Elaine Pauline Agusto-Laster - Daniel Hale Williams Elementary School 

Stacking the Deck on Nutrition    

Elaine Pauline Agusto-Laster Daniel Hale Williams Elementary School
2710 South Dearborn
(773) 534-9226


To introduce and demonstrate the word classify. This will be done by
having students arrange a variety of foods into their proper food groups. This
and other related activities will aid in the development of the students'
critical thinking skills.
An introduction to the food pyramid and the grouping of food will
provide for students an awareness of how foods are categorized, as well as their
levels of importance to the human body.

Materials Needed:

Construction paper; Food Playing Cards; 3-inch by 5-inch index cards;
paste or glue sticks; scissors; crayons or markers; The Pressure's On!
scorecards; and pencils.


Discuss with the class that classifying is a way of assigning (a
thing) to a class or category. Demonstrate on the chalkboard how classifying
is done. Have a food ready list for students to select from. From this list,
have students place each of the foods into their correct sections.
Through a variety of class activities students will learn how foods
are classified, and are arranged into groups on the food pyramid. In the
first activity the class will play the game Go Fish! (1) Divide the class into
groups of three and give each group a set of cards. (2) Deal seven cards face
down to each player and put the remaining cards face down to form a draw
pile. (3) If players have two foods from the same food group, they place them
down as a match. (4) In turn, each player asks the player to the left for all
the foods from a certain food group. For example, Horace might say to Hilary,
"Give me all your Grains." If Hilary has cards from the Grain Group she must
give all of them to Horace. If not, Hilary says, " Go Fish." Horace then has
to draw from a pile. (5) Play continues until a player has matched all of the
cards and has none left in his/her hand. That person is then declared the
The second activity is called The Pressure's On! The concept, of this
activity, is that foods vary in amount of sodium, cholesterol, and fat that
they contain. Limiting the amount of these substances in the diet can help
reduce the risk of heart disease. The objective is for the player to have the
least amount of sodium, cholesterol, or fat when the foods cards are totaled.
The directions for this activity are: (1) Prior to class, photocopy one set of
Food Cards for each group of six. Then photocopy one The Pressure's On!
Scorecard for each person. (2) Divide the class into groups of six and give
each group a set of Food Cards, which have been cut apart and shuffled. Turn
the cards face down on the desk or playing surface. (3) One at a time, in
turn, each player draws a card, turns it face up, and announces the food, and
the amount of sodium. That person then records the amount of sodium on their
score card under the sodium column. Continue choosing, and recording until
all forty-eight cards have been selected. (4) Each player adds up the total
amount of sodium on their cards, and the player with the fewest milligrams is
the winner. (5) Shuffle the cards, and play again, but for this round, count
total milligrams of cholesterol. Once again, the lowest amount wins. (6)
Shuffle and play round three counting grams of fat. Again, the lowest amount
of fat is the winner. (7) Discuss the effects large amounts of sodium,
cholesterol, and fat have on health.

Performance Assessment:

To assess the students' understanding of classifying, give each
student a pre-drawn food pyramid on construction paper and reproduce sheets
of the six food groups. Tell the students that they are to place each of the
foods in their correct food groups.


The students have gained a greater understanding of classifying. They
also have an awareness of the food groups, and what foods have a significant or
insignificant value to the human body. Most of the activities were hands-on and
allowed for greater student participation.


Toner, Patricia Rizzo. Diet and Nutrition Activities. New York:
The Center For Applied Research in Education, 1993.

Sharon, Michael Dr. Complete Nutrition: How To Live in Total Health. New York: Prion, 1994.
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