Learn about nutrition while problem solving

Driving question: How can a medical assistant educate others

about the importance of nutrition?


  • Explain the significance of nutrition.
  • Describe the six main classifications of nutrients.
  • Discuss diet modifications ordered by physicians.
  • Where do we start?

    Start with a KWL: Why is nutrition important to everyone?

    -Update your KWL chart. -Have a discussion with students about their typical meal. Do they eat chips? Bread? Fruit? Vegetables? Milk? Meat? What are their favorite foods? -Talk about different kinds of diets. What does gluten free mean? What is a vegetarian? What is a vegan? What is a fad diet? In addition, you can show the students pictures of different animals and ask them if they are a vegetarian, carnivore, or omnivore. -Read a book/article about nutrition and physical activity and discuss the main concepts. Possible suggestions: My Food Pyramid by Alisha Niehaus and A Healthy Diet by Elaine Landau (Ch.3)

    Longer Activities Ideas (15- 30 minutes):

    Activity Title: Food Plate Game Description: Making necklaces with food items written on index cards to help them learn about My Plate. Learning Goals: Uses concepts of nutrition to understand how to make a balanced meal. Materials: Masking tape, stopwatch or timer, index cards, string, single hole punch, felt markers Background Information for the Facilitator: None Procedure: (Describe what you do) 1. With Felt Markers write various food names on index cards (banana, rice, milk etc…), one on each card. Punch a hole in each card and put a string around it, tying the string to make a necklace. You can 12 make enough for your class or add a few for variety. 2. Using the masking tape, create a food plate on the floor that is large enough for the whole class to stand on. You could, instead of the masking tape, make signs and designate a different part of the room for each food group on the food plate. 3. Hand out the necklaces to each student randomly and tell them they must go to the proper place on the food plate. Process: time them, tell them how many are incorrect, have them correct it, and time them again. Once they are all in the correct spot you can have them switch necklaces and time them again, attempting to beat their previous times. 4. Have them all discuss what foods go in each food group and some of the food items that are a little trickier to place. Then have them discuss what a balanced meal would look like on the My Plate diagram (see page 46). Extensions: Afterwards you can discuss the food plate and have them create meals based on the various foods written on the index cards to make a balanced meal.

    Serving sizes

    Serving Sizes Background Knowledge for the Facilitator: - Please refer to the “The Five Food Groups for Kids” worksheet in APPENDIX page 53, which lists the five food groups and the recommending daily servings for children of specific ages. - Refer to the following teacher background information: “Is It a Portion or a Serving?” (page 54), “Trends in Portion Sizes” (page 55), “Serving Sizes are in Your Hand” (page 56), and “What’s in a Serving Size” (page 57). - Please see page 46 of “Healthy Guidelines for OST Programs Toolkit” for a reference handout. Quick Easy Activity Ideas (5- 15 minutes): - Update “I wonder” or “I think about” chart. -Update KWL chart. -With a box of goldfish, or some type of cracker or pretzel, ask the students to reach in and take whatever serving size they would normally take. Tell them to count the number of items they took, and then tell them what the serving size. Ask them to separate a serving size from their pile. Are they surprised? How much bigger (or smaller) is the pile they took than what the actual serving size is? Why is it important to have the write serving size? -See “Rethink Your Drink” activity on page 12, 38, and 39 of the “Healthy Guidelines for OST Programs Toolkit

    Portions & serving sizes

    Activity Title: Portions and Serving Sizes Description: Utilizing concrete objects to demonstrate serving sizes and understand healthy snacks within the correct serving size. Learning Goals: To explore nutrition and measurement concepts by learning about serving sizes. Materials: Five Star Snacks and Five Star Snack Ideas handout (pages 58-62), 20-oz soda bottle with nutrition facts label, deck of cards, four dice, tennis ball, computer mouse, paper plates, bowls, cups, box of cereal, pretzels, can of green beans or other vegetable, peanut butter, measuring cups (liquid and dry measures), measuring spoons

    Activity Title: Measurement Description: Using measuring cups and other concrete items to measure serving sizes. Learning Goals: Explore concepts in nutrition using math techniques such as fractions and measuring. Materials: 1, ½, and ¼ cup measuring cups for each group; various foods to measure; for dried fruit—use raisins; for canned fruit—any canned fruit chunks (pineapple); for cooked vegetable—shredded carrots, canned peas; everyday objects representing the amounts of 1, ½, and ¼ cups

    Food labels

    Activity Title: Food Labels and Serving Sizes Description: To become better consumers by learning how to read nutrition labels and understand serving sizes through the measurement of cereal, observation and participation of activities, and analysis of food labels. Learning Goals: Utilize math and nutrition knowledge and skills to understand how to read food labels. Materials: 3-4 cereal bowls, 2 boxes of cereal with nutrition labels covered or removed, measuring cups, poster board, nutrition facts labels from 5 or more cereal boxes, nutrition facts labels from 5 or more snack boxes, nutrition facts labels from 5 or more packages a-la-carte snack items available in the cafeteria, “Is Your Food a Healthy Choice?” worksheet (pages 70-71), “Nutrient Search” worksheet (page 72), “How to Calculate Percent of Calories from Fat” handout (page 73).

    Activity Title: Food Label Scavenger Hunt Description: A fund scavenger hunt through various food labels to help students become more conscious consumers. Learning Goals: Utilize literacy and nutrition knowledge and skills to read food labels. Materials: Food items with food labels that contain the nutrients listed on the handout 22 (recommended: strawberries, granola bars, yogurt, various other snacks); “Scavenger Hunt: Can you Find These Foods?” Handout (page 74); bowls; spoons

    Meal plan

    Activity Title: Meal Planning Description: To keep track of their meals for a designated period of time to determine how balanced their meals were. Learning Goals: Utilize science (nutrition) knowledge to analyze food journals. Materials: Meal Planning Worksheet (page 83)

    Activity Title: Meal Planning Description for a disease: Make a meal plan for a chronic disease.

    final project

    Activty: Have students create a tackk sharing the data they have collected.


    Activity Title: “Little D’s Nutrition Expedition: Activity 7 – We Need All Five!” Description: Madlibs activity and discussion to help the students understand the five food groups. Learning Goals: Explore concepts of nutrition and English utilizing various activity handouts. Materials: Word List worksheet (see page 41), The Day the Milk Group Disappeared worksheet (see pages 42-43), “Others” Come Last handout (see page 44-45), paper, pencil