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Judy Peng


Winter 2004

Unit Overview


This unit is designed to last approximately two weeks.  The unit will focus on issues dealing with nutrition.  Nutrition is a very important subject that all students should be familiar with.  With increasing health problems in our world today, young students need to understand the importance of applying proper nutritional values to their daily life.  Although this unit is designed for fourth to fifth graders, it can be implemented into earlier elementary curriculum.  It should also be implemented throughout the school year and in later grades as nutritional recommendations changes year to year.  This learning experience will fit into the curriculum of Health Science and possibly Science as well.  Although the unit is designed around Health Science, it incorporates language art, physical activities, as well as mathematic skills.

            Helping students get an early start in a healthy lifestyle can help the prevention of future health risks.  Students will learn the importance of a healthy diet, what makes up a healthy diet and why.  The topic of nutrition may not seem exciting and “fun” but with the right type of activities, students will be able to learn through games and play.  This unit incorporates some self-discovery, as students will be given a chance to evaluate their own daily food choices.  This unit is also designed to involve a good deal of student-directed discussions about food items and their nutritional values.  Through the discussions and activities involved in this unit, students will be ale to get started on a life long practice of healthy eating habit. 

Learning Goals of This Unit


  1. Students will be able to make the connections between health and food choices
  2. Students will be able to distinguish between “good/healthy” foods and “bad/unhealthy” foods and make sound food choices.
  3. Students will learn about the guidelines Food Guide Pyramid and how to use it in their daily eating habits.
  4. Students will learn the six classes of nutrients found in food and the roles they play in nutrition.
  5. Students will be able to evaluate their own eating habits and/or food choices and make adjustments needed.


Instructional Overview


The unit is designed to help students to get an earlier start on a good food choices and healthy eating habits.  As more and more households becoming two-income families, many families often over look the importance of a nutritionally balanced diet/meal and rely heavily on pre-packaged foods.  This unit will hopefully help the students to start looking at how what they eat can impact their lives.  Hopefully it will at least help them make better selections with the snacks they eat (a meal they have more control of) and appreciate the meals (including the broccolis and brussels sprouts) their parents and schools prepare for them. 

            The design of the unit starts with a concept about food choices and then students will be allowed to come back to their initial thoughts after several lessons on nutrition and nutritional concepts.  Many lessons / activities are designed for students to start with a discussion followed by an evaluation.  The format of the discussions and evaluations are self-directed and/or student-directed.  The discussions usually will follow a lesson or two on the food choices, Food Guide Pyramid, and nutrients.  The lessons are tools which will help students to be actively involved in their discussions to fully comprehend the topics.  Other than the student discussions, the unit involves a record keeping of the students’ food intake, a relay activity, a puzzle/math activity, and a creative group project.  All of the above activities will help the concepts come to life and hopefully make this “not-so-fun” subject about nutrition more playful and engaging. 

            Much of the activities involve cooperative learning.  Students will be working in groups not only in their culminating group project to design a healthy menu but also in the nutrient puzzle/math activity and the Food Guide Pyramid Relay.  Cooperative learning will help students form a teamwork environment as well as appreciation for each other.  As discussed earlier, the unit involves several student-directed discussions.  These discussions will give students the chance to provide their inputs rather than just listening to the teacher lecturing.  The students will have to opportunity to learn from each other rather than just the teacher.  It will also help foster good listening and communication skills as well as critical thinking skills. 

            Since the unit is designed around a lot of student-directed discussions and group activities, the role of the teacher is mostly a facilitator – of new information and support.  The teacher will introduce some basic information but the students will actively be involved in the process of understanding / learning of these concepts by their discussions and hands-on activities.  There will be one or two lessons that start out as teacher-centered but the follow-up activities that are normally more engaging on the students’ part.  In their final presentation to make a “healthy menu”, the role of the teacher is entirely a supporter and facilitator.  Students will be given the opportunity to use their creativity, cooperative learning skills, and full understanding of nutrition to create the menu and be able to explain their choices. 

