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A Measure of Health



Grade Levels: 3 - 5
This activity would be most effective if delivered in two (2) separate 45-50 minute sessions, with an additional two sessions for the follow-up activity.

  • Watch the Cyberchase episode "Measure for Measure," which deals with the math topic "choosing units of measure," or preview the clips on the Web.

  • Write the recipe from the Cyberchase episode on a piece of chart paper:
    • 4 cybercups magnetite
    • 6 cybercups kristinim
    • 7 cybercups francesium

  • Write the smoothie recipe on a piece of chart paper:
    • 2 cups of ice
    • 1 banana
    • 1 cup fruit
    • 1/2 cup orange juice

    1. Put fruit in blender.
    2. Cut up banana into 1-inch pieces and add to blender.
    3. Add ice and orange juice.
    4. Blend until smooth.

      Serves 4

  • List on a piece of chart paper different fruits and their vitamins (vitamin A, good for eyesight - mango, melon, papaya, strawberry; vitamin B, good for energy - banana; vitamin C, fights diseases - orange, mango, melon, papaya, strawberry, blueberry)

  • Before beginning Activity 2, prepare the smoothie ingredients and equipment.

Materials Needed:
Students will need:
  • Paper and pencils or pens
  • One dictionary for the group
Group leader will need:
  • TV and VCR
  • Cyberchase episode #405, "Measure for Measure" or the ability to show the digitized clips on a TV or projector
  • Chart paper/markers or blackboard/chalk
  • Large index cards (two per child)
  • Blender
  • Paper cups
  • Large mixing spoon
  • Cups of various sizes for measuring
  • Bananas
  • Additional fruit such as: mango, melon, papaya, strawberries, blueberries (cut up fruit in advance)
  • Orange juice
  • Ice
  • Recipe books
  • Children's books on fruit and nutrition (see suggestions below)
Academic Goals:
Students will:
  • understand the need for measuring with standard units
  • understand that measurements are approximations and how differences in units affect precision
  • select and apply appropriate standard units and tools to measure volume
  • learn the health benefits of the fruit they use to make smoothies
  • increase amounts in a recipe so that it makes enough for the whole group
  • apply a recipe, primarily thought of in relation to food, to create a recipe for an abstract concept
Social Goals:
Students will
  • collaborate on creating smoothie recipes
  • share their created recipes with one another, and if desired, with other children in the program


Introductory Activity (10 minutes)

  1. Ask the children if they like to help out in the kitchen, especially with baking cookies and brownies. Ask them what happens if they don't measure all the ingredients correctly - does everything come out looking and tasting OK? Have the children share their cooking experiences.

  2. Explain to the group that they're going to watch clips from an episode of Cyberchase called "Measure for Measure." In this episode, the Cybergang needs to use correct measurements to cook up a cure for their friend. Explain that later, they're going to make delicious and healthy smoothies to practice their measuring skills.

Activity 1 (30-40 minutes)
  1. Explain to the group that the Cybersquad is trying to stop Hacker from creating a "Transformatron" that he will use to take over Cyberspace. To stop him, the Cybersquad has to first mix up a cure to save their friend -- and Cyberspace. Play the first clip, called "First Try." If you can't show the clip from the Web, start the video and stop at the end of Act 1, when the kids have just made their first batch of the mixture and messed up. Jackie wonders how they can fix their mistake.

  2. Ask the students to recall what ingredients are in the cure, and the amount that is needed of each. Write down the cure recipe on the blackboard or chartpaper, and go over it. Then, ask the students what they think the kids' mistake was and what the kids can do to fix it.

  3. Video Clip

    After a short discussion, play the next clip, "Success!" to see if their predictions were correct. If you can't show the clip from the Web, continue the tape, stopping about 12 minutes into the episode, when Matt says "We'll take everything and make a fresh batch at Hacker's." Pause for a few minutes before continuing the video to discuss how the kids corrected their mistake.

  4. Video Clip
    The Right Dose

    The Right Dose
    Now, play the third clip, "The Right Dose." If you have the video, continue the tape, stopping when Coop says "We need to make the formula five times stronger, and fast!"

  5. Ask the students how they would make the recipe stronger, and if they know how many cybercups of each ingredient will be required. Have the students calculate individually, then go over the amounts as a group. (If students do not know their multiplication tables readily, they can count by groups of 5 to arrive at the answer.) Once you've calculated the new amounts, ask the group how they could measure out 35 cybercups without having to use one cybercup thirty five times. After the students share their ideas, tell them to pay attention to the next video clip to see how the Cybersquad solves the problem.

