Designing Lesson Plans: 101

Most of today was spent creating, brainstorming, and designing lesson plans and nutrition-based programs that will benefit the community.  One lesson I gave elementary students when I was an undergrad was an interactive activity that taught the kids about the food groups on the MyPyramid (now MyPlate). What I did, along with a few other nutrition students, is gather the 15 or so kids in a gym and we went around the group talking about the different food groups- servings they should have per day, examples of different foods in each group, and why each food group was important. After the lesson, we broke the kids into teams, and had them play a game we had organized. Examples of foods were typed onto slips of paper (ie: Goldfish crackers, Parnsnips, Pineapple, Eggs), and these papers were placed in balloