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Lesson Plans

Use this Lesson Plan with the following health topics or with other relevant content from the textbook:
  • Fitness
  • Mental Health

Reading Skills Lesson Plan: Locating the Main Idea
Student Resource: "Be a Winner in Sports"
Media Type: Article


After completing this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Explain the importance of cooperation, responsibility, and a sense of fair play in competitive activities.
  • Identify physical, mental, and social health benefits of team sports.
  • Apply the reading skill of locating the main idea to an article on winning in sports.

Introducing the Lesson

Download and print pictures of star athletes from different sports, and distribute these among the class. Ask students what these individuals have in common. Elicit that all are great athletes. Have the class form several groups, and challenge each to develop a "star diagram" that lists attributes of a great athlete. To make such a diagram, groups are to write the phrase great athlete at the center of a sheet of paper, then draw lines radiating outward, each terminating in a descriptive word or phrase. Each group member should make a copy of the completed star diagram in his or her health journal.

Reconvene the class, and invite groups to share their star diagrams. List repeated phrases and words on the chalkboard. Most will probably refer to some aspect of physical prowess (e.g., speed, strength) or name a specific skill (e.g., fielding, running, jumping, throwing, etc.).

Teaching Strategies

Have students think about a TV show or film they recently saw. Challenge them to tell in one sentence what the show or film was about. Allow two or three volunteers to speak. Observe that these one-sentence capsule descriptions contain the main idea, or central point, of the film. Add that, without a main idea, a show or movie would make no sense.

Explain that reading passages, like shows, also revolve around a main idea, sometimes called a thesis statement. Note that locating the main idea as quickly as possible is a skill that can improve both reading speed and comprehension, which means understanding what is written.

Reveal that the main idea usually appears near the beginning of a piece of reading. Although it often appears in the first paragraph and/or title, that is not always the case. Illustrate this by handing out copies of the article, and having students silently read the opening paragraph. Instruct them to write a prediction of the article's main idea. Tell them to be prepared to revise their assumption as they continue to read.

After students have completed the reading, you may either use the following as class discussion questions or assign them as individual or group work.

Follow up

  1. Analyzing. In your own words, summarize the main idea of this article. Where in the article did you find information that helped you first identify the main idea?
  2. Evaluating. What is the Vince Lombardi ethic? Review the definition of the term ethic. What is odd about calling this attitude an ethic?
  3. Extending. The article mentions some physical and mental benefits of sports. What other physical and mental benefits can you name? Tell under what circumstances sports can also provide social health benefits. Identify specific sports that do this.
  4. Synthesizing. The article contains a philosophy of winning that consists of three statements. Select one of the three statements. Explain in your own words how this is a recipe for success in any competitive activity.
  5. Critical Thinking. Review the star diagram you copied into your health journal. Is the diagram complete? If not, in what way could it be made complete?
  6. Extending. Imagine overhearing a reader of the article make the following capsule assessment of its main point: "Its main idea is that winning is altogether unimportant." Would you agree with this comment? If not, what might you say in response to this view?

A Winning Collage

With a group, visit sports sites on the Internet or gather sports magazines or newspaper sports sections. Clip images that support the theme "Being a Good Winner," and use these to make a collage. (To use images from the Internet in your collage, right-click on them and use the copy and paste commands to add them to a blank document. Print the images out.)

Paste your images onto a sheet of poster board. Display the collage. Challenge students from other classes to examine your work and identify its main idea.

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