The National Center for Quality Afterschool

Helping local practitioners and state education agencies develop high-quality and balanced programs

About the Center

Afterschool Lesson Plan Database

Lesson Plan

Life Science: Heavy Weight
Subject: Science
Grade span: 9 to 12
Duration: 6-8 weeks for this lesson (45-60 minutes weekly); length variable if extensions used.
This lesson was excerpted from the Afterschool Training Toolkit under the promising practice: Exploring Science Through Projects and Problems


This sample lesson is one example of how you can implement the practice of Exploring Science Through Projects and Problems. In this activity, students gather data to explore the problem of adolescent obesity and develop potential solutions based on the observations they have made at their school.

Learning Goals:

Students will:



In this lesson students will consider the problem of adolescent obesity. Here are specific steps to take as you plan this activity:

Safety Considerations Safety Considerations:
Students should be reminded that this research and findings created by it should not be used for judgment or criticism of peers. This subject is being examined as a scientific, not a personal topic.

What to Do:

Engage Introduce the topic to students by providing them with local and national statistics on adolescent obesity and its negative health impact. Assign groups in which students work to determine the key elements of the problem that they will investigate.

Explore Have each group work through the steps below in problem solving/project based learning. Tell each group that one person should be the Reporter, who will be responsible for generating the final report, based on the group's findings. The reporter will also facilitate the group presentation.

Each group's tasks:

  1. Learn about the problem through research: prepare a list of questions or issues related to adolescent obesity that need to be researched and develop a research action plan for the group.
  2. Develop and administer surveys. The group should do this work, generating questions, testing them, and administering them a population within the school (for instance, their grade or or a given class). The survey should assess students' eating habits.
  3. Identify the food and food types most frequently consumed by students as determined by the survey results.
  4. Conduct analysis of the nutritional value of the top ranking foods by checking the nutrition facts on the foods or other means.
  5. Decide which information collected by the surveys is useful in helping to solve the problem.
  6. Propose a solution and prepare a presentation of the solution, why it might work, and how the data gathered supports it.

Explain Students should complete data charts based on their research, and these charts should relate directly to the questions they identified at the start of the project. After these are complete, each team will report their results, with these charts. The reporter should take the lead.

Extension Activities:

There are many ideas for extensions for this activity.

Evaluate (Outcomes to look for):

Click this link to see additional learning goals, grade-level benchmarks, and standards covered in this lesson.

Learn More:

Learn more about the 5Es.
Online Training for Afterschool Staff
The Afterschool Training Toolkit is available online free of charge.

The following resources can be used with the online Afterschool Training Toolkit to give you the resources you need to build fun, innovative, and academically enriching afterschool activities.