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Advancing Knowledge toward the Development of an Effective Healthy Beverage Lesson Plan for School-Age Children
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The purpose of this thesis study was to conduct formative research that would ultimately lead to an effective healthy beverage lesson plan for children ages 6-9. Education professionals in the Sparks-Reno area who expressed interest in using a healthy beverage lesson plan served as research participants. This study was conducted in two phases. In Phase I, characteristics of effective lesson plans were explored with study participants (n=9). Semi-structured interviews were conducted with community and school-based education professionals for this purpose. In general, interview questions pertained to the preferred content and organization of lesson plans. Interviews were audio-recorded and later transcribed verbatim. The resulting qualitative data were then sorted into categories and analyzed by two independent coders. Interrater coding agreement was 84%. Findings from this phase of the study indicated that participants perceived that learning activities that went beyond students listening were important in keeping children ages 6-9 engaged. They described a number of nutrition related activities; some of which involved food and beverage ingredients. Other characteristics of effective lessons included colorful visual aids and those with pictures of children opposed to drawings. Participants also mentioned the importance of reviewing the content of the lesson with students. Other findings revealed generally positive opinions of demonstrations, games, and stories as instructional methods. In Phase II, the sample of professionals from the first phase were asked to review the Rethink Your Drink Healthy Beverage Lesson Plan and to complete a survey regarding their opinions of the lesson plan. The survey was administered online using Qualtrics. Results indicated that participants (n=8) had positive opinions of the instructional design of the lesson plan, agreed that it was relevant and appropriate for the intended audience, and found it generally complete and appropriately organized. Finally, participants all reported that they would both use the healthy beverage lesson plan and recommend it to their colleagues. This study gathered valuable information regarding the preferred content and organization of effective lesson plans among educators. Additionally, the results informed the development of a lesson plan that was later viewed positively among the same sample of professionals. The findings of this study are not generalizable to other educators. In addition, it would be of benefit to evaluate the effectiveness of the lesson plan in achieving the stated objectives among a diverse sample of children ages 6-9. In conclusion, this formative research study provided new information that was used to develop a lesson plan on healthy beverages for young, school-age children.