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Grades 5-8


This lesson is designed to provide students with an enhanced understanding of the relationship between proper nutrition and good health. Through use of video, hands-on activities and interaction, students learn to measure energy in food, recognize sources of vitamins and minerals, classify foods into basic groups and learn to interpret labels found on processed food packages.
ITV Series
Nutrition #112
Cooking and Chemistry #108
Learning Objectives
Students will be able to:
(per class)
(per group of four)
(per student)

Pre-Viewing Activities
Say, "The foods we eat and the way we like them prepared reveals much about our customs and traditions. They are an important clue to where we live, as well as our ethnic and cultural background."

Distribute a pencil and sheet of notebook paper to each student. Instruct them to list their five favorite foods. Allow time for students to share what they consider their favorite foods; list on chalkboard. Ask, "How do your favorite foods relate to dishes that have traditionally been served in your home?" Elicit discussion leading to conclusion that favorite foods likely reflect their heritage. Ask, "Do you suppose there would be contrasts between your favorite foods and those listed by someone from Italy, China, Mexico, etc? Explain." Allow students to contrast differences. Accept all responses.

Say, "The United States is often described as a giant melting pot because our ancestors came from all corners of the world. When they came, they brought with them the best of their old customs and traditions." Ask, "Who lives in a household that celebrates a tradition or honors a custom unique to those cele-brated by most Americans?" Allow for response. Ask, "Do you know any regional or ethnic foods that would be associated with specific parts of our country?" (Cajun: Louisiana; Chinese quarter of a city; etc.)

Divide class into groups of four students each. Distribute a cookbook to each group. Say, "Use the table of contents and select a recipe for a food each member considers to be a favorite." Allow time for completion of the task. Then, instruct groups to classify each ingredient in the selected recipe as one of the six classes of nutrients as you list on the chalkboard: carbohydrate, fat, protein, vitamin, mineral and water. After the task is completed, engage students in discussion as they tell whether their recipe is a good source of carbohydrates, fats and/or proteins. Ask, "What is nutrition?" Allow students to respond. Write nutrition on chalkboard as you confirm it is the process by which the body receives and breaks down nutrients. Distribute a sheet of notebook paper and a pencil to each student.

Display the (Activity Sheet #1) pre-prepared poster, Primary Functions of Nutrients, in clear view of all groups. Appoint different groups to lead the class in discussing one of the six nutrients and their functions. Have students identify any previously listed favorite food that would be rich in each of the nutrients.

Say, "You always hear the term calorie used in connection with controlling diet for the purpose of reducing one's weight." Write calorie on chalkboard, then ask, "What is a calorie?" Elicit discussion leading to conclusion that a calorie is a measure of the energy available in food. Write the definition on chalkboard.
Focus Viewing
Say, "At some time in life almost everyone has to give attention to the number of calories they intake. For some the intake needs to be increased to promote weight gain; for the majority in our society, attention must be paid to reducing calories to accommodate a loss of weight." To give students a specific responsibility while viewing ask, "What do you believe is used to determine the number of calories in foods?" Allow students to share beliefs, then say "As you see a video which explains a calorie, watch to determine if your belief is accurate."
Viewing Activities
Nutrition #112

Begin tape immediately following mailbag question in section two. Visual is Ira reading letter; audio is, "What is used to determine the number of calories in various foods and drinks?" Provide students an opportunity to validate their answers as you PAUSE tape on visual of Dr. Jones and Ira with apparatus "burning" calories; audio is Dr. Jones saying, "Enzymes enable heat calories to be released so the body can use them for body heat and energy." Write definition of calorie on chalkboard. Explain: the scientific definition is a metric unit expressing the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of 1 kg of water by 1 degree C. Say, "How would you describe a calorie in your own terms?" Allow for responses leading discussion to an understanding that a calorie is a measure of energy available in a food. Instruct students to record this concept on their notebook paper. Distribute a calorie counter to each group of four students. Explain how a calorie counter is used, then have groups choose a favorite snack they believe is high in calories and another they think is low in calories. Say, "Use the calorie counter to learn the actual calorie count of your selected snacks." Allow time for completion of the task. Appoint a volunteer to record on chalkboard as each group shares what it discovered about the high and low calorie snacks. Use information on chalkboard as a base for students to order the lists from healthiest to least healthy snacks as related to proper nutrition.

