create a display board and write a two-page essay to be reviewed by peers and/or educators by the end of week 3. [Note: Review Steps 5, 10, and 12 in the Sample Calendar document for planning for guest speakers.]
- Help students use their research information to write a two-page essay on the country and its health issues and solutions. Have students refer to the Checklist for writing an essay section. [Partnership note: English classes can review expository reading and informative writing strategies. Science educators can review science content and provide feedback or corrections to students.]
- Review the Checklist for a display board and demonstrate a couple of different ways to present data—e.g., comparative format of world vs. country, using graphics along with the written information, etc. [Partnership note: Art classes may allow students to work on their display boards, while providing students with ideas on how to present information clearly and effectively-aesthetic display, use of color, appropriate visual elements, etc. Art educators can be invited during a class or after class to provide constructive suggestions to students about their display boards.]
- Have a speaker come and talk to students about his or her work and experience in a health-related field. Prepare speakers so that the topics they present to the students can help students understand multiple factors that affect health. A recommended format is for the speaker to talk briefly about their work and have students ask questions.
During week 4, students finish editing their essays and the display boards and practice talking about their research—i.e., oral presentation-before the Global Health Conference event date.
Presentation Preparation Activity:
Students receive constructive feedback on their essays and display boards, and update them appropriately.
- Peer feedback: Have students work in groups of 2-3 students and then provide comments on the essays and display boards prepared for one another. Have students refer back to the Checklist for the display board and essay so that their review comments are helpful and constructive.
- Educator feedback: Read and provide comments for corrections and other suggestions to your students [Partnership note: Have English and art educators review students' essays and display boards.]
- Have students revise and update their essays and display boards for presentation at the Global Health Conference event.
- Have students practice talking about their presentation with others. For example, pair students to talk to each other about their research on health issues and solutions of their assigned countries. Distribute a copy of Reflection Survey to each student to complete after learning about other students' work.
Before the Conference:
Students know where to display their boards and essays and when they should be stationed beside their work as the conference starts.
During the Conference:
Students engage in discussion with other students, parents and educators about various global health issues and solutions. They are able to summarize their research findings and to express what their roles can be in making positive differences in global health.
After the Conference:
Students submit their work for grading.
English Language Arts Education:
- Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
- Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.
- Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources (e.g., print and non-print texts, artifacts and people) to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience.
Developing Research Skills
- Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks and video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.
Participating in Society
- Students participate as knowledgeable, reflective, creative, and critical members of a variety of literacy communities.
- Students will comprehend concepts related to health promotion and disease prevention.
- Analyze how behavior can impact health maintenance and disease prevention.
- Analyze how information from the community influences health.
- Express information and opinions about health problems.
School Library Media:
- Students will be able to gather relevant information from appropriate resources.
- Students will be able to interpret information to generate new understandings and knowledge.
- Students will be able to communicate findings by producing materials in an appropriate format.
Science in personal and social perspectives:
- The severity of disease symptoms is dependent on many factors, such as human resistance and the virulence of the disease-producing organism.
- Many diseases can be prevented, controlled, or cured. Some diseases, such as cancer, result from specific body dysfunctions and cannot be transmitted.
Personal and community health
- Personal choices concerning fitness and health involve multiple factors
Science and technology in local, national and global challenges
- Progress in science and technology can be affected by social issues and challenges
Social Studies Education:
People, Places, and Environment:
- Students create, interpret, use, and distinguish various representations of the earth, such as maps, globes, and photographs.
Individual Development and Identity
- Students work independently and cooperatively to accomplish goals.
Individuals, Groups, and Institutions
- Students apply knowledge of how groups and institutions work to meet individual needs and promote the common good.
Power, Authority, and Governance
- Students examine persistent issues involving the rights, roles, and status of the individual in relation to the general welfare.
Science, Technology, and Society
- Students examine and describe the influence of culture on scientific and technological choices and advancement, such as transportation, medicine, and warfare.
- Students explore the causes, consequences, and possible solutions to persistent, contemporary, and emerging global issues, such as health, security, resource allocation, economic development, and environmental quality.
- Students demonstrate understanding of concerns, standards, issues, and conflicts related to universal human rights.
This guide is modeled after the annual global health conference held by the seventh-grade students and teachers at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville, Maryland. Special credit and thanks go to Janet Collier, whose ideas and vision have resulted in engaging students as well as their parents in global health issues at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School.