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Download Food Quiz

Download Food Web Guide

Download Food Tracker

Download Ad Critique

Download Food Plan

If You Are What You Eat...

Teach your students all about the nutrition challenges young people face while using the power of technology to promote healthy eating!

Grade Level(s)

Curriculum Area
Science, Math, English & Language Arts

Time Required
1 class period for each activity, plus 1 week to track daily food patterns throughout the day.

Standards Connections
Materials/Resources Needed
Teacher Preparation
Introducing the Lesson
Student Activities
Wrap-Up Activity
Extension Activity

Standards Connections
  • National Standards:
    1. National Science Education Standards/Content Standard F: Science in Personal and Social Perspectives--Personal Health
    2. Principles and Standards for School Mathematics (NCTM)/Standard 1: Numbers and Operations and Standard 6: Problem Solving
    3. Standards for the English Language Arts (NCTE/IRA)/Standard 5: Communicating with Different Audiences and Standard 7: Conducting Research
  • State Standards:
    Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS)
    1. Health Education: Health Information
    2. Mathematics: Number, Operation, and Quantitative Reasoning
    3. English Language Arts and Reading: Reading/Inquiry/Research, Writing/Purposes
    See www.explorasource.com for more state standards connections.
  • District Standards (fill in your own)
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Students will:
  • Understand current nutrition guidelines (such as the USDA's Food Guide Pyramid) and how they relate to good health.
  • Track one's own food choices for one week and analyze them in light of nutrition guidelines.
  • Analyze food choices among young people and identify patterns that should be changed.
  • Develop persuasive messages to help young people improve their eating habits.
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Materials/Resources Needed
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Teacher Preparation
  1. Review the entire lesson plan and select some or all of the activities to do with your class. While the entire lesson is designed to work well as a unit, you can also use most of the activities independently.
  2. Review the Electronic Handouts for your selected activities, and revise or adapt for your class as needed.
  3. Bring in a collection of teen-oriented magazines for your students to use in analyzing food advertising and planning their own critique in Activity 5.
  4. Go to Programs>File Explorer, and select Edit>New Folder to create a folder called EAT for storing all of your students' work as they complete it.
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Introducing the Lesson
  1. Kick off this lesson by asking your class: What did you eat today for breakfast (or lunch, if yours is an afternoon class)? Call on students at random.
  2. Ask the class: Based on what you've heard around the room, would you say that this is a class of healthy eaters...or not? How do you think this class might compare with young people across the country in terms of healthy eating habits?
  3. Tell students that, over the next week or so, they'll find out the real answers to both of these questions. Then go to Student Activity 1.
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Student Activities
Activity 1: Favorite Food Quiz

