Nutrition and Digestion Science Theme for Falcons
Everyone needs to know something about nutrition and how digestion works—especially before entering high school and formal athletics. Kingfisher kids have a particularly hard time with this because they can be stubborn and afraid of eating anything new or anything that isn’t processed. Knowing something about nutrition and about how bodies process food is basic good sense—developing healthy eating habits takes effort.
The objectives of the theme are as follows:
- The students will identify the four main food groups—meat, vegetables and fruits, grains, and dairy.
- They will be able to compare processed foods versus whole foods.
- Everyone will be able to identify how many servings are suggested for each item in the food groups should be served daily.
- The students will be able to identify the parts of the food pyramid and can describe the “big picture” reason for the food pyramid illustrations.
- Everyone will be able to name 5 fruits and 5 vegetables.
- They will be able to explain how vitamins and other nutritional elements relate to the colors of some of the foods we eat.
- They can identify healthy foods as separated from “fun-but-not-healthy” foods.
- Everyone will be able to discuss seasonality of produce in terms of nutrition.
- Students will be able to identify the nutrition label on a package and will understand the order of the items listed.
- The students will be able to name the organs involved in digestion and will be able to match the organs to their purpose.
- The students will be able to list different kinds of diets and briefly describe each one.
- They will be able to explain “portion-control” as it relates to food on the plate—learning that the calories or carbs listed on the package is probably NOT the whole package, but a quite limited amount.
- Students can do a time-line of eating a piece of toast—from taking a bite on to the end of it’s usefulness.
Activities and Assignments
We will experiment with sending salt/sugar crystals through a cloth to see how that might work with the small intestine.
We will create accordion books to track our meals for one week (7 days).
We will taste various different items and assign them to a category (savory, salty, sweet, sour, etc.)
Everyone will pick a digestive organ to create a mobile with—stomach, pancreas, liver, small intestine, large intestine, mouth and salivary glands, gall bladder. Kids will come up with 5 things about the organ chosen and attach them by string to a replica of the organ. (Much of this will be done in class but some at home.)
We will go to the DeKalb Farmer’s Market to see the vegetables coming in from other countries and to track the seasonality of produce. For example, healthy tomatoes that are full of vitamin C and rich taste come from local farms in the summer. Tomatoes that travel for days from Costa Rica in the fall may not have the same wonderful taste.
We’ll put together a display in the form of a puzzle with the vocabulary words and their definitions.
We’ll visit the CDC museum to see what they have in the museum on diseases caused by nutritional deficiency.
Everyone will have 4 articles to read on digestion and/or nutrition and will report on an abstract form. Then, everyone will find one article on their own either in the newspaper or a magazine and report on that.
We’ll cook some hamburger and show the Weight Watcher way of washing of the grease and cook some spaghetti and demonstrate how the starch leaches out of the noodles and can be washed away.
We’ll eat out a couple times during this theme and talk about various cultures and various foods and how they are associated with healthy diets.
Naturally, as we move through this theme, we’ll have a number of quickie quizzes to make sure everyone is on top of the information we are discussing.