Building Healthy Relationships

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We develop many relationships throughout our lives, whether they are between family, friends to dating partners. In this challenge activity, students are encouraged to think about the elements that compose healthy relationships.

Sculpture Title:   Engagement

Learning Lens:   Health and Social Education

Curriculum Access:   Career and Personal Planning, Physical Education, English, Social Studies, Social Justice, Counseling/Psychology

BIG IDEA:   Relationships

Guiding Question:   How can I create successful relationships?

Strategies and Approaches:  Senses, physical activity, Socratic Questioning, prompting, experiential learning, team building

Background for Students:  In Canada, approximately 89% of teens will have been in a romantic relationship. Approximately 40% of Canadian teens know another teen that has been in an emotionally or physically abusive relationship. Today, divorce rates are at an all time high. Nevertheless, the engagement ring industry is booming. Men often save up 3 months of their salary to pay for a ring; 15% even take out a loan. Roughly 28% of women would even turn down the proposal if the ring wasn’t to their taste. Dennis Oppenheim uses Pop Art to get his viewers to think about life. In this piece he examines relationships. Please refer to Learning from Art Section - Engagement for more information. As a precursor or follow up activity encourage students to find relationship statistics. 

Materials:   Blindfolds and obstacle course items

Curricular Challenge:

15-20 mins, Open/Reflect: Welcoming Multiple Interpretations
Students are encouraged to disengage from their recent experience and their busy surroundings to practice Mindfulness.
Direct students to “mindfully” (quietly/individually) explore the piece and develop their own interpretation. More information on mindfulness for the classroom can be found through
Direct each student to share their interpretation of the piece without judgement.
Connect students’ individual interpretations to the background information provided above.

35 mins, Activity: Blindfolded “Race Car” Obstacle Course
Review expectations about respect because students will be making contact and will be blindfolded.
2.      Break students into groups of three as follows: one person will be blindfolded (they will be the “car”) and a second person will be the race car “driver.” The third person will be the observer.
The race car drivers will place their hands on the backs of the cars' shoulders and silently guide the race cars using only taps.
•    Tap on the left shoulder = turn left
•    Tap on the right shoulder = turn right
•    Tap on the head means accelerate (multiple taps can increase acceleration)
•    Tap on mid back means slow down
Allow the teams to practise maneuvering around the sculpture building trust, communication, and familiarity with the task.
Have each pair maneuver through the obstacle course. The next pair may enter the obstacle course once the previous pair has completed the race. If time allows have pairs switch roles. 

10 mins, Debrief:
Via conversation, debrief students on their recent experience with trust, communication and respect. Ask them to list characteristics of healthy and unhealthy relationships.  Ask them how their recent experience can contribute towards building healthy relationships? Potential answers: healthy relationships are fun, they involve an equal amount of give and take, and they make you feel good about yourself because they're open to communication, sharing, respect and trust. Reinforce that relationships can include family, friends and dating partners.

Building Healthy Relationships


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Authors: Tiana Blouin, Jessica Eguia
Editor: Terry Howe, Sydney Massey
Photo: Dan Fairchild