Grouping: Individual and Small Groups
Materials: Food Quiz
  1. Beam the students in the first row the Food Quiz electronic handout and have each of them beam it to the students seated around them until everyone has the handout.
  2. Ask students to launch the Food Quiz through Programs>Pocket Excel or File Explorer>Food Quiz.
  3. Have students answer the first two questions of the quiz, which asks them to:
    1. Name their favorite food.
    2. Guess which food groups their favorite food falls into.
  4. When students have entered their answers, ask one student to call out his or her favorite food. If others also have that food as their favorite, they should form a group with this student. Repeat until all students are in small groups according to favorite foods. Students whose favorite foods are unique to them should form one last group.
  5. Within each group, students should share and discuss their guesses for question (b), deciding together on a final correct answer.
  6. Have each group report on its favorite food and the food groups it belongs to. Invite the rest of the class to agree with the food group selection or suggest changes. Explain that everyone will know the correct answers by the time this lesson is complete.
  7. Finally, have each student individually answer question (c), which asks which food group a healthy diet should include more servings of than any other. Students who copy and paste Bread Group as a guess for question 3 will see the term "Correct!" appear next to their answer. Wrong guesses will return "???" Ask for a show of hands from students who got the correct answer to question 3, then announce that it's time to begin exploring what role all of the food groups play in a healthy diet.
  8. Before moving on to Activity 2, students should save their completed quizzes under their names (e.g, Food Quiz-[Student Name]), and then beam their work to your handheld.
Activity 2: Meet the Pyramid
Grouping: Small Groups
Materials: Food Web Guide
  1. Divide your class into six teams, and have one member of each team approach you to receive a beamed copy of the Food Web Guide. This student should then beam it to his or her teammates.
  2. Have everyone open the Food Web Guide and copy and paste the first link (below "The Food Guide Pyramid") into Pocket Internet Explorer so that students will be able to view the Food Guide Pyramid graphic in their web browser.
  3. Assign each group to explore one food group, using the Food Web Guide and other resources. Each team should prepare a report for the class (using Pocket Word and/or any other program on the handheld) that explains:
    1. What foods are included in its group, including 10 specific, familiar examples.
    2. A clear explanation of what a "serving" is for each food group.
    3. Any special hints or cautions that a healthy eater should be aware of about this food group.
  4. Each group should present its work to the class and then beam it to classmates so everyone has a complete set of in-depth food guidelines. Explain that these guidelines will come in handy as students keep track of their own eating patterns in the next activity. Groups should also beam their finished presentations to you.
Activity 3: Nosh and Track
Grouping: Individual
Materials: Food Tracker
  1. Beam the Food Tracker Pocket Excel workbook to all of the students in the first row, and have each beam it to two more students, until everyone has a copy.
  2. Have students open the Food Tracker, and ask them to choose the Day1 tab (there are seven Day tabs altogether). Point out that there are boxes for recording how many servings of each food group they eat in a day.
  3. As a test, instruct students to enter 2 into the box next to Fruit Group. In the fuchsia part of the multi-colored shape below-set up to mimic the pyramid-they will see a value of 50% appear. That's because the pyramid has been set up to calculate students' servings eaten against the suggested servings, using the maximum suggested in each case. (For Fats, Sweets, and Oils, which are to be enjoyed sparingly, 1/4 serving is built into the Food Tracker as the maximum suggested each day).
  4. Allow students to practice entering different amounts and checking the calculations. Then ask them to clear the number of servings from Day1, and go to Tools>Save Workbook As, and save the file under a unique name such as FoodTracker-[StudentName].
  5. Tell students to record their servings in each food group as each day goes by, making sure that the final numbers include all servings for that day.
  6. Encourage students to email each other or you with questions as they track their food over the week.
  7. At the end of the week, have students check the WeekAv tab to see their overall patterns as they relate to the food guidelines. This tab calculates their average consumption for each food group, and suggests that their consumption is "OK," that they should consume "More" of a particular group, or that they should "Watch" their consumption to make certain they are not eating too much of one particular group.
Activity 4: Analyze the Data
Grouping: Pairs
Materials: Food Tracker, Food Web Guide, Internet
  1. Students will now take a hard look at their own food patterns plus Internet and other media data to draw conclusions about nutrition.
  2. Divide your class into pairs; within each pair, students should choose the role of Explorer or Recorder.
  3. Each Explorer should open the Food Web Guide and follow the links onto the Internet to explore the research question: What patterns can be seen in the way young Americans eat? How healthy or unhealthy are those patterns?
  4. Meanwhile, the Recorder should launch a new Pocket Word document.
  5. The Explorer and Recorder will consult about the relevance and validity of each fact the Explorer finds, and the Recorder will type the fact and its source in the Pocket Word document.
