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Grade 8 Health Overview

8th Grade Health Education meets for 20 weeks. This course is a skills-based, student-centered class deeply rooted in the Social Emotional Learning framework.

The main units taught in 8th Grade Health are:


  • Skills: self-assessment of wellness habits; identifying short-and long-term outcomes of health behaviors; identifying/accessing valid sources of health information
  • Functional Knowledge: 6 Dimensions of Wellness; Criteria for identifying/accessing valid sources of information; Teen Brain Information, Self-Awareness/Personal Identity


  • Skills: identifying personal stressors, identifying personal stress responses, creating a personal plan for healthy stress management; researching and utilizing strategies for achieving calm, focus and energy; reducing stigma associated with mental illness; accessing help for stress and mental illness concerns; “Acknowledge, Care, Tell” communication skill; identifying community resources for mental health
  • Functional Knowledge: Stress 101 (stress, stressor, fight/flight response), mental health, mental illness (anxiety, depression, suicide/suicide prevention)

Planning & Goal-Setting

  • Skills: how to set a SMART goal; selecting, researching, planning and working toward a personal health goal; identifying barriers to success and planning to overcome them; reflecting on progress toward goals.
  • Functional Knowledge: Influences on nutrition, fitness, sleep & screen-time decisions, body types/body image; SMART goal criteria


  • Skills: analyzing influences on decisions; assessment of personal risk/protective factors for decision-making; use of decision-making model to navigate dilemmas; strategies for “pushing pause” before making important decisions; accessing support for healthy decisions; identification of personal resources to avoid alcohol and other drugs.
  • Functional Knowledge: Teen brain information; information on alcohol, vaping, and other drugs (opioids); the role of stress, alcohol and other drugs on one’s ability to make healthy decisions

Relationships & Communication

  • Skills: assertive communication skills (active listening, use of I-statements); assertive refusal skills; accessing community resources for healthy relationships
  • Functional Knowledge: healthy and unhealthy relationship qualities; dating information; dating relationship abuse prevention.

Sexual Health **A parent letter will be sent ahead of this unit detailing learning outcomes and tentative dates for each topic.

  • Skills: accessing valid and reliable resources for sexual health - including parents/family; forming personal criteria for sexual health decisions; revisiting skills learned in Decision-Making and Relationships & Communication Unit as appropriate; accessing help/resources for situations involving sexual abuse, sexting, sextortion; recognizing criteria for consent.
  • Functional Knowledge: anatomy & physiology of the reproductive systems; menstruation; sexually transmitted infection prevention; conception and pregnancy prevention; benefits of abstinence; laws surrounding sexual behaviors/decisions; consent.

Advocacy (** may be a separate unit OR built into existing units)

  • Skills: analyzing data to determine priority health needs; researching information about the need; taking a health-enhancing stand; identification of an audience for advocacy efforts, selecting appropriate communication strategies for target audience; working with a group to persuade target audience to adopt health enhancing behavior
  • Functional Knowledge: social norms theory; project dependent but could include information about: sleep, stress management techniques, alcohol and other drug information including vaping; bullying/cyberbullying; screen time, physical activity; nutrition, body image; self-esteem; refusals; healthy decision-making.


What can parents do?

  • Encourage healthy living through conversations with your teen and modeling healthy lifestyles at home.
  • Set clear expectations for your teen.
  • Discuss your values with your teen – this positively impacts their ability to make healthy decisions!
  • Reach out to your teen’s health teacher directly if you have any questions about curriculum.