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Nutrition Lesson and Unit Activities

This Thematic Nutrition Unit is for Approximately Third Grade

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Tip: According to the USDA the food pyramid is now called the food plate.

Theme/Introduction

The theme of this unit is nutrition. This unit is based on and around this theme and will focus on the food pyramid (food plate). The students will be introduced to this unit by filling out a KWL chart about the food pyramid. Throughout this unit the students will partake in whole group, small group and individual activities. Each student will participate in varied activities that incorporate language arts, social studies, science, mathematics and art. The students will also keep a journal where they will write, draw and answer questions.

Curriculum Standards of Unit

These standards are taken from the NYSED.gov website.

Learning Standards for English Language Arts:
  • Students will read, write, listen and speak for information and understanding.
  • Students will read, write, listen and speak for critical analysis and evaluation.
  • Students will read, write, listen and speak for social interaction.
Learning Standards for Mathematics, Science, and Technology:
  • Students will use mathematical analysis, scientific inquiry, and engineering designs, as appropriate, to pose questions, seek answers, and develop solutions.
  • Students will understand the relationships and common themes that connects mathematics, science, technology and apply the themes to these and other areas of learning.
  • Students will apply the knowledge and thinking skills of mathematics, science, and technology to address real-life problems and make informed decisions.
Learning Standards for Social Studies:
  • Students will use a variety of intellectual skills to demonstrate their understanding of the geography of the independent world in which we live-local, national, and global-including the distribution of people, places and environment over the earth's surface.

Overall Objectives of Unit

Students will be able to:
  • Name the food groups and give examples.
  • Show equivalent volumes in several ways, using given containers.
  • List three things for healthy living.
  • Identify a food pyramid (food plate).
  • Write a food poem.
  • Keep a food journal.
  • Write food similes.
  • Place food pictures in the correct category.
  • Create a balanced meal using the food pyramid (food plate).
  • Write a recipe for a healthy snack.

Key Questions of Nutrition Unit

  • What is a food pyramid (food plate)?
  • What is a food pyramid (food plate) used for?
  • What is a simile?
  • What is included in a balanced meal?
  • What are the food groups?
  • What are the servings for all the food groups?

Materials and Resources Needed for Unit

  • American food pyramid (which is now called the food plate)
  • Simile worksheet
  • Weekly food journal
  • Food poem worksheet
  • Paper plate
  • Magazines
  • Grocery ads
  • Learning center
  • KWL chart
  • Chart paper
  • Water
  • Water container
  • Glasses
  • Gregory the Terrible Eater by, Mitchel Sharmat
  • Eating the Alphabet by, Lois Ehlert

Activity One: Introduction to the Unit

As an introduction to this unit the students will be put into pairs for the think-pair-share learning strategy. Their job is to fill out the K-Know section of the KWL chart about the food pyramid (food plate). Introduce the unit by telling the students information about the food pyramid (food plate) and eating healthy. Then the students would discuss in their groups the W-Would like to know section about this topic using the talking chips strategy. Each group will then share information with the whole class. Take the K-W portions and display it on the front board.

  • Students will keep a journal for the vocabulary words and responses to questions throughout the unit.

Activity Two: Sorting the Groceries

Introduce the five food groups on the food plate. In a small group have students brainstorm what they know about the food plate and food groups. Display their thoughts on chart paper or the front board. Then, hand out the food plate worksheet and pictures of food to each child. Have them place the food in the correct food group on the food plate.

  • Go over which foods were in each group.

Activity Three: Water Intake

Fill a pitcher with the recommended daily intake of water (eight glasses). Then put students in small groups and have them fill different size glasses from the original water pitcher. Have students count how many of each size glass of water would they have to drink in order to meet the eight recommended glasses a day.

  • Have the students make a chart matching a particular glass with the number of glassfuls it takes to meet the daily requirement. (Example: If you use a 8 ounce glass how many glasses of water would you have to drink)

Activity Four: Recipe for a Snack

Students will write a recipe for a snack using the main food groups. Have them pretend that they own a company that makes snacks. Their job is to create a healthy snack and write an advertisement about the snack. First, gather students together to brainstorm healthy snack ideas and write them on the chart paper. Then provide examples of advertisements of snacks so the students can see how to write one.

  • Have students share their snack advertisement with the class. Then ask each student which food groups(s) their healthy snack belongs to.

Activity Five: Healthy Living Rules

Students will write three rules for healthy living that tell about the daily water intake, and include the food groups. First, as a class brainstorm a few rules and write it on the front board. Have the students write their brainstorming ideas in their nutrition journals.

  • Have each student write the three rules by themselves, then gather as a class to hear the rules.

Activity Six: Culminating Activity

Students will make a balanced meal by cutting out pictures of food from magazines and grocery ads, and placing them on a blank paper plate. They can choose to make a balanced meal for breakfast, lunch or dinner. This will be done at the nutrition learning center.

  • Have students write the L-Learn section of the KWL chart in their journals. Also display their balanced meals on a bulletin board in the shape of a food plate or food pyramid.

Nutrition Learning Center

The nutrition learning center will include:
  • A food poetry worksheet, where students will brainstorm words related to healthy foods, then write a poem about the food.
  • Provide a food simile worksheet where the students will have to write similes about the food then illustrate their favorite simile.
  • A food pyramid chart or "food plate" where the students will label each section and then draw a picture that fits into the category.
  • A food journal worksheet where the students will write what they have eaten for one week.
  • Provide paper plates, magazines and a huge food pyramid or food plate chart so the students can make a balanced meal.

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