            Each lesson in this unit is connected with each other and builds on top of each other.  The first lesson begins with an introduction to the reason behind good food choices followed by a lesson on the Food Guide Pyramid.  Following the Food Guide Pyramid lesson and the physical activity, the value of nutrients will be introduced which involves a puzzle/math activity to reinforce the concept.  These lessons are the unit’s knowledge and comprehension learning models (Bloom taxonomy).  After the two lessons on the Food Guide Pyramid and nutrients, students will be given a chance to evaluate themselves and their food choices first through the list they had made on what they thought were “good” foods versus “bad” food.  Here, students will apply what they’ve learned about Food Guide Pyramid and nutrients to help them evaluate their initial choices of good versus bad foods.  This lesson is designed around application and analysis learning model according to the Bloom taxonomy.  After being able to evaluate their food list, they will evaluate their own food choices through a record keeping of a Food Diary.  This application / analysis lesson (Bloom taxonomy) deals with a little of self-discovery where students can analyze something about themselves and make sound critiques based on their knowledge about nutrition.

            Finally the culminating activity of the lesson is a group project (an analysis and synthesis learning model), where students will work together to create a “healthy menu” consisting of three meals (at least one must be a cultural/ethnic food nature) and a snack.  They will have a chance to be creative with the “dishes” they create or compile.  Students will set up “restaurants” presenting their menu for the class and teacher to view.  A report will accommodate the menu explaining their choices and how does the Food Guide Pyramid and nutrient values come in play in their menus. 

            Initial lessons involve much of hands-on activity and/or lively discussions in class with teacher as the facilitator.  However, for the culminating project, students will be given time in class to work in groups to prepare for their menus.  At this time, the teacher will not give formal instruction but only to assist in anyway the students need.  Time allowed for preparation of the menu will depend on the “elaborateness” the teacher would like to see the project constructed.  However, two to three days should be more than sufficient. 

            The lessons of this unit build on top of each other and are often referred to for all the consequent / proceeding lessons.    This unit is designed to followed indirect instructional methods involving much of deductive reasoning skills (i.e. students being able to use concepts of nutrients and Food Guide Pyramid to make sound evaluation of their food choices which hopefully will be their guideless for long term food choices) and some inductive reasoning (i.e. being able to relate bad eating habit to health problems prompting them to engage in healthier eating habits).  This form of instruction is appropriate for students to learn about a concept that they can to apply in their daily life.  The unit not only will teach students about nutrition but also community building, cooperative learning, self-discovery, and build communication and critical thinking skills. 

Assessment Overview


This unit involves various ways of assessment.  Student learning will be informally and formally assessed.  Assessment methods that will be utilized include observations of students’ involvement in the discussions about food choices, observation of the relay and puzzle activities, a graded handout/quiz, a graded food diary and report, and a graded menu project.  Informal assessments include the observations of discussions about food choices (did they use concepts we learned about Food Guide Pyramid and/or nutrients to assess the quality of food).  Student involvement in the discussion will also be observed and assessed as well as their response to other students’ reasoning.  This includes students’ active participation, excitement about the topic, and ability to reason their responses using knowledge learned through the unit.  Teacher will do very little talking except to prompt students to provide inputs and guide the students to actively discuss, to agree (and why) and to disagree (and why).  Personal communication with the students after lunchtime about what they had for lunch and whether they feel the lunch was nutritious will also be part of the informal assessment of student learning.  All of the above will help teacher to assess students’ basic understanding of food choices relating to nutrients and Food Guide Pyramid and their reasoning skills.  Informal assessment of the relay and puzzle/math activities involves the teacher double-checking whether the puzzle was completed correctly as laid out in the guidelines and/or handouts.  This will help the teacher to assess whether the students can recreate the information given to them.  No grades will be given for the completeness of the puzzle and relay.  These lessons are designed to help students to engage in an activity that will help reinforce the concepts though games and play.

Formal assessments (by means of grades) will be utilize on the quiz and/or handouts for the Food Guide Pyramid and nutrients to help the teacher to assess whether the students have retain the information as well as the effectiveness of the activities.  This assessment will also help the teacher to assess, if any, what concepts need to be clarified before moving on to the food diary and the culminating group project. 

            The food diary will also be formally assessed based on: 1) completeness (including all three meals in a day), 2) applications of the Food Guide Pyramid, and 3) applications of the nutrient content to the food items they ate.  The report due for the diary will be assessed based on 1) students’ self-evaluation utilizing concepts learned about nutrients, 2) students’ self-evaluation utilizing concepts learned about Food Guide Pyramid, and 3) students’ “improvement plan” utilizing concepts learned about Food Guide Pyramid and nutrients.  The assessment for this assignment will help the teacher to see if students can apply what they know about nutrition into their daily life.  More points will be given to the self-evaluation portion followed by the application of the Food Guide Pyramid and nutrient concepts to the food items in the diary, and finally the completeness of the diary. 

