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close this bookLife Skills for Young Ugandans- Secondary Teachers' Training Manual (UNICEF, 254 p.)
close this folderSection Four: Sample Activities
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View the documentHEALTH
View the documentORAL HEALTH
View the documentSMOKING
View the documentDRUG ABUSE



This section addresses the importance of caring for the mouth. The healthy practices that an individual has to observe to promote good oral health are discussed.

The consequences of poor oral health arising from poor diet, cultural practices and drugs are highlighted.






By the end of the lesson, students should be able to:

1. Make toothbrushes from twigs
2. Demonstrate proper techniques of brushing the teeth and cleaning the tongue
3. Explain the importance of keeping the teeth and tongue clean

Life Skills to be developed

Self-awareness, self-esteem, interpersonal relationships, decision making.


Twigs to make local tooth brushes/tooth brushes and tooth picks, toothpaste, salt mixed with soda bicarbonate, clean water.

Time: 40 minutes.


1. Ask the students the following questions:

(i) What do you use to brush your teeth?
(ii) When and how do you brush and clean the teeth and tongue?

2. Show students how to make a local tooth brush.

3. Demonstrate to students how to use a tooth brush (local or modern) and the correct way of brushing the teeth.

4. Distribute twigs to each student.

5. Students make a tooth brush (local) by chewing one end of the twig and sharpening the other end to a point.

6. Put toothpaste or salt on the brush with a bit of water.

7. Practice using the stick (or tooth brush) in pairs

8. Discuss the importance and correct way of brushing the teeth and cleaning the tongue.

9. Conclude the activity.

Learning Points

· Brushing you teeth wrongly drags your gum away from your teeth and breaks the membranes, so germs (microbes) get in and cause tooth decay (dental caries). The teeth have to be removed or filled with cement.

· Using the sharpened end of a toothpick to remove food stops food packing into spaces between teeth and giving germs (microbes) a home.

· It is important to brush teeth and clean the tongue regularly and thoroughly to remove all plaque and food remains. Rinse your mouth with safe, clean water.

· Brushing the teeth removes bad breath.

· Brush your teeth and gums every day and before going to bed.

· Each person should have their own tooth brush or brushstick.

· Use salt or tooth paste when brushing, not broken sticks, charcoal, sand or other hard materials.

· Use safe and clean water.

· You should eat healthy food not too many sweets.

· Using teeth as a tool when opening bottle tops is dangerous for the teeth.


· You should have enough toothbrushes/brushsticks for all the students.
· Discourage the use of sand and charcoal while brushing the teeth and cleaning the tongue.

Extension Activities

1. Answer these questions:

(i) What types of food are most likely to get stuck between your teeth?
(ii) Why do you get a nasty taste in your mouth when bits of meat get stuck for some time?

2. Read newspapers which have information on health for any dental tips.





By the end of the activity, students should be able to:

1. Name the common oral diseases
2. Describe the development of dental caries and periodontal diseases.
3. Practise good oral health care

Life Skills to be developed

Self-awareness, self-esteem, decision making and critical thinking.

Time: 40 minutes.


Healthy and unhealthy teeth, charts, pictures, transparencies, dil. hydrochloric acid, two small containers, large sheet of paper, markers.


1. Review the importance of brushing the teeth and cleaning the tongue regularly.

2. Divide the students into groups and give each group a large sheet of paper and marker pens.

3. Students discuss the statement “What can go wrong when teeth are not regularly brushed?”

4. Groups report back to plenary for further discussion.

5. Teacher shows differences between healthy and unhealthy teeth and development of the diseases in teeth and gums.

6. Students discuss the overall effects of not brushing the teeth.

Learning Points

When teeth are not brushed regularly:

· teeth get brown and black holes which look ugly.

· the holes are small at first but if they are not filled by a dental worker, they turn into big holes which hurt.

· the person concerned normally has a toothache, bad breath and may even have a boil or abscess in gums surrounding the teeth.

· decayed teeth can affect the health of the rest of the body.

· the teeth may be so decayed that they have to be taken out.

