Take the Challenge & Take Charge is a preschool through high school media education program designed to reduce excessive entertainment media use and exposure to media violence. The program emphasizes positive uses of technology and includes activities aligned to reading, writing, math, science, and technology standards.
Take the Challenge & Take Charge is available to purchase and download the pdf lesson files, which includes the teacher manual, student materials, parent letters, newsletters, and other support materials.
Early Elementary (Kindergarten – 2nd grade)
These lessons are designed to help students see the connection between their life goals and their screen time. Students begin the process of being scientists and learn how to collect data and create a graph. They revisit their goals and prepare for a screen free week. Students brainstorm ideas for activities to do instead of watching screens. Students learn about creating a Healthy Habit Plan where they bring back entertainment media at levels recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (1 to 2 hours a day). Their final activities include creating products where they share what they have learned.
Upper Elementary (3rd – 5th Grade)
Upper elementary students are able to understand the impact of excessive and violent media on their social and academic lives. They need to develop skills to help them regulate screen time and engage in a healthy lifestyle. The research-based “Take the Challenge & Take Charge” curriculum does just that. It teaches students time management skills. It provides powerful facts and statistics that will cause them to evaluate their feelings about various types of media and challenge them to unplug and engage in enjoyable, healthy alternative activities.
The middle school program integrates media education into math, English, science & social studies. Lessons are divided into content areas so they reinforceeach other and no one teacher does entire unit. The middle school program educates students about the effects of excessive media viewing. Students also conduct their own research and become committed to making changes and educating other students, parents, and community members about media. Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School Research Center for Media and Child Health (CMCH), evaluated the Take the Challenge middle school curriculum.
“The study showed that the intervention was successful at reducing students’ TV viewing and TV viewing during meals significantly decreased. Results also showed that the amount of time spent playing outside, sleeping and exercising significantly increased in the invention group and media time overall was reduced. According to teacher reports, students in the intervention group stayed on task and completed their homework more while there was little to no change in the comparison group.” (Bickham, David, Efficacy of a School Based Intervention to Reduce Screen Media Time for 6th-8th Graders, Evaluation Report).
The High School Take the Challenge program includes a research unit with 15 lessons that can be integrated into any subject, e.g., health, science, English Language Arts, Social Studies, etc. Lessons can also be divided and taught in different subjects. This curriculum can also be used at the Middle School level with minimal adaptations to the lessons.