            The purpose of the self-evaluation report is not to make students to be self-conscious about their eating habit but to help student realize that they have the power/ability to control what they eat by knowing good choices from bad choices.  The report will help students realize the importance of a healthy diet.  It will also provide them a chance to make an improvement plan.  The ideas behind the improvement are: 1) students being able to synthesize new behaviors through newly gained knowledge and 2) students realizing that they possess the power to change something that might not have been the ideal to something that is better for them through the power of knowledge.  This assignment will hopefully help prevent problems such as anorexia and bulimic that are emerging in increasing numbers in young children. 

            Finally, formal and final assessment will be made for the culminating menu project.  This project should be inclusive of all the information / concepts learned in this unit.  The assessment will follow a rubric provided to the students at the start of the project.  Students will be instructed that they will assessed on: 1) group member contribution to the project (did everyone do their part for the project, did everyone contributed equally), 2) content (complete 3 meals and snack with at least one meal being of ethnic / cultural nature, did each meal have nutrient contents labeled properly, does the menu satisfy the guidelines of the Food Guide Pyramid), 3) visual (are the menu easy to read – large text font, are the pictures/images depicting the meal accurately), and finally 4) creativity (anything goes: basically, every student will receive full credit for this but they won’t know in advance).

            Only the formal assessments (quiz/handout, food diary, and menu project) will translate into grades.  The quiz/handout will receive a grade weighing 1/6th of the final grade, the food diary will receive a grade weighing 1/3rd of the final grade, and the menu will receive a grade weighing ½ of the final grade.  Whereas the quiz/handout and the food diary and its report are individual grades, the menu report will be a group grade.  In the case that some students were not able to clearly reason/evaluate their food diary, they will have the opportunity to sit in a smaller group (rather than the classroom discussions) and discuss with other students in their group what makes a good food, what is its nutrient content, and where does it fit on the Food Guide Pyramid.  This will help reinforce the concepts and since the group project weighs more than the quiz and the food diary, it can help bring up a lower grade for any student. 

            The purpose of the graded Food Diary and report and the culminating project is not to place judgment on the students’ eating habit or artistic ability but whether they can put the knowledge they learned into daily practices.  What is good about this unit is that students can see that things that they learn in school actually are relevant to their lives.  




Assessment Instrument












Group Participation




Level 3

·   3 meals & snack in menu w/ >1cultural/ethnic dish


·   Nutrient contents listed for all dishes (in menu & report)


·   Satisfied the food guide pyramid 100% (explained in report)


20 pts

·   All members of group consistently contributed in the physical construction of the menu and report and provided ideas and input


·   All members of the group consistently work cooperatively and listen to each other's input


10 pts

·   Text is X, 20 < X < 16pt for menu and 12pt for report


·   Have images/pictures for all dishes





5 pts

·   Creative names for dishes


·   Creative menu layout






5 pts


Level 2

·   < 3 meals & snack in menu w/ >1cultural/ethnic dish


·   Nutrient contents listed for < 3 meals (in menu & report)


·   Satisfied the food guide pyramid 80% (explained in report)


16 pts

·   All members contributed in the physical construction of the menu and report with most of the members providing inputs and ideas


·   All members usually work cooperatively and listen to each other's input


8 pts

·    Text is not X, 20 < X < 16pt for menu and 12pt for report


·    Have images/pictures for 80% of dishes





3 pts



Level 1

·   < 2meals & snack in menu or no cultural/ethnic dish


·   Nutrient content for < 2 meals (in menu & report)


·   Satisfied the food guide pyramid 60% (explained in report)


14 pts

·   Most members contribute in the physical construction of the menu and report with only some members providing ideas and input


·   Members sometimes work cooperatively and listen to each other's input


7 pts

·    Text is not X, 20 < X < 16pt for menu and 12pt for report


·    Have images/pictures for 50% of dishes





2 pts



Level 0

·   No menu

·   No report



0 pts                                                       

·   No contribution from any member

·   No cooperation among group members


0 pts

·    Text is not X, 20 < X < 16pt for menu and 12pt for report

·    No images

0 pts

·   No name for dishes

·   No specific layout


0 pts




Text Box: 1.	Introduction to Healthy Food Choices

2.	Food Diary

3.	Food Guide Pyramid

4.	Nutrients

5.	Nutrient Puzzle

6.	Menu Design Project

Lesson Plan #1 (Unit: Nutrition)


Introduction to Healthy Food Choices



The student will understand the importance of good food choices in relations to health.



