Whenever I’m teaching my students about healthy food choices, the topic of junk food some how finds its way into the discussion, especially with junior high students. When I ask them for reasons as to why they don’t eat more healthy, nutritious foods such as fruits and vegetables, they tell me it’s because they don’t like the taste. In comparison, junk food tastes so much better! I promptly explain that it’s made that way, on purpose! So, when the January 2017 issue of Scholastic Choices came out with an article on just this topic, I was super excited to share it with my students! I also wanted to include a tech project associated with it, as I saw cartoon/comic strip written all over this. Below, you will see how I turned something students wanted to discuss into an educational, interactive assignment. The end results are so cool, like something out of a real comic book–your students are sure to enjoy the technology! Oh, and, did I mention that it’s free and super friendly and easy to use?
Need quick cooking recipes for your foods labs or dinner at home on a busy night? I know I do! That’s why I teach about stir-fry cooking! Not only is stir-fry cooking quick and easy, but it’s nutritious, colorful and fairly easy to clean up. So, after students investigate some basics of stir-fry cookery, they get to spin themselves a unique recipe for the class to sample. Try spinning yourself a stir-fry. Who knows, you might just find a new favorite, easy-to-go-to dinner!
Many people have a difficult time discerning between portion size and serving size when they dish out their snacks and meals. Teenagers are no exception! This lesson utilizes Goldfish snack crackers to discover what happens to their nutritional intakes when the portion size goes beyond the serving size. Along the way, students learn the causes, impacts and strategies to deal with increased portion sizes. Additionally, students enjoy capturing Pokémon characters as they try to match everyday visuals with common food amounts. Give it a try and see if your students don’t enjoy learning about portion sizes vs. serving sizes too!
It was the end of the school year and I had just finished a decorating unit where students had to create a shoe box room applying the elements of design. The art teacher had just finished a Zentangle project with her students. So, we had this idea to use the last couple of school days to merge our classes together to create Zentangle cookies using edible markers. This idea was based on a Michael’s project, but adapted to fit our needs. This was a fun, easy project that students had a good time designing and eating and one I would definitely do again!
My junior high classes rotate every six weeks which doesn’t leave a whole lot of time to cover all the material that I need or want to. Because of this, I find myself trying to piggyback multiple concepts and standards into a lesson or activity. So when I teach about how to calculate unit prices and read package labels, both ingredient lists and nutrition facts, it makes sense to combine the two into a hands-on hot cocoa mix taste testing lab. Not only does it get the students into the kitchen, but it ties back to everything we covered so far in the rotation, helping them to review the concepts previously learned. In the lab students determine which product they think tastes the best and then in the follow-up students use the product labels to compare everything from unit price to ingredients to nutrition. Do students know their brands like they think they do? Can they determine the healthiest brand for their dollars? This lesson helps them find out!
My classroom runs much smoother when my students are engaged in interactive activities. That’s one of the reasons why I POST.IT.NOTESlove these activities! The first is a fun little game that gets students up, moving around and tests their knowledge of basic equipment used in the kitchen, the sewing room, or the nursery. All you need is a list of equipment and some post-it-notes or index cards. This activity can be prepared as a one time use activity or you can make reusable cards with yarn. This activity is very versatile and can be used like a pretest to see what students know about the basic equipment used in each area or it could be used as a review activity after teaching about them. Another fun review game is played on the laptop or electronic devices such as phones, ipads, tablets, etc. using a web-based technology called Kahoot. Students beg to play this fun, interactive game and are very competitive. Try them out and be prepared to see your students engaged, learning and having fun all at the same time!
When teaching about the food groups in MyPlate I find it’s also important to explain the concepts of mixed foods, empty calories and nutrient dense foods. Junior high students are often confused as to what these terms actually mean. After…