Think of all the people involved in taking care of your teeth! Here’s a lesson plan that works for career day, community helpers lessons, or dental health lessons. It’s intended to help students move beyond the most obvious career choices (such as dentists) and realize how many different jobs there are and how interconnected they are.
You’ll need a ball of yarn or two for this, internet access, and art supplies for making collages (old magazines, glue, paper, scissors, poster board or construction paper).
In fact, begin by asking students to come up with a list of all the jobs involved in dental care.
One group can think about medical professionals who care for teeth:
- ThinkQuest on dental careers
There are also dental insurance workers:
- risk assessors
What about the people who make toothbrushes and toothpaste?
- factory workers
- office workers
- truck drivers
Visit Macleans to get an idea of how toothpaste is made. This is an interactive video suitable for small children, but most students will learn something, and older kids can just move through it more quickly.
Once each group has a list, have each student to choose one of the jobs. Give name tags to each student with the job title written on them.
Now, give a big ball of yarn or string to the student representing the dentist. Have the dentist hold onto the end of the string and then toss the ball of string to another worker with whom the dentist would need to interact. For example, the dentist will need to work directly with the hygienist. The hygienist will then hold onto the strong and toss the ball to a worker with whom he or she would interact, such as an insurance analyst or a toothpaste salesperson who is offering samples for the dental office.
Can you get all the students interconnected? It might take quite a few passes, but you probably can. However, you might want to start another ball of yarn at a different point.
Now, have each student do some research to determine how people prepare for the jobs, and the skills and traits required to succeed at each job.
Finally, have students create collages showing what they’ve learned about the various careers involved in caring for teeth.