      The student will

·         Distinguish bad eating habits following a video clip of “The Simpsons”.


·         Outline a list of food which they believe are healthy and explain why.


·         Evaluate their choices of food as either healthy/good or unhealthy / bad based pm nutrient content and / or guidelines of the Food Guide Pyramid.






Anticipatory set:


The student will watch a short clip from the familiar cartoon, “The Simpsons” where Homer Simpson is rushed to the hospital due for surgery (triple bypass) because of his diet.  The clip shows an x-ray of Homer’s heart where it is dangerously clogged with plaque and DONUT residues.  After the clip, the teacher and students will discuss Homer’s health conditions: being out of his ideal weight range, the lack of exercise, and specifically lack of a healthy diet and / or eating habit.  Direct the students’ discussion to especially include the idea that Homer’s state of health is primarily due to his eating habit – he eats too much donuts and junk food and he doesn’t eat proper meals that Marge cooks for him.  Since Homer has all these healthy complications, he can’t do all the interesting things like play ball or jump rope without losing his breath.  His conditions are so bad that he had to have his heart cut open!




After the anticipatory set, students should see how poor food selection could be detrimental.  Following the discussion, the teacher will have students make a list of “healthy/good” foods and a separate list of “unhealthy/bad” foods on the large butcher papers: using bright colors for “good foods” and dark colors for “bad foods”.  For each item, have students briefly explain why they think the food is good or bad.  Hang the posters up somewhere so the students can see them throughout the course of the unit and let students know that they can contribute to it whenever they think of something else.


After the lessons on the Food Guide Pyramid and nutrients (lessons #3 – 5), go back to the posters and have students evaluate their choices and see if any of them need to be moved to the other posters or if anything else can be added.  The evaluation process should include the nutrient contents in the food items as well as where they belong on the Food Guide Pyramid. This process can be done either after both lessons or after each lesson.





  1. Through an informal assessment of class discussion, students will be assessed on their understanding of good/healthy food choices and their benefits by their selections of good and bad goods as well as their own evaluation of the food items using nutrient contents and / or guidelines of Food Guide Pyramid.


Lesson Plan #2 (Unit: Nutrition)


Food Diary



The student will know what makes up good food choices.



      The student will:

·         Evaluate / judge the food on the food list from lesson #1 based on nutrient contents and guidelines of Food Guide Pyramid to see if their original judgment of food choices was correct.


·         Distinguish “good food choices” and “bad food choices” from their food list evaluation.


·         Record their food intake in a food diary and evaluate their food choices based on nutrient contents and guidelines of Food Guide Pyramid to see if their original judgment was correct.





Anticipatory set:


            Teacher should address the students’ attention of the list of good and bad food they’ve made in lesson #1 – good food choices.




            Following the lesson on good food choices, students will be instructed to keep a “Food Diary” for the next two – three days (while lessons #3 - #5 are being taught).  The Food Diary will consist of three columns, column one: “FOOD”, column two: “Food Guide Pyramid”, and column three: “NUTRIENTS”.  The student can then begin to fill out the first column with what they had for breakfast.  To get started, students should begin filling out the first column with what they had for breakfast that day during this lessons and right after lunch period to get the students use to jotting things down in their Food Diary.


            After two - three days of diary keeping (after the lessons on Food Guide Pyramid and nutrients) students should be given time to fill out the Food Guide Pyramid and nutrient section if they haven’t already (after the lessons on Food Guide Pyramid and nutrient, the teacher should have asked the students to add in their diary for each column discussed).  One final discussion about the food list will help them begin evaluating what is “good food” and what is “bad food” (using nutrient content and guidelines of Food Guide Pyramid) for the report. The report will be an evaluation of their own food choices for the past two – three days.  The report will include (but not limited to) the following:

·         Would they say that their eating habit or food choice is good / healthy or bad?

o        If yes, why?  What nutrients were in the food they ate?  Do all the meals combined satisfy the guidelines of the Food Guide Pyramid each day?

o        If not, why?  Were there too little nutrients in the food they ate?  Was the Food Guide Pyramid guidelines not fulfilled at least by 80%?

o        Were the food they received from school and parents better than the snacks they picked themselves (optional)?