Ask, "What determining factor renders a snack high calorie or low calorie?" Lead responses toward discovery that the presence of nutrients which include fats, carbohydrates and proteins is the energy stored in foods. Ask, "Is a food high in fat the most fattening food for you to consume? Are carbohydrates fattening? How is body weight affected by a high protein food?" Allow students to respond as you correct any misconception about the individual nutrients and their influence on weight gain. Ask, "Which of the nutrients provides the most fuel for your body?" Write on chalkboard: one pound lettuce; one pound pasta; one pound lean meat; and one pound butter. Instruct students to order the four foods from high calorie to low calorie.

Give students a specific responsibility while viewing as you say, "Watch the next video to check for accuracy your ranking/ordering of the four foods." RESUME tape. Provide an opportunity for students to validate and discuss the accuracy of their ordering as you PAUSE tape on visual of Ira and Dr. Jones; audio is "...same number of calories, 80% fat." Engage students in discussion as you instruct to check work for accuracy of correct ordering as it is written on chalkboard throughout process of student interaction. Lead discussion as correct ordering from high to low calorie is revealed to be butter, pasta, meat, then lettuce. Ask, "How many calories per ounce of pasta?" (100) Say, "How would you compare the calorie content of the various foods?" Allow for student response.

Explain: As various foods contain different amounts of calories, they provide your body with different amounts of energy when consumed. Ask, "Which nutrient do you believe is most efficient for your body to use in storing energy?" (fat) Say, "One gram of fat provides your body with nine calories of fuel." Write on chalkboard: 1 calorie fat = 9 calories fuel as students are instructed to record the information on their notebook paper. Say as you continue to write on chalk-board, "In contrast, one gram of carbo-hydrate or one gram of protein yields only four calories."

Write 1 ounce = 28.35 grams on chalk-board. Say, "If 1 gram of fat = 9 calories of fuel for your body, how much fuel will be stored when you consume 1 ounce of fat?" (Have students calculate 28.35 g x 9 = 255.15) Affirm, you will consume approximately 255 calories per ounce of stored fat in your body. Ask, "What happens to the ounce of stored fat on a day when your body doesn't use it as fuel for energy?" Affirm it remains stored until it is used.

Say, "A gram of carbohydrates or protein yields only 4 calories. How much fuel will your body store when you consume 1 ounce of carbohydrate or protein?" (Have students calculate 28.35 g x 4 = 113.40 calories) Encourage students to internalize their body will store more energy for fuel from 1 ounce of fat than from 1 ounce of carbohydrate or protein (converted to starch). Have students contrast difference in calories for 1 ounce fat and 1 ounce carbohydrate or protein. (142 calories more for fat)

Say, "Your body can store energy for future use. The primary storage is in the form of fat called adipose tissue. This tissue lies under the skin and also surrounds your internal organs. As a body develops more adipose tissue, it is evidenced through a weight gain." Explain calories consumed in excess of the body's immediate needs are added to the body's already existing deposits of fat. Say, "For humans and other animals vulnerable to a scarce food supply, the storage of fat will help them survive. However, for some with an adequate food supply it can create problems. What is the greatest problem it can create that you know about?" Elicit discussion drawing students to conclusion that it contributes to obesity and often results in chronic diet-related diseases so wide spread in today's society.

Write one hamburger and one-half cup cottage cheese on chalkboard. Explain the two foods have equal amounts of protein. Say, "The great difference lies in the amount of fat and the number of calories." Write over three times amount of fat and 50% more calories under the one hamburger on chalkboard. Ask, "If you are seriously attempting to reduce your weight, which food would you choose?" (Confirm cottage cheese.) Ask, "What do you recognize about our society and life styles that contributes to obesity?" Allow students to share their knowledge and opinions.