  6. After completing their Internet research, students should look back at their own eating patterns by reopening their Food Trackers. How do their own food choices relate to those of young people in general?
  7. Each pair should aim to have three distinct facts plus one graphic-such as a chart or illustration-to form the basis of a short report.
  8. When all of the pairs have completed their work, they should present their findings to the class and beam their reports to you.
  9. Hold a class discussion: What overall conclusions can students draw about eating habits? What overall patterns emerge?
Activity 5: What's the Message?
Grouping: Pairs
Materials: Ad Critique, Food Web Guide, Internet, teen magazines, TV and radio advertising (at home)
  1. Now that students have explored the ways young people eat, they'll identify some of the reasons they eat that way.
  2. Have students work in the same pairs as in Activity 4, but the partners should now change roles. Beam each new Recorder the Ad Critique electronic handout.
  3. The pairs should now explore Internet sites aimed at young people, specifically seeking advertising relating to food. They should also study the teen magazines you brought into class, and monitor television and radio at home for several days. Their goal is to choose one advertisement to focus on. If at all possible, students should "capture" the ad on their handheld by:
    1. Copying it as a picture from the Internet
    2. Creating a picture of it using a scanner or digital camera
    3. Recording the soundtrack of the ad using the voice-recorder function on the handheld.
  4. Each pair should then complete the Ad Critique, which asks them to identify the food being promoted, the overall message about that food, and where that food fits into an overall healthy diet according to the Food Guide Pyramid guidelines. They will also note the filename of the "copy" of the ad they captured from Step 3. Each pair will save its completed work under a unique filename, such as AdCritique-[StudentNames].
  5. Have each pair present its findings to the class and beam its completed work to you.
Activity 6: Make Your Own Pitch
Grouping: Small Groups
Materials: Completed Ad Critique from Activity 5; handheld creativity tools such as Pocket Word draw and voice recorder; Internet
  1. Create groups of four by pairing up the pairs from Activities 4 and 5.
  2. Ask groups to think hard about the advertising materials they explored in Activity 4, as well as the eating patterns they identified in Activities 3 and 4. Their goal is to answer these two questions:
    1. What youth eating pattern most needs to be either changed or encouraged to improve nutrition?
    2. How can we use the techniques of advertising to change or encourage that eating pattern?
    3. Within their groups, students should create advertisements on their handheld using creativity tools such as the Pocket Word draw function or the voice recorder.
  3. When group work is complete, have each team present its ad to the class.
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Wrap-Up and Evaluation
Grouping: Individual
Materials: Food Plan
  1. Tell students that they will now demonstrate how well they've absorbed both the food guidelines and the healthy eating encouragement of their classmates.
  2. Beam each student the Food Plan template, and have everyone create a personal food plan for one day, including meals and snacks, to meet the food guidelines.
  3. Each item on the food plan should be a food the student would actually eat, and the student should record the food group(s) and number of servings represented by each item.
  4. The Food Plan will calculate the total number of servings for each food group, but students will need to refer back to all of their other materials to determine if they are meeting the food guidelines.
  5. When students have completed their work, have each student save the file as FoodPlan-[StudentName], and beam it to you.
  6. Evaluate each Food Plan based on the following scale:
    1. Compliance with the guidelines-up to 10 points per food group, 60 point maximum total
    2. Practicality-up to 20 points depending on how realistic the plan is
    3. Spelling, neatness, and completeness-up to 20 points
    Total points possible: 100
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Extension Activity
Grouping: Whole class and Individual
Materials: Task List program on handheld, ads created in Activity 6, Food Plan from Wrap-Up activity, Food Tracker
  1. Hold a class discussion about the many factors that influence young people's food choices, including advertising, family eating patterns, food available in the cafeteria and community, and so on.
  2. Have each student open their handheld Task List function, and set one to three specific nutrition goals for themselves for the coming week (with a Start date of today and a Due date of one week hence). They might draw on their Food Plan for inspiration.
  3. Each student should also choose one of the ads that classmates presented in Activity 6 to have beamed to their handhelds to serve as a personal reminder.
  4. Ask students to open their Food Trackers, go to Tools>Save Workbook As, and copy the workbook under another name (such as FoodTracker2-[StudentName]). They should go back to each day, highlight the top boxes filled in with data from last week, and select Edit>Clear>Contents.
  5. Students should use their Food Trackers and their Task Lists to show improved eating habits for the coming week.
  6. At the end of the week, have students open their Task Lists, indicate whether their goals are Complete or not, and then use the Notes function to comment on their progress.
  7. Call on several volunteers to share their results with the class.
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