My students used very vivid photographs for their project and during the presentation; their classmates really expressed how disgusting and repulsive those diseases were.They were concerned about being like that and how they did not want to become fat. At that point, I wanted my students to connect all the effects to one cause: Eating unhealthy foods. By comparingthe different effects such as obesity, cavities, etc.; my students were able to conclude that “eating junk food makes you fat and when you are too fat it is disgusting and you can get really sick”. After learning about the effects and diseases connected with the bad habit of eating unhealthy food, my students started sharing stories of their relatives who have the same problems because of their weight. They became concerned about all these effects and asked questions. Such questions included: as how can I lose weight, what kind of food should I eat that won’t let me be fat, I don’t want to be fat, how much should I eat, and how do I know if I am eating too much? I think it all got their attention and curiosity enough to get them to become more aware of their own diets. After some discussions we had as a group about the kind of the food they eat at home as well as in school, they brainstormed ideas and discussed different types of foods, and the kinds of foods that were healthy and the ones that were unhealthy. After I questioned them about the type of foods they think they should consume daily for their age, they seemed curious.
They suggested researching more about the topic, and finding out the appropriate food portions for them to eat. Before starting the research, I introduced the food groups to them to familiarize them with the general information about different groups. They did some activities, and among them, was one to circle the pictures that belong to the particular food group. (Printable from www.ChefSolus.com).Then, I suggested they look at the food pyramid, so they can choose the group they want to research. The food pyramid included dairy, fruits, vegetables, grains, and protein. For each group, they needed to find out information about which foods were included in each group; the amount of food from the specific group needed daily, related health benefits, and tips for making better choices. My students voted again on doing google slides to show what they have learned about the different food groups and to share their findings with their classmates by oral presentation. They were enthusiastic and worked hard. Even with little experience using google slides, they were very proud of their work and with their presentation.
As a consequence of the food project, my students got excited about learning more about eating well. To begin with, I shared with them a food tracker that will help them keep track of the kind of food they eat daily. We decided to do this for a week. My students had to color the foods from all the food groups that they ate for that day. For example grains were orange, veggies green,fruits red, dairy blue and meat purple. At the end of the week, they shared their results and demonstrated their conclusions with a graph.
As my students were getting more into the project, I decided to track what they eat at breakfast.It seemed to me that every morning, my students were tired and sleepy. They swear to me that they go to bed early. I gave them a graphic organizer to circle what they eat at breakfast. They used their addition and multiplication skills to find out how many calories were in the breakfast meal they had. However, what I discovered was that most of them don’t eat breakfast at all, so lunch at school is the only meal they have for the rest of the day. Also, some of the breakfast meals were very scarce for students their age. Some of them told me that they drank water, and water wasn’t listed in the table I gave them to track their breakfast.
These conclusions brought discussions about the reasons they don’t eat breakfast and what to do to improve their diet. Listening to them, I noticed that most of the girls are at the age where they want to look good and are avoiding eating. So we decided to seriously track morning, lunch and dinner meals using a calorie counter. Students were asked to keep track of the amount of food and calories consumed for one day. Then, they had to add up the total to see how many calories were in these meals. After that, they should go back and cross out the meals that were too high in calories. They were surprised when they compared their final calorie count to the total calories they should have consumed. Most of them realized that the meals they crossed out were the ones that had more calories and made them gain more weight. After students realized the amount of calories they were consuming per day, based on the results from their tracking table, they were more curious about what they should eat for their age. I suggested using an online tracker from the website MyPlate to originate individual plans for each student with the amount of daily calories they needed and the amount of food groups they needed per day.