Distribute an empty instant breakfast package to each group of students. Say, "Since more than half the foods we eat come in packages, learning to read and understand labels is an important part of maintaining a balanced diet." Encourage students to consider the scenario which follows: "Belinda never planned time for a balanced breakfast; she always relied on an instant breakfast to curb her hunger until lunchtime. Each morning around 10:00 a.m. she would experience a growing hunger that interfered with her ability to concentrate and also made her irritable."

Ask, "Why do you suppose Belinda's instant breakfast satisfied her hunger only half way through the morning hours?" Allow students to express their beliefs. Say, "Examine, then discuss within your group the ingredients listed on the instant breakfast envelope." Allow time for the task to be completed. (Ingredients are listed by weight with the ingredient present in the greatest amount generally listed first.) Ask, "What are the first two ingredients in the instant breakfast?" Allow time for student responses. The first two ingredients are generally sugar and vegetable shortening. Inform students Belinda could have consumed fewer calories, less sugar, less fat and enjoyed more "staying" power had she scheduled time for juice, an egg, toast and a glass of skim milk. Allow time for volunteers to tell what they ate for breakfast today. Do not allow students to be judgmental as they evaluate the nutritional value and balance of breakfasts shared by the volunteers. Have them suggest items to create a balanced breakfast for any that was unbalanced.

Distribute a copy of Activity Sheet #2 to each student. Say, "The government requires producers of processed foods to list ingredients in order of their prominence by weight on all containers." Distribute an empty cereal box to each group of four students. Say, "Use the cereal box to answer questions in Roman Numeral I on the Activity Sheet." Allow time for the task to be completed, then check for accuracy using any teacher's choice technique. Instruct students to read directions for Roman Numeral II, then complete it. Review for correctness as students check their own work.

Explain, "It is equally important to understand each ingredient contained in a food and the amount of individual nutrients essential to health. All labels provide this information in terms of grams (g) and milligrams (mg) instead of the traditional measure of ounce you are more familiar with." Distribute a canned food label to each group of four students. Instruct them to observe the label as you continue, "All labels are required by federal law to state: size of a serving, number of servings in the container, for each serving the number of calories, grams of protein, fat, and carbohydrates and the percentage of RDA for protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, thiamine, ribo-flavin, niacin, calcium and iron." Instruct students to use the canned food label and fill in blanks and questions provided in Roman Numeral III on the Activity Sheet. Allow time for groups to accomplish the task, then validate answers.

Say, "It's now time for some kitchen chemistry. Have you ever heard that oil and vinegar don't mix?" Allow for response. Say, "If you shake a container of oil and vinegar, they appear to mix, however, if allowed to settle they usually separate into layers. Which would you predict will layer itself on the top." Provide time for students to make their predictions; list on chalkboard. To give students a specific responsibility while viewing say, "Watch the next video to find out if your prediction is correct."

Cooking and Chemistry #108

Begin tape with visual of Ira and Dr. Grosser with a cruet of oil and vinegar; audio is "Let me show you another problem I'm sure everybody has." PAUSE tape on visual of Ira and Dr. Grosser with cruet revealing two layers ---oil on top and vinegar on bottom; audio is "Ultimately they are going to separate because the molecules are very different." Allow students to discuss the accuracy of their predictions made prior to viewing the video.

