Teaching about Nuitrition
by Judie Haynes
Thematic units tend to unify instruction in literature, writing, science, and social studies. Since this unit on nuitrition is "hands-on" and can be taught through cooperative groups, your newcomers can participate at their own ability levels.
Food activities for newcomers
Proficiency/Grade LevelGrade 2-8 Beginning to Intermediate ESL
Content Concepts and Skills
Vocabulary for food names; understanding of the food pyramid; comparing and contrasting the taste of food.
Copy of the food pyramid; magazines with pictures of food; different types of cereals.
- Begin the unit by discussing your students' food preferences. Beginning students should make flashcards to learn the food names necessary in the unit. Intermediate students can read a health article or school textbook material on good nutrition.
- Introduce vocabulary for different tastes: 'Bitter, sweet, sour, salty.> Use pictures of food to help students understand each vocabulary word. You can also have students look in magazines for food that is salty, sour, bitter, and sweet.
- Give students a copy of the food pyramid. If you wish to use and internet source go to The Food Pyramid Guide The Food Pyramid Guide was designed as an easy way to show the groups of foods that make up a good diet. It also shows how much of these different groups you need to eat to stay healthy. Explain that the foods which make up the base (the widest part) should be the biggest part of a diet, and as you go up the pyramid, the amounts get smaller as the pyramid gets skinnier.
- Help your ESL students expand their vocabulary to include other adjectives which describe food such as creamy, crunchy, chewy, crispy, mushy, hard. Use pictures or realia to demonstrate each taste.
- In cooperative groups have students conduct blindfolded taste tests of different cereals. Make a graph to indicate the students' favorite cereal. Help students use the previously learned vocabulary to describe each kind of cereal. Help them read the labels on the cereal boxes. How many calories does each type have? What is the percentage of suger content? Help students distinguish which cereals are healthy.
- Students in grades 2-4 can cut out pictures and create a poster or bulletin board display about good nutrition.
- Students in grades 4-8 can watch and report on TV food commercials. They can also create their own commercials for nutritious food in cooperative groups.
- Have students learn to prepare food for a class picnic or special reward. This can be a luncheon where no cooking is required. Have your students decide the menu.
- Prepare items such as tuna fish salad, green salad,or a fruit salad. This becomes an "across the curriculum lesson" as students complete different jobs in cooperative group. Let them decipher the receipe, assemble materials, measure the quantities, cut, chop, slice and wash the food. Have them talk about what they are doing using the correct vocabulary. Let them write letters of invitation to your Principal and other school employees.
Many of the activities above are excellent language and concept-building opportunities for ESL students, even those with very limited English. Working in cooperative groups, all students can participate in the blind taste test, create a poster or bulletin board on nutrition or work cooperatively to prepare food. Your English language learners should participate at their own ability level
© 1998-2010 Judie Haynes, www.everythingESL.net