·         Would they improve their food choices or would they keep it the same?

o        If improvements needed, why and how – what food items would they add and what would they eliminate?  How would that make it “good food choices” from bad food choices?

o        If no improvements needed, why?


Teacher should also remind the students to use the “good” and “bad” food list they made to help with their evaluation.




  1. Informal assessment will be made according to the students’ discussion and evaluation of the food lists to assess whether students can gather information they have learned about the Food Guide Pyramid and nutrients to derive their evaluation and / or conclusion.


  1. Formal assessment will be made from the food diary and their evaluation report as to their understanding of what makes up a “healthy food choice” – looking specifically in their improvement plan for proper amount of nutrient and following the guidelines of the Food Guide Pyramid.

Food Item,Nutrients,FGP 


Lesson Plan #3 (Unit: Nutrition)


Food Guide Pyramid



The student will learn about the guidelines of the Food Guide Pyramid.



      The student will

·         Place food groups in their proper position on the Food Guide Pyramid during a relay activity.


·         Correctly select the suggested serving number of each food group on a Food Guide Pyramid during a relay activity.


·         Evaluate their food list from lesson #1 using the Food Guide Pyramid.






·               The teacher should construct an empty Food Guide Pyramid (without the food groups) on a large cardboard (60” x 45”) with several Velcro to attach things to. 

·               The teacher should construct the different food items on separate cardboards with Velcro on the back so they may be attached to the empty pyramid.

·               Teacher should also construct strips that read different “serving sizes” i.e. “2 – 4 servings” with Velcro to attach to the pyramid. 

Anticipatory set:

                        The teacher will go back to the food list from lesson #1 and pose the question “why some food are good and why some are not”.  The teacher would address the fact that some foods fall into certain “groups” of food that we should always have in our daily food intake.  For this lesson, students will learn about these food groups so that they can come back to the list to judge whether the foods they thought were good are really good or vice versa.



At the beginning of the demonstration, teacher should have all the pieces placed on the pyramid, as it would be in a Food Guide Pyramid.  The teacher should explain each food groups and the servings we should eat everyday (one serving = size of the fist).  Direct the students’ attention to the pyramid shape.  Discuss with student why they think it’s in a pyramid – because the larger servings are on the bottom (Grain group: 6 – 11 servings) and it shrinks as you go up on the pyramid.  Have students to name some examples in each food group.

            Provide students with a handout (see attached Handout #2) of the Food Guide Pyramid.  Have them be familiarize with it for the Food Guide Pyramid Relay.  The classroom should be adjusted so that the tables and chairs are pushed to the sides leaving the room clear.  The students are then divided into teams (2 – 3) and each team will select 6 representatives as “runners”.  They will take one picture of either a food group or serving size and run up to the empty pyramid and place it in the right spot.  Only one student can run up at any given time with only one picture in their hands.  Students who are not running are encourage to shout out the answers to help the runner but they cannot touch the runner or the pyramid items.  Only one team will go at one time.  The team that gets the correct answers in the shortest amount of time wins. 

            At the end of the relay, the teacher should address the students’ attention back to the food list they’ve made from lesson #1.  Here, the students will discuss what food group are the food they’ve listed a part of.  They will evaluate whether they: 1) are missing any food groups on their list, 2) can they add any more food items, and 3) need to switch some food items from one list to the other.  If a Food Diary is kept, the teacher should prompt the students to fill out the second section of the Food Diary following this activity.  The student will record what food group do the foods they’ve had so far belong to and how many servings they’ve had (1serving = size of fist).



  1. Informal assessment will be made during the relay according to students’ speed in placing each food group in their proper spot on the Food Guide Pyramid to assess the students’ comprehension of the Food Guide Pyramid properties.


  1. Informal assessment will be made from students’ discussion as to what food groups are represented on their food list to assess students’ ability to use the Food Guide Pyramid to actual food items.


  1. Formal assessment will be made from the quiz that will be given in conjunction with the lesson on nutrient where students will complete the Food Guide Pyramid by correctly filling in the blanks.




Lesson Plan #4 (Unit: Nutrition)



·                     Grade level: 4th to 5th



The student will know the six classes of nutrients found in food and breakdowns of nutrients in certain food items.



The students will:

·               List the six classes of nutrients after a brief lecture on nutrients.


·               Match each type of nutrients with their proper definitions.