Engage students in discussion as they answer the following questions with responses based upon knowledge acquired from the video. "How can oil and vinegar remain mixed? What familiar food do you know where oil and vinegar are mixed, then remain stable as a mixture? What can be used to cause the oil and vinegar to mix?" Allow opportunity for student interaction following each question. To give students a specific responsibility while viewing say, "Watch the video, then be prepared to name and discuss the substance which binds the oil vinegar together. Also, listen for the term which means binding together." RESUME tape on visual of Ira and Dr. Grosser with two cruets of vinegar and oil; audio is,"... the oil is very nonpolar with little electrical character." STOP tape and allow students an opportunity to discuss the tasks assigned during viewing. The visual is Ira and Dr. Grosser; audio is "It's the same principle as making a mayonnaise." Write emulsifier on chalkboard; beside it write lecithin. Discuss: lecithin as the emulsifier in eggs that binds the oil and vinegar together. Say, "Egg yolks contain lots of lecithin. Mayonnaise is an emulsion of oil with egg yolk or whole egg, lemon juice or vinegar and salt and pepper combined. The fat in the oil provides the chief food value found in mayonnaise. Two tablespoonfuls of mayonnaise equal 100 calories."
Post-Viewing Activities
Ask one volunteer from each group to assist with a demonstration making mayonnaise. Say, "Many foods you eat are mixtures of various ingredients. During the process of preparation physical and/or chemical changes take place creating a new combination and a new food different from any of the individual ingredients. Watch and be prepared to describe the physical changes you observe as mayonnaise is made."

Have all ingredients at room temperature. Place the following in a blender and mix until well blended:
Following preparation, permit students to discuss the physical changes they observed as ingredients were combined to create a new mixture familiar to everyone as mayonnaise.

Review emulsion, nutrients and calories. Ask, "Which is the main nutrient in mayonnaise?" (fat) "Which ingredient contained the fat?" (cooking oil) Encourage students to sample store bought mayonnaise and compare its texture, color, taste and smell to the home-made product created in class.
Action Plan
Arrange a field trip to a grocery store in your community. Provide a copy of the Grocery Store Scavenger Hunt, Activity Sheet #3, which gives students an opportunity to become more efficient in reading food labels and comparing two similar products to determine which is the best buy.

Invite the manager of a grocery store to visit your classroom and teach students about unit pricing. Following the instruction, request they evaluate student understanding of the concept through examples as: a 12 ounce can of tomatoes priced $.89 (with a unit price at $2.38 per quart) is a better buy than a 6 ounce can priced $.64 (with a unit price at $3.42 per quart). Request the manager bring products which come in two or three sizes and/or brands. Have students compare items, prices and unit prices.
Language Arts
Ask your cafeteria manager to save labels from cans of food used to prepare school lunches. Have students study the labels and list different terms used to identify sweetening agents. (e.g.) sucrose, dextrose, lactose, molasses, corn syrup, honey, invert sugar, fructose, etc. Research and contrast various uses of each agent.

Research the work of Dr. Eijkman (beriberi) conducted in Java during the 1890's and Dr. James Lind (scurvy) in the 1750's. Discover foods that help prevent rickets, scurvy, pellagra and beriberi. Include information on symptoms and how these diseases reveal themselves.

Calculate calories found in a pound of pure fat; in a pound of pure carbo-hydrate; and in a pound of pure protein. (Note: 1 gram fat equals 9 calories; one gram of carbohydrate or a gram of protein equals 4 calories.)

Develop a cooperative class project to be implemented at an appropriate time in the spring; have students plan a vegetable garden, prepare soil, plant seeds, maintain and harvest produce. Teach germination, life cycle of plants, insect pests and effects of weather on the gardening project. Ask the cafeteria manager's cooperation in preparing the harvest to be served as a part of a regular school lunch for the class.

Social Studies
Research the "green" revolution and prepare a report to be shared with classmates.

Study the diversity of "breakfasts around the world." Prepare some of the foods and invite another class to join in sampling.

Make a collage based on the four food groups plus the fifth of fats and sugars. Show major nutrients contained in the food examples through found or drawn examples of specific foods within each group. Display the collage in the hallway outside your classroom. (NOTE: Group six is water.)

Career Planning
Have students identify, then research jobs and professions that are food and/or health related. Allow students to report findings to the class and have the class decide on the job or profession they find most interesting. Identify someone who works in the identified profession and invite them to visit your classroom to learn more about their responsibilities.

Study advertising. Have students create an advertising campaign for a selected vegetable. They might write a slogan or jingle and create visuals designed to convince others to include the vegetable in their diet.

Master Teachers: Patsy Partin and Mike Sanders

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