Lesson Plan: Social Studies
Student Resource: "The
Lure and Lore of Weight-Lifting"
Media Type: Article
After completing this lesson, students will be able to:
- Explain the importance of selecting a program of physical
activity that is right for their age and level of development.
- Discuss how commonsense decisions and practices can reduce
the risk of exercise- and activity-related injury.
- Identify safety measures for doing different types of
Introducing the Lesson
If you can, locate a Charles Atlas-type ad from the 1940s
or 1950s that shows the proverbial 98-pound weakling getting
sand kicked in his face by a muscle-bound bully at the beach.
Have students pass around the ad and examine the pictures
and verbal content. Ask: What product is this ad trying to
sell? (Weight-training programs and/or equipment.)
Discuss with students the reason for weight training implied
in the ad. (To get back at bullies.) Elicit that this is not
a healthy reason for taking part in any program of exercise.
Ask: What would be some positive reasons for maintaining physical
fitness and doing weight training? (Building strength to improve
performance at a sport that involves stamina and power.) For
whom is this training recommended?
Call students' attention once again to the ad from a half
century ago. Have students consider the likely age of the
ad and what this reveals about the history of weight lifting.
Ask: Do you think this practice started in the 1950s? If not,
where and when do you think it has its origins? Explain that
students are about to find out the answers to these questions.
Add that they will also learn ways of maximizing safety and
minimizing injury when doing all forms of resistance training,
including weight lifting.
After students have completed the reading, you may either
use the following as class discussion questions or assign
them as individual or group work.
- Extending. The article notes that many teens nowadays
are doing weight training on their own. What factors do
you think account for this trend? What role, if any, do
you think the media play?
- Summarizing. According to the article, what benefits
can be obtained from resistance training? What precautions
need to be taken?
- Extending. Think back to the ad showing the person
who had sand kicked in his face. From what you learned in
the article, what advice would you give this person about
weight lifting? What would be a more healthful way of dealing
with a bully?
Integrating Social Studies and Health
Conduct a poll among students in your high school. Determine
how many students take part in a weight-lifting program, the
goals of those who do (e.g., feeling fit, qualifying for a
team sport, having big muscles), and specifics about the types
of activities done. Convert your findings into a graph, and
share it with classmates.