·               Evaluate their food list (from lesson #1 – good food choices) by providing nutrient information for each food item they’ve listed.





Anticipatory set:


 Student will be given a chance to review the items they listed on the healthy/good food chart and be asked “why they think the food they’ve listed are healthy other than the fact that they belong to a certain food group of the Food Guide Pyramid. Teachers should inform that there are certain elements called nutrients found in food makes them healthy / good whereas food that lacks these nutrients have no nutritional values and are therefore not healthy.  It is also important to let the students know that we need some nutrients more than others while some should be used sparingly.





The lesson will then begin with a short lecture on nutrients and that some foods are “good” or “healthy” because they contain certain “nutrients”.  The teacher could make the analogy that we need nutrients for energy just like cars need gasoline. However, we get our nutrients from food rather than gasoline.  So, in the same analogy, supermarkets are like “our gasoline stations”.  The teacher will discuss the six classes of nutrients (the definitions should be posted somewhere where students can readily access):


  1. Carbohydrates – it provides the major source of fuels for the human body and found in foods like vegetable, bread, and pastas.  It converts sugar (glucose) into energy for our bodies.


  1. Lipid/Fat Although we need it for energy we don’t need as much.  Analogy can be made that carbohydrates is like gasoline to a car whereas lipid/fat is like engine oil that a car needs.  Students should know that too much fat of lipid consumption could be unhealthy.  Just the right amount will also help boost our immune system. 


  1. Protein – is what we need in our body to build tissues, to maintain fluid balance, and source of energy if carbohydrate or fat is not available.  It’s found in meat and dairy products.


  1. Vitamins – unlike carbohydrates, lipid, and protein, vitamin is not a source for energy but rather is what we need to release the energy from the previous three – just like a “key” to unlock a treasure chest.  Vitamins help us grown, fight diseases, and maintain proper functions of our bodies.  We can get vitamins from food we eat – Vitamin C from oranges and K from carrots.


  1. Minerals – it helps your muscles to work correctly and for proper growth.  We can get minerals like calcium from milk that can help us build strong teeth and bones.


  1. Water – just like planet Earth, our bodies are made up mostly of water (60%), so we need to replenish it as we lose it from sweats and urine.  We need water to “soak” up the nutrients that we get from carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids.  It helps our bodies to stay cool so it doesn’t “overheat” (another analogy to car).  We should drink at least 8 glasses of water each day to stay hydrated.


Teacher can then pass out the handout with the breakdown of the nutrients in certain food items (see attach).  At this point, students’ attention will again be addressed back to their food list.  With the assistance of the teacher and the handout, students will evaluate their list by listing the nutrient components of the food they listed and judge their initial thoughts on food versus bad foods.

            The following day, students will be given a quiz where they will write the six classes of nutrients and match each with the correct definitions provided on the quiz (this quiz will be given in conjunction with the Food Guide Pyramid quiz)



  1. Informal assessment will be made during the students’ discussion on the nutrient content of the food they’ve listed to assess whether students can breakdown the nutrient content for each food item according to what is provided by the handout.


  1. Formal assessment will be made to determine whether students can list the six classes of nutrient and be able to match them to their definitions provided on the quiz.






























Fat / Lipid







Lesson Plan #5 (Unit: Nutrition)


Nutrient Puzzle

·         Grade level: 4th – 5th



The student will know the six classes of nutrients and the breakdowns of nutrients in certain food items.



         The Students will:

·         Reconstruct the nutrient breakdown of given food item provided on a nutrient breakdown handout.


·         Evaluate the food item they’ve recreated by its nutrient contents (too much, to little, or just right amount of a given nutrient) based on what they’ve learned so far.


·         Judge which food item on the list will provide them with the most amount of energy.




·         Blocks (4 colors; preferably cubes as well as small rectangular shapes) – if no blocks are available, use construction paper cut into squares and strips.

·         “Keys made from cardboard.



Anticipatory set:


            After the quiz on nutrients (following lesson #4 – Nutrients), teacher should briefly go over again the six classes of nutrients and then have students review the nutrient breakdown handout provided in the previous lesson.