  6. Video Clip

    Play the last clip, "Cured," or continue the video until Slider is cured and Coop says "Good to have you back."

  7. Review what the Cybersquad did to solve the problem (they found a 10 cup measure, then used the one-cup measure to measure out five cups.) Tell students that next session, they will try out their measuring skills by making healthy and delicious fruit smoothies.

  8. If you have access to computers and the Internet, students can practice their skills by playing an online Cyberchase game where they fill containers with water using different sized pots. The object of the game is to fill containers with the fewest number of pours without spilling over:

Activity 2 (approximately one hour)
  1. Have the smoothie ingredients and equipment ready before the students arrive. Explain to the students they will be preparing and experimenting with making fruit smoothies. Ask if anyone has ever made smoothies before. Ask students why they may prefer drinking a smoothie instead of drinking soda, and discuss with them the value of eating healthy, and in particular, fresh fruit.

  2. Show students the fruits you have prepared and ask if they know what vitamins are in each, and why they are good for you. If computers are available, students can look for information on the following sites:

    If possible, have a few books available with pages marked for relevant information on fruit. You can find the following books, or others like them, in your local library.
    Landau, E. (2003). A Healthy Diet. Watts Library.
    Nelson, R. (2003). Fruits. Lerner Publications.
    Patent, D. (1992). Nutrition: What's in the food we eat. Holiday House.
    Rockwell, L. (1999). Good Enough to Eat: A Kids Guide to Food and Nutrition. Harper Collins.
    Write the students' responses on chart paper. Then put up the previously prepared information chart with fruit and vitamins, and review it with the students.

  3. Next, put up the recipe for smoothies. Ask the group if this recipe will be enough for everyone to have a serving. Ask them how many times they will need to multiply the recipe so that everyone can have a serving (original recipe is for four people). Mark the new amounts on the chart paper.

  4. Ask for three volunteers to measure and pour. One will measure the ice, another the fruit, and the third the orange juice. Give each volunteer a different size cup, with the largest cup going to the person measuring the ice and the smallest going to the person measuring the fruit. Have the volunteers hold up their cups so that everyone in the group can see them. Ask the group what they think would happen to the recipe if they used these cups to measure. (It would be too watery because there would be too much ice and not enough fruit.) Ask the students what the volunteers should do to make sure the recipe tastes good. (They should choose one cup and measure everything using that same cup.) Explain to the group that the size of the cup they choose should be about the size of one serving, and that by measuring everything with the same cup they are keeping the proportions the same.

  5. Ask for a fourth volunteer to add the bananas, and prepare the smoothie, following the recipe and making sure students pay careful attention when measuring. Give everyone a serving.

  6. While they are enjoying their smoothies, ask the group what they would need to do make the recipe thicker or thinner. Ideas can be tested depending on time and availability of ingredients (for example, altering fruits - juicier vs. less juicy fruits, altering amount of orange juice and ice). Students can write the new recipes on chart paper or the blackboard. In closing, ask students to choose their favorite combination. Review the parts of a recipe: name of the recipe, amount of each ingredient, directions to follow. Have students copy the smoothie recipe on index cards to make at home.

Follow-up Activities

  1. Have students create recipes for something they need in order to feel healthy and positive, besides nutritious food. As a group, brainstorm topics students could write about. For example, students can create recipes for friendship, love, trust, or happiness. Before the students begin, review the parts of a recipe and write them on chart paper or the blackboard for students' reference as they create their recipes (recipe name, amount of each ingredient, step-by-step directions).

  2. Make sure students pay attention to the measurements they use to create their recipes. Also, make sure they include recipe vocabulary in their directions, such as stir, blend, bake, broil, add, heat, and cool. Students can consult with recipe books to review appropriate language.

  3. After students write their recipes, they can share them with one another in small groups or one large group and discuss their choice of ingredients, measurements, and directions. They can also read their ingredients and directions and have classmates guess what the recipe is for.

  4. You may also want students to put their recipes together to form a group cookbook. Students can illustrate the book and/or their own recipe, as well as create a book cover. The book can be distributed to other children in the afterschool program, or read as a presentation to other groups.


This AFTERSCHOOL EXCHANGE activity was developed by Julie Spiegel Ph.D., Educational Specialist at The Point CDC, based on the animated series Cyberchase.

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