- Grade level: Lower Elementary, Upper Elementary
- Subject Area: Math
The food we eat contributes to our heath and well-being. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has developed the food pyramid to help people choose foods that are healthy and sufficient servings to lead a healthy lifestyle and make healthy choices every day. This unit encourages students to consider the foods that they eat in relation to the food pyramid, to keep track of how much fat they consume in a fat diary, and to compare their intake of fat with that of other students around the country.
- Learn about the food pyramid.
- Learn about how much fat is in our regular diets.
- Share data collected on fat intake with other students.
- Learn to use math to calculate group averages and classroom totals.
Materials and Resources
In developing our lessons and activities, we made some assumptions about the hardware and software that would be available in the classroom for teachers who visit the LETSNet Website. We assume that teachers using our Internet-based lessons or activities have a computer (PC or Macintosh) with the necessary hardware components (mouse, keyboard, and monitor) as well as software (operating system, TCP/IP software, networking or dial-up software, e-mail and a World Wide Web client program, preferably Netscape, but perhaps Mosaic or Lynx). In the section below, we specify any "special" hardware or software requirements for a lesson or activity (in addition to those described above) and the level of Internet access required to do the activity.
- Special hardware requirements: None.
- Special software requirements: None.
- Internet access: Medium-speed (28,000 BPS via modem) or higher.
Unit Lesson Plans
- Lesson One: Introduction to the Food Pyramid. This lesson uses traditional and on-line resources to introduce students to health and food issues, via the food pyramid.
- Lesson Two: Counting Fat in Our Diet. Students take home a fat diary and keep track of the fat in the foods they eat over a week. Parents can work with students to calculate the amount of fat in their diet.
- Lesson Three: Classroom Comparison of Fat Intake. Students bring in their fat diaries and work in pairs to calculate their average fat intake per day during the week that data is collected. Following this, the whole class gathers to calculate their total fat intake and average fat intake per student per week and per day. Each student can compare his/her average and total fat intake with those of other students in the class, and this can lead to a discussion of eating habits and possible changes to food intake.
- Lesson Four: Sharing Classroom Fat Data with Other Students. Following their data collection, students can post their results to a Website or via e-mail to share and compare with other students around the country or world.
Relation to Standards
The Fat Counting unit contains activities that encourage and support student learning about math and science, especially in the areas of food and health. In developing these lessons, we have considered the science standards of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) math standards page maintained by the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse for Mathematics and Science Education.
One Computer vs. Many
The plans for this unit are tailored to fit teaching situations where students have access to several computers with an Internet connection. To accommodate classrooms that do not have access to a computer lab with full Internet connections, students can work in research groups to explore Internet sites and conduct their research.
If you have only one computer with Internet access, you may choose to do one of the following:
- If you have the technology, you may hook up the computer to a TV monitor or LCD projector. This will allow the whole class to see sites in the preliminary stages when students are exploring sites created by other children.
- You may choose to have students take turns working in groups using the computer with Internet access.
- You may also download files from the Internet and save them on a disk. Now you can transfer the files you saved on a disk to the other non-Internet computers. Installing copies of your Web browser on all non-Internet computers will allow you to view the pages you saved to a disk. This will not allow students to explore hyper-links, but they will be able to access and view the information by opening each file with the Web browser.