Activities for a First Grade Dental Health Unit
These dental health activities are perfect for a first grade classroom. They can easily be added to your dental health unit so that it includes lessons for science, math and social studies. Your first graders will have a blast learning about their teeth and dental health.
- Teach your students about baby teeth and permanent teeth. They will love learning why they lose their baby teeth and about the four kinds of permanent teeth that they will have - incisors, cuspids, bicuspids and molars. A great book for teaching all about the teeth is I Know Why I Brush My Teeth by Kate Rowan.
- Have students draw and label the parts of a tooth after learning about them. Another idea is to have them use white and pink clay or play dough to make tooth models.
- After discussing healthy dental habits, have the students make posters about ways to take care of their teeth. Display them in the hallways for other classes to see.
Look here for some preschool science lessons on teeth that can be easily adapted for first graders.
- There are lots of opportunities for graphing activities during a dental health unit. Try some of these tooth related graphs with your first graders:
How Many Teeth Have You Lost?
What Kind of Toothpaste Do You Use? (Send home a sticky note the night before so that they can write it down.)
Do You Floss Every Day?
What Color Is Your Toothbrush?
- Have your students sort foods and drinks that are healthy and unhealthy for your teeth.
- Provide your class with some toothy word problems to solve. Provide dry navy beans for students to use as "tooth" counters for solving the problems. Here are few examples to try:
*If you have 20 baby teeth and then lose them all to end up with 32 permanent teeth. How many more permanent teeth do you have?
*If each of the 18 kids in Mrs. Smith's class have lost 2 teeth, how many teeth have been lost in all?
*If you brush your teeth twice a day every day, how many times do you brush them in one week? two weeks?
*Aidan lost 2 teeth in September, 1 in October and 3 in November. How many teeth has he lost altogether?
- Read books and learn about dentists and dental hygienists. If possible invite a dentist or hygienist to your class to talk about his job and also about good dental health habits. A few good books are ABC Dentist: Healthy Teeth from A to Z by Harriet Ziefert and Going to the Dentist by Anne Civarti.
- Share the book George Washington's Teeth by Deborah Chandra and Madeleine Comora with your class. Your first graders will be fascinated by the tooth woes of our first president and many will be surprised to find out that he did not have wooden teeth. A perfect book for February when we observe both Dental Health Month and President's Day!
All of the books recommended in this article can be found at Amazon.
These dental health activities will turn your first graders into tooth experts!