· when teeth and gums are not cleaned properly, plaque forms around them at the base of the tooth.

· a diet with a high sugar content often produces particularly heavy accumulation of plaque.

· if plaque is allowed to accumulate, it can calcify and harden to form tartar (black-brownish spots on the teeth).

· the gums become inflamed and one develops gingivitis and destruction of the peridontal tissues (peridontal disease).


· Use real teeth specimens, pictures and film slides to show differences between healthy and unhealthy teeth and charts/transparencies to show development of the diseases in teeth and gums.

· Emphasise Article 24 of the CRC which states:

“To ensure the provision of necessary medical assistance and health care to all children with emphasis on the development of primary health care.”

Extension Activities

Students can do the following:

1. Share their own life experiences for example by discussing:

“A bad oral health experience I had.”

2. Prepare an advertisement about dental health, spelling out how to prevent formation of cavities.

3. Find out the prevalence of individuals with missing teeth or with teeth that have turned brown and assess whether this is connected with the way they care for them. But this should not cause embarrassment to your colleagues. Be polite and respectful.

Brush your teeth regularly and visit the dentist when you can.






By the end of the activity, students should be able to:

1. Distinguish foods which promote good oral health from those which lead to poor oral health.

2. Identify foods which have only a few nutrients and are bad for the teeth.

3. Choose more healthy foods.

Time: 30 minutes


Biscuits, sweets, toffees, sugar cane, milk, vegetables, eggs, sodas, carrots, pawpaw.


1. Divide students into groups and ask group leaders to collect foods from the teacher’s bench.

2. Groups discuss which types of food are good or bad for the teeth and why and list other foods which are good or bad for the teeth.

3. Groups present their findings to the plenary for discussion. Write down all answers and guide class to come up with a list of common foods which promote good oral health.

Learning points

· Bacteria + food containing a lot of sugar = acid + caries
· Foods containing a lot of sugar include cakes, jam, biscuits and sweets.
· Common foods which are good for the teeth include fruits, vegetables, sugar cane.


· Adolescents tend to be attracted to foods which damage the teeth when used excessively. You should not be judgemental on this but encourage them to choose the healthier foods.

Extension Activities

Students can answer the following questions:

(i) What foods do you like at home? Are any of them likely to affect your teeth? Why?

(ii) What advice would you give family members and friends about foods they should eat to protect their teeth and gums?




By the end of the class, students should be able to:

1. Distinguish between foods that promote good oral health and those that lead to bad oral health.

2. Identify peer influences that promote poor oral health.

3. Choose healthier foods.

Life Skills to be developed

Peer resistance, self-awareness, self-esteem

Time: 40 minutes.


Container (ie big empty bag), items to represent fruits)


1. Ask students to volunteer to role play “That is Not Grub”.
2. Give typed copies of the instructions of the play to volunteers.
3. Volunteers role play while the others observe.


Today is a visiting day at Orogo Secondary School. David, an S.2 in the school, is looking forward to his mother’s visit and the usual ‘grub’: biscuits, sweets, chocolate, cakes, jam, orange squash, rice and chicken which make him popular among his friends. In fact, they won’t go for lunch today because they’re expecting to enjoy David’s grub as usual. David is their man!

When mother arrives, she is so pleased with herself for having supplemented David’s grub, as he requested on her last visit. From her ‘Kikapu*’ she sorts out in front of David all she has brought for him: ‘bogoya*’, ‘fene*’, pawpaws, oranges, mangoes, avocados, sugarcane and pineapples. David is shocked. How could his mother do this to him? How does he walk back to the company of his friends? What will they say?


kikapu* - a type of woven mat basket
bogoya* - A type of plantain eaten ripe

fene* - jack fruit

4. Class divides into groups to discuss the following questions:

(i) Why did David worry about what his friends would say?
(ii) Why do you think David did not appreciate the types of food mother brought for him?
(iii) What kind of ‘grub’ do you normally like?
(iv) What adjustments would you make in your ‘grub’ in order to improve your diet?

5. Group leaders present findings to plenary and wrap up activity.

Learning Points

· If a person eats sugar frequently, his teeth will be attacked by acid many times and gradually cavities will develop in the teeth.

