Secondary school resources

Teaching 13-14 year olds to think critically about personal and community health choices.

Classroom resources for engaging young people

Be smart about your health resources are developed with and for lower secondary school teachers and students (13 to 15 year olds). They are free to use, optimised for teachers to access with a smartphone or laptop, (with or without a projector), and work both online and offline. They have been evaluated in randomised trials and shown to have a large, positive effect on students’ learning outcomes.

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Example of teachers' resources

Includes 10 lessons

There are 10 classroom lessons designed to be taught in 40 minute sessions, focusing on one or more of the IHC Key Concepts.

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Example of teachers' resources

Blackboard lesson plans

“Blackboard lesson plans” are optimised for teachers’ use with a smart phone. They are created specifically to accommodate low-tech settings, with low file sizes and offline accessibility.

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Teacher in classroom

Projector lesson plans

For classrooms with access to a projector, “Projector lesson plans” include Google Slides presentations. These can be accessed directly online, or downloaded beforehand. Downloaded presentations can be easily modified by the teacher.

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Example of teachers' resources

Teachers' guide

The Teachers’ guide includes everything teachers need to know about using the lessons plans, including introduction and overview, tips and in-depth descriptions, as well as links to other relevant resources.

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Example of teachers' resources


Printouts are optional resources for teachers and students. They include Teacher summaries, Posters, and Student handouts for each lesson, as well as the Quizzes in lessons 5 and 10.

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Extra resources

The following materials are under the menu item “Extra resources”: Glossary, Examples of health actions, Printouts, Teacher training materials, Teaching strategies (PDF), and Underlying principles.

Teacher training materials

A comprehensive set of presentations for a teachers’ training workshop, covering in-depth introductions to the content and practical guidance for teaching the lessons.

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Example of teachers' resources
Who can use these resources?

Anyone can use these resources for free.

We created them be easy to use in any setting. The learning goals are based on explicit, transparent principles for assessing health claims and thinking critically about choices (a set of IHC Key Concepts), and can therefore be mapped onto existing curricula. We’ve embedded examples of conditions and treatments that are relevant for young people in general, and added an Example collection so teachers can easily find other examples.

All IHC resources are free to adapt for non-commercial use under the following Creative Commons license: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

Contact us if you want to produce an adaptation or translation.

How do we know they are effective?

We evaluated the effect of the resources in randomised trials in Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda in 2022, and analysed the combined results from these three trials. The research shows that these resources demonstrated a clear effect on students ability to assess claims and use that knowledge to make informed choices.

Follow-up studies will explore students’ knowledge and experience after one year. We are also exploring transfer of learning, potential for adverse effects, and issues related to implementation and scaling up in process evaluations (manuscripts under development).

Which Key Concepts are covered?

The following 9 Key Concepts formed the basis of the Be Smart About Your Health resources for secondary schools:

Concepts about claims:

  • Messages that ignore harms
  • Messages that exaggerate effects
  • Trust in personal experiences
  • Belief that commonly-used means effective
  • Belief that new is better
  • Messages with no comparison

Concepts about evidence:

  • Similar comparison groups
  • Small studies

Concepts about choices:

  • Benefits and harms


We chose these by first identifying which Key Concepts were likely relevant and teachable to secondary school students (see: Prioritization of concepts for secondary school), then selecting a set that could be taught in a school term.

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