Global Learning London

Healthy Living UK

Healthy Living UK: growing, cooking, playing…

A series of lessons encompassing the healthy living themes of growing, cooking and playing – all with a UK theme.  Could be useful to compare and contrast with the same themes from a Ghanaian perspective in the previous scheme of work.  You could exchange this work with a school partnership in Ghana.   

Growing…. wheat

It is easy to grow wheat in school, whether you have a school garden or not. The best time to plant the seed is during the spring (from end of February) so pupils can see the wheat grow throughout the summer. As you will only need a small amount of seed, ask a local farmer for a couple of handfuls, if possible, or contact a seed merchant for information about where to source a local seed stock.

School garden or allotment: If you have an area in the school garden where the wheat could be planted, make sure the ground has been cleared and turned. Plant the wheat in rows by digging ditches about 5–7cm deep. Scatter the seed in the ditch and cover with soil. Keep the soil moist (watering may be necessary if it is very dry). The shoots should be visible within a couple of weeks and will look like grass! The plants will then develop a ‘head’, which will be green at first and turn golden and then beige when ready to harvest.

Pot growing: If you do not have an outdoor garden area, wheat can be successfully grown in large tubs (a bucket with holes drilled in the bottom). Fill the container, to within 10 cm of the top, with soil or compost (peat free). Scatter the wheat seed and then cover with 5cm of soil/compost. Ensure the soil is kept moist and the pot in placed in a sunny, sheltered position outside. The shoots should be visible within a couple of weeks and will look like grass! The plants will then develop a ‘head’, which will be green at first and turn golden and then beige when ready to harvest.

Harvest the crop by cutting the wheat at the base of the long stalks. Ask the pupils to separate the stalks from the seeds (kernels). Discuss possible uses of both. Encourage pupils to have a go at grinding the kernels, using a pestle and mortar, to make flour. Perhaps make some bread in class or visit a bakery to complete the activity.

Cooking……Variation on Scottish bannock bread for cooking on a campfire

Simple to make – four basic ingredients and only one bowl to wash!  Can be cooked over a campfire or pan fried in a skillet.


2-3 cups of flour

1-2 tbsps baking powder

1 tsp salt (optional)

2-3 tbsp oil, butter or lard

2/3 cup of warm water.


  1. Put everything but the water in a bowl and mix with your fingers until crumbly.
  2. Slowly add water and mix until the dough feels soft.
  3. It may seem that you don’t have enough water, but keep working until the dough holds together (don’t add more water!).
  4. Take a small handful and wrap around the clean end of a green stick (like a marshmallow roast).
  5. Knead it, so it stays together.
  6. Cook over coals for about 10-12 minutes, rotating it so it cooks evenly.
  7. Eat! – or add a bit of jam or honey.

Playing….. English Country Dancing  

Country dancing is tradition, social and celebratory.  It involves following set patterns and dancing in formation.  Dancing is both physically active, promoting fitness, and also enables pupils to cover National Curriculum requirements for dance and music.  It also provides opportunities for pupils to respond to rhythms and phrasing of music and learn formation, figures, physical co-ordination, develop team-work and take and give instructions.

It might be worth getting hold of a resource pack of instructions and music.  “Up the sides and down the middle” by Eddie Upton and Lyn Paine has teachers’ notes and music on CD. This could be used as your teaching resource, or you could use the CD alone as a music resource.   (This resource includes a Welsh, Irish and Scottish dance).  Country dancing can be performed in lines, in “sets” (small groups) or in a circle. The following lesson ideas are for a circle dance.


  • Explore ways of travelling around the room in time to the music. Possible ways of travelling in time to the beat would be skipping, galloping, side-stepping. If you want to teach polka step it is one, two, three, hop.  When the children have mastered this as individuals, they join with a partner.
  • Practice clapping in time whilst standing in your circle. Count to eight, and then start again. The children can have fun at this stage, making up their own actions. They could take turns to go into the middle and perform their actions, whilst their classmates clap and count to keep time.

Main lesson – Taught dance, large circle or circles made up of any number of pairs (taken from Up the Sides and Down the Middle)

  • Circle to the left for 8 beats using any chosen step, then circle to the right for 8 beats.
  • Promenade (walk holding hands) round in an anticlockwise direction with your partner for 8 beats and back again.
  • Hold hands with your partner and swing (twirl together holding both hands) on the spot for 8 beats.
  • Begin all over again!

Once your class have learned one taught dance and understood the basic principles the fun really begins as they can go on to create their own versions with traditional (and not-so-traditional) moves of their own choosing. This is probably best done in smaller groups (or sets) of 6-8.

A list of written instructions on a variety of English Country Dances:

Healing plants  

Share the grid below with your learners.  It names some of the most common healing plants in the UK. Many years ago someone in every village would have known how to use these plants to help people with minor ailments.  Do your learners know anyone today who knows how to use plants to heal?

Click below for the PDF version