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4-4-3-2--FOOD COUNTS!
Grades K - 2

During this lesson the students will learn about the quantities of those foods they must eat each day in order to have a balanced diet. Students will use their observational skills as they watch the video and identify the different food groups represented. They will use their number skills as they count the number of servings of each food group they are consuming daily. Students will use comparison words like more, less and equal as they compare the quantities of food groups they need to eat for a balanced diet. Using food manipulatives students will attempt to prepare a daily menu with a balanced diet. Students will also use graphing skills as they record data from home to share with the class concerning their eating habits.
EAT WELL, BE WELL #1: Balanced Diet

Ask the students if they have ever heard the word "diet". Most students will probably respond it has something to do with losing weight. Tell them that today we are going to be learning about a "Balanced Diet" and ask them what they know about this. After validating their responses come to the general consensus that a balanced diet means you eat the right amounts of different foods. To provide the students with a visual image of a balanced diet take out the balance scale and set it up so that both sides are equal. Tell the students to pretend that this is their diet of daily food. Ask them to pretend that one of the weights is the milk group. Ask them what will happen to the scale when you remove the weight? Will it still balance? Remove the weight from one side of the scale. As it tips, explain that when you don't eat the right amount of the different food groups, your body gets out of whack just like the scale. Tell them that today we are going to learn how much of each of the food groups they need to eat each day to keep their diet in balance. Review the food groups, brainstorming foods that fit in each category:
1. fruits/vegetables
2. breads/cereals
3. milk/cheese
4. meat/poultry/fish/beans
5. fats/sweets
Have the students brainstorm from which group they think they will need to eat the most food to stay healthy.
To give students a specific responsibility for viewing ask them to listen for the numbers "4-4-3-2". Tell them that these numbers will explain to them how much of each food group they need to eat for a balanced diet. Tell them that as they watch the video they should listen for the answer to our brainstorming question concerning which food group you need the most servings from.

BEGIN the video about 5 minutes into it. (You will see Dave Babcock standing next to a magnetic board with the words "balanced diet" written on it.)

PAUSE the video as Dave removes the watermelon and the mobile no longer balances. Discuss how this compares to our earlier experiment with the balance scale and the removal of a weight.

REFOCUS the students' attention and ask them to listen to Dave as he tells us how many servings of each food group we need to eat each day. RESUME the video.

PAUSE after each food group to make sure the students heard the correct number of servings. RESUME the video.

PAUSE after the meat/ poultry/ fish/ beans group. Pass out the hand out detailing the 4-4-3-2 graph. Review with the students as you go over each of the groups and how many servings of each they need. Check for understanding by asking the students to tell you which group they need the most? The least? How many servings of milk and cheese? If you had a glass of orange juice for breakfast, how many more servings of fruits and vegetables would you need? etc.

REFOCUS the students' attention and tell them that Dave is going to sing a song called "4-4-3 and 2" and whenever they hear those words they can sing along. RESUME the video.

REWIND the video and tell the students that this time as they listen to Dave sing the song they are to look at their graph and see if we can find the food group that he is singing about and follow along as we read our graph. ( During this activity you may need to narrate over Dave's singing to make sure the students are following.)

PAUSE the video after the song, as Dave explains that he is now going to put on his chef's hat. Tell the children that you will RESUME the video.

PAUSE after each meal so that they can mark the different foods on their graph and we will see if Dave has prepared a day's worth of meals that fit the 4-4-3-2 song. (There is no category on your graph for sweets and fats.... you can talk about this category as appropriate for to your class.) If your VCR is not equipped with a freeze-frame feature your class will need to recall the foods aloud after each meal so they can remember what was being served. RESUME the video

STOP after the song is completed.
Give the students a fresh hand out and tell them that we will now try and make our own balanced diet. Using the food manipulatives collected under the materials portion, the children will attempt to prepare a day's worth of meals using a balanced diet. Select one student to come up and lay out a breakfast meal on a paper plate. When they student is finished have the students mark their graph by coloring in the number of servings of each of the food groups represented.

For example, a sample breakfast of orange juice, a banana, cereal, milk and toast would be recorded as follows: Color in the #1 and #2 boxes under fruits and vegetables to represent the orange juice and banana. Color in the #1 and #2 boxes under bread and cereal to represent the toast and cereal, and color in the #1 box under milk and cheese to represent the milk. Repeat this for lunch, dinner and two snacks. When finished, discuss with students the importance of planning in preparing a menu.
Give the students a clean hand-out and tell them that they are going to record everything they eat tomorrow, to compare how balanced their diet was. (You may want to add a fats/sweets category to the bottom of the chart.) Have a dietitian come to your class and explain how menus and meals are prepared for people in hospitals or nursing homes. Have someone come in from a food bank or shelter and discuss which groups are the hardest for them to collect food items for. Have your student organize a food drive, focusing on those food groups that are most in need.

Invite a vegetarian to your speak to your class and explain how they complete a 4-4-3-2- graph without using meat.
Have your students listen to the song several times, pausing after each phrase so that they can repeat or write the words they hear. After you have all the words to the song the students could learn it and sing it to another class. This would be especially fun with food props from each of the food groups. To extend this idea further students could write original verses to the song and create a short skit.

Complete a 4-4-3-2 graph using a school breakfast and lunch menu. Have the students see how healthy the meals are by figuring out what dinner would need to look like in order to complete a balanced diet.,

To extend this lesson into your social studies curriculum have the students complete a 4-4-3-2 graph using ethnic foods such as enchiladas, refried beans, rice.... as appropriate for your grade level.

Eat Well, Be Well can be taped off air as part the ITV overnight blockfeed schedule. Check with local PBS station for schedule.

Lesson prepared by Master Teacher Kiley Ruwe Shaw, Valley View Elementary School, Boise, Idaho.
Click here to view the worksheet associated with this lesson.

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