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Lesson Plan: Exploring Type 1 Diabetes

Objective: To help students understand the basics of Type 1 Diabetes, its management, and how to support friends or family members with the condition.


Whiteboard, markers, or interactive screen
Printed handouts with simplified diagrams explaining insulin and blood sugar
Glucose meter (optional for demonstration)
Index cards for interactive activity

Lesson Outline:

Introduction (10 minutes)

1. Icebreaker: Start with an engaging activity or question related to diabetes, like “What do you know about diabetes?” or “Have you ever heard of Type 1 Diabetes?”

2. Definition and Overview:
Explain what Type 1 Diabetes is in simple terms. Use visuals or diagrams to illustrate how the body normally processes sugar with insulin and how it differs in someone with Type 1 Diabetes.

Understanding Type 1 Diabetes (15 minutes)

3. Causes and Differences: Discuss the causes of Type 1 Diabetes (autoimmune condition) and the differences between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes. Highlight that Type 1 Diabetes isn’t caused by diet or lifestyle choices.

4. Symptoms and Daily Life: Describe common symptoms and how managing diabetes impacts daily life, including insulin injections, monitoring blood sugar levels, and maintaining a balanced diet.

Managing Type 1 Diabetes (15 minutes)

5. Medication and Monitoring: Explain how insulin works, different methods of insulin delivery (pens, pumps), and demonstrate how a glucose meter works (if available).

6. Diet and Exercise: Discuss the importance of healthy eating and regular exercise in managing blood sugar levels.

Supporting Friends or Family Members (10 minutes)

7. Being Supportive: Talk about ways to support someone with Type 1 Diabetes. Encourage empathy, understanding, and how to help if someone experiences low or high blood sugar.

Interactive Activity (15 minutes)

8. Role Play or Scenario Cards: Divide students into groups and give them index cards with scenarios related to diabetes management. Ask each group to come up with solutions or ways to help in each situation.

Conclusion (5 minutes)

9. Recap: Summarize the key points discussed during the lesson. Please encourage students to ask any remaining questions or share their thoughts.

Take-Home Activity: Provide handouts with fun facts or a simple quiz about Type 1 Diabetes for students to complete at home.

Homework/Extension (Optional): Ask students to interview a family member or friend who has experience with Type 1 Diabetes, encouraging them to learn more about their daily routines and challenges.

Three Activities to Help Children 8-13 Understand Type 1 Diabetes

Activity 1: The Insulin Game

Objective: To demonstrate how insulin helps regulate blood sugar levels.


Large chart paper or whiteboard
Sticky notes or labels


Preparation: Create a simple diagram on the chart paper or whiteboard representing the body, focusing on the pancreas and insulin.
Explain: Introduce the concept of insulin and its role in the body to regulate blood sugar levels.
Game Rules: Divide students into teams. Provide each team with sticky notes or labels representing glucose molecules.
Simulation: Have one student from each team place the glucose molecules (sticky notes) on the body diagram while others take turns being the insulin. The insulin (students) should remove the glucose molecules to regulate the blood sugar level by “tagging” the glucose molecules.
Discussion: After the game, discuss how insulin manages blood sugar and the importance of keeping blood sugar levels balanced.

Activity 2: Balanced Plate Challenge

Objective: To emphasize the significance of a balanced diet in managing Type 1 Diabetes.


Images or cards representing various food groups
Poster board or large paper
Glue, markers


Introduction: Explain the importance of a balanced diet in managing blood sugar levels.
Group Work: Divide students into groups. Give them images or cards representing different food groups (carbohydrates, proteins, vegetables, fruits, etc.).
Task: Have each group create a balanced meal plan on the poster board using the food group cards. Encourage them to consider the impact of each food group on blood sugar levels.
Presentation: Each group presents their meal plan, explaining how their choices contribute to a balanced diet for someone with Type 1 Diabetes.
Discussion: Facilitate a discussion about the importance of balanced meals and how they affect blood sugar levels.

Activity 3: Blood Sugar Rollercoaster

Objective: To illustrate the effects of high and low blood sugar levels on the body.


Large graph paper or whiteboard
Index cards with symptoms of high and low blood sugar


Preparation: Draw a graph on the paper or whiteboard representing blood sugar levels.
Explain: Introduce the symptoms of high and low blood sugar levels to the students.
Simulation: Assign students different symptoms and have them stand in line according to the blood sugar level (high or low) they represent.
Rollercoaster Ride: Ask the students to mimic the rollercoaster of blood sugar levels by moving up and down on the graph as their symptoms indicate.
Discussion: After the activity, discuss how different symptoms feel and why managing blood sugar levels is important.

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