Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Growing Old

Shirley Godbold
Walton County Schools


This is a simulation activity whereby students experience problems the elderly face daily in their lives, such as loss of sight, hearing, taste, smell, mobility/dexterity and touch.


The student knows how priorities, changing abilities, and responsibilities influence setting health goals (eg., conducting a needs assessment).

The student knows how expanding abilities, independence, and responsibilities associated with maturation influence personal behavior.


-Young and Old: In My Opinion (See Associated File)
-Simulation: Being Old (See Associated File)
-Setting Up the Stations (See Associated File)
-Aging Questions (See Associated File)

Station 1
-Reading glasses
-Petroleum jelly
-Small-eyed needle
-Blunt-end scissors
(Be sure you account for the needle and scissors at the end of each group's rotation.)

Station 2
-Short newspaper/magazine article

Station 3
-Unsalted crackers
-Flavored drink mix such as Kool-aid

Station 4
-6 Small containers of spices such as cloves, cinnamon, vanilla, etc.

Station 5
-2 Rolls of masking tape
-2 Pairs of rubber gloves
-2 Elastic knee bandages
-Small pair of shoes with laces
-3 Small buttons

Station 6
-Textures such as glass, satin, paper and wood


1. Gather all materials.
2. Duplicate file attachments.
3. Set up stations with materials and directions from file.


1. Class starts with a discussion provided by students' opinions from the survey Young and Old: In My Opinion. (See Associated File) Have students complete the survey with “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree” responses. Then discuss as a class their overall opinion of aging and the elderly.

2. Have students move, in groups, through 6 stations to participate in a simulation of growing old. (See Simulation: Being Old in the associated file for complete directions.)

3. At each station, have the groups read the information provided and follow the directions.
Then they discuss the reaction questions at each station.

4. Station 1 involves the loss of the sense of sight. Students try to thread a small-eyed needle while looking through reading glasses smeared with petroleum jelly.

5. Station 2 involves the loss of the sense of hearing. While wearing earphones, each student listens to a group member read a provided newspaper article.

6. Station 3 involves the loss of the sense of taste. Students taste the unsalted crackers and the sugarless drink mix.

7. Station 4 involves the loss of the sense of smell. Students close their eyes and pinch their noses. Then they attempt to identify the items in each jar. (Fill the jars with spices such as cloves, cinnamon, vanilla beans, etc.)

8. Station 5 involves the loss of mobility and dexterity. The students wrap their knees with the elastic bandages and wrap their fingers, particularly the thumb and index fingers with masking tape. Then they put on the plastic gloves provided and tie the laces on the small shoe into a bow. With their fingers still wrapped with the masking tape, wearing plastic gloves and their knees wrapped with the elastic bandages, each student bends down to pick up the small buttons from the floor.

9. Station 6 involves the loss of the sense of touch. While wearing a blindfold and rubber gloves, students identify the textures and objects provided.

10. After completing all 6 stations, students write individual paragraphs to explain how the experiences have affected their attitude about the following statements:
a) Older people are often thought of as physically and/or mentally impaired.
b) With a knowledge of the effects of aging, one can compensate for the process of aging.

11. Use the Aging Questions provided in the associated file to guide the class discussion. Be sure to emphasize the following during the discussion:
a. What problems have you noticed that the elderly population sometimes has in our society?
b. How might you prevent yourself from facing these same problems as you grow older?
c. What medical help can you seek, even as a young person, to assure yourself of being healthy as an elderly person?
d. What can you do to help someone you might come in contact with, who is elderly and might have some of the loss of senses that you discovered last class period.

12. Students then write a paragraph explaining 3 ways they can better their own aging process.


Student assessment includes participantion in the Young and Old: In My Opinion survey worksheet, answers to the station reaction questions, an individual paragraph summarizing the student's attitude concerning the process of aging, and answers to the aging questions. Each student also writes a reflection paragraph discussing three things that can be done to delay or compensate for the aging process in his/her life. This is a formative assessment and students who are having trouble stating goals or assuming responsibilities for their own maturation process or changing abilities will need further feedback and instructions.
Return to the Beacon Lesson Plan Library.