Food!

Food is a strong motivator for all of us, right?  It’s also something that we all need, enjoy and have in common. I mentioned in a previous post that my all-time favorite teacher made a special banana soup for the class when we studied tribes in Africa. That lesson was almost 30 years ago and I remember it like it was yesterday. I use food so often (and love food so much) that I’ll have to restrain myself and offer only a few lesson ideas today.

We can’t start any good food conversation without my favorite Star Wars parody, Grocery Store Wars:

This video is such a fun way to start a food-based lesson. It also opens up a great conversation about the difference between organic food versus genetically engineered food or fruits and veggies grown with pesticides. Additionally, it leads nicely into a discussion about just how far away some of our food comes from. I just finished a great lesson with my daughter’s 2nd grade class about this very topic.  In groups of 5, each student picked their favorite fruit or vegetable from a basket I brought in. I made sure to have a variety of choices from as far away as possible.  Once the kids had their item, we looked at the produce sticker, found the origin country and mapped it.  The kids were shocked by just how far their piece of produce had traveled. Strawberries from Brazil! A mango from Nicaragua! An apple from Oregon! Wait…  YES! We also talked about why certain fruits are grown in places closer to the equator because they are warmer year-round than we are up here in the Pacific Northwest. But that we grow some yummy things here too.

Another food topic with some fun options is the Food Pyramid.  In 2011, the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (NCPP) updated this concept with a new and improved Food Plate:

My Plate

If you click the image above, it will direct you to the kid-friendly part of the USDA’s site.  There are games, activity sheets, videos and songs. In an effort to make this topic more hands-on, I took my kids to a local pottery painting studio to make their own food plates. We use them often and the kids are very proud. It’s a great visual of what the group proportions should really look like when you make a meal:

IMG_5428 IMG_5430

I hope these ideas are useful. Thanks again for reading!

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