· The most important factor is not the total amount of sugar that is consumed within a given period but the number of times sugar enters the mouth.

· Calcium, phosphorous and vitamin D are essential for the formation and development of teeth. Fluorides are important for prevention of caries.


· Ensure good time management.
· Promote the fresh foods commonly found in Uganda rather than packaged foods.

Eat nourishing foods as well as fresh foods to keep your teeth healthy.

Extension Activity

Graph on Fluoridation and accompanying questions.

(Adapted from “An Integrated Approach to Biology for East Africa” by Sopers and Smith)




Due to their curiosity and their wish to try out new things, as well as their growing wish to assert themselves and be regarded as adults, adolescents are often tempted to try alcohol. This is expecially true if members of their peer group are already drinking, since they tend to value the opinions of their peer group more than their parents and other adults who they view as outdated and unnecessarily restrictive. They are often influenced also by those adults they see drinking, especially if the adult drinking (to excess) is then the one who is telling them not to drink.

They therefore need to be given a supportive physical and social environment and be made aware of the nature and dangers of alcohol abuse.


By the end of the activity, students should be able to:

1. Explain the reasons for taking alcohol and its dangers.

2. Differentiate between alcohol use and abuse.

3. Counteract the rumours, myths and misconceptions advanced by peers about taking alcohol.

4. Demonstrate responsible behaviour with regard to alcohol.

Time: 40 minutes


Newspaper cuttings on alcohol related accidents, advertisements for beer, Penal Code concerning alcohol.


1. Divide the class into groups and ask them to read the dialogue aloud in pairs. Choose two students to read in front of the class.

2. In groups discuss:

(i) What are some of the reasons John and his friends give for drinking? What do you think of them?

(ii) What other reasons do other people (who you know) have for drinking?

(iii) What strategies did Sam use to avoid drinking? Which do you think were the most effective?

(iv) What do you think happened next?

3. Groups prepare a role play of a few minutes to present to the rest of the class on how the evening between John and Jane, as well as Sam and Gertrude ended.

4. After the role plays, the class discusses the following questions.


John is an S.4 student in Kamkam S.S. who drinks a lot. He has invited Jane, an S.2 in Kamwenge S.S. to go out with him on the weekend. He takes his father’s car to go and meet her. They expect Gertrude and her boyfriend Sam, their great friends, to join them.

At Ange Noir, Gertrude joins Jane and John in persuading Sam into trying a little Pilsner or “Chairman’s”, or even a little “Uganda Wa’.” He won’t die after all! Who doesn’t want to be great, anyway? Life is worth all the fun. And that is the greatest moment Gertrude has been looking forward to. She couldn’t continue moving with a “falla*” of a boyfriend who is a step behind.

Sam is perplexed. He wasn’t prepared for this.


falla* - slang for an unfashionable/non-sophisticated person


(i) Which role play did you think was the more realistic? Why?

(ii) What dangers, risks, or behaviour problems do you think alcohol drinkers have? (Use statistics to illustrate the problems among youth in families and society).

(iii) Have you ever been persuaded to drink? How did you feel?

(iv) What are the best ways to resist pressure?

(v) How would you get home from a social event if your driver had been drinking alcohol? What would you say? What would you do?

Learning points

· Alcohol, even in small quantities, affects the brain.
· It is a myth that people can drive better etc. after taking alcohol. Alcohol slows down the reflexes.


· Refer to newspaper cuttings on deaths caused by incidences related to alcohol. And advertisement language for Alcohol.

· Photocopy Penal Code on Alcohol.

· Make sure you praise each group for their presentation before you you ask for comparisons.

· If there is not enough time, the last questions could be answered as an extension activity.

· Encourage class members to relate their real experiences.

Extension Activities

1. Look at advertisements on alcohol and discuss what the advertisements are trying to say. Why do they seem to be convicing?

2. Design your own advertisement or campaign poster against the drinking of alcohol by students.

3. Debate: “Alcohol should be banned”.

Two local examples of advertisements on alcohol.