As the students are reviewing the handout, the teacher will set up 4 “energy stations” or “Supermarket” that are labeled Carbohydrates, Proteins, Lipids/Fats, and Water.  Each station will have a designated color blocks (cubes and small rectangles) or paper squares and strips.  Scattered around the room are 5 keys made from cardboards with different ends.  Students will be divided into 5 groups and each group will pick out an Index card from a box with a food item written on it and a place where a certain key will match (see attached).  Students will consult the handouts they have on the breakdown of the food items and recreate the bar graph of the nutrient breakdown/percentage using the blocks.  Students will be given the following instruction:



When the bar graph is done, students then need to look for the “KEY” representing vitamins that matches the shape on their index card.

            When all the groups have finished the puzzle, each group should tell the rest of the class what food item they have and what are the nutrients found in their food.  Students will also tell the rest of the class is the food they have is good or bad base on the nutrient content of the food, i.e. too much fat or too little water can make it bad, or just right balance of carbohydrate, fat, and water makes it a good food, etc.  Finally, based on what they know about nutrient and the amount of energy you can get from each type of nutrient, which food item recreated by any group should provide the most energy (hint: which one has the most “gasoline”?).  If a Food Diary is kept, this would be a good time for the teacher to prompt the students to start recording the nutrient contents of the items they have had already.




  1. The completion of the puzzle will be used as an informal assessment of students’ ability to reconstruct the nutrient breakdown of the food item in question.


  1. The informal question and answer about which food item contains or provides the most energy will give teacher an idea of students’ understanding of nutrients and energy. 


  1. Students’ evaluation of their food item quality base on nutrient content will also be used as an informal assessment for their understanding of nutrients’ role in food.





Example of Food Card and “Key”


Lesson Plan #6 (Unit: Nutrition)


Menu Design Project



The student will demonstrate their understanding of nutrition, good food choices, and the Food Guide Pyramid through a Menu design.



The student will:

·         Design three meals plus a snack that will satisfy the Food Guide Pyramid guideline and hand in a “Menu”.

o        One meal has to be of a given culture (culture of their choice).


·         Break down the nutrient components in their meals.


·         Design the three meals according to their understanding of good food choice and explain the reasons (referencing the Food Guide Pyramid guidelines and nutrient contents) verbally and in written reports.




Students should get in a group of 4 – 5 and are now “Chefs”.  Their job is to create meals for a day (breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner) that is healthy using their understanding of the Food Guide Pyramid and the nutrients that we need.  The “dishes” they create should be able to satisfy the recommendations of the Food Guide Pyramid to get full credit.  Students are encourage to be very creative such as giving your dish an interesting name, using a variety of ingredients in the dishes, create dishes that have never been made, incorporate any ethnic food items that they know.  One, but not limited to, of the three meals has to be of a culture of their choice.  Students are encourage to bring in demos and props for their presentation i.e. drawings, photos, and actual food items. 

Students should be given classroom time (2 – 3 days) to work in groups so that the teacher can evaluate their cooperative learning skills.  On the day of the presentation, the classroom should be arranged in the fashion that each group can set up a station or “restaurant” where they can present their menu.  The teacher will walk around the room talking to each group about their menu while they set up (about the dishes, the nutrient content and food groups represented in their menu).  After the teacher has had a chance to informally talk to each group, students should be allowed to go to other “restaurants” and ask each other questions of “sample” the various menus.   Each group will also turn in a report that will include the following:

a.      A “Menu” (name of each dish and its nutrient content– using the nutrient breakdown handout as guideline).

b.      Name of each dish and ingredients.

c.      What food group does each ingredients belong to.

d.      Is the dish for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snacks.

e.      How does the menu satisfy the Food Guide Pyramid’s recommendations.

f.        What are the nutrients that we can find in each dish.

The project will assess the students’ complete understanding of the Food Guide Pyramid as well as ability to make good food choices and planning for a balanced meal.



  1. Students’ menu and report will be evaluated base on:
    1. Completeness – 3 meals + 1 snack
    2. IF the meals satisfy the Food Guide Pyramid
    3. Have the nutrients for each of the dish listed on the menu
    4. Team work, member participation
    5. Creativity
    6. Visuals (easy to read, appropriate picture/image depicting the dishes).




Extra resources:


http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/cgi-bin/nut_search.pl (a site where you can search the nutrient content from a list of food items)




USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference

·         http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/Data/


Kids’ Health

·         http://kidshealth.org


USDA Food Guide Pyramid

·         http://www.usda.gov/news/usdakids/food_pyr.html


Health Framework for California Public Schools Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve

·         http://www.cde.ca.gov/cdepress/health-framework/2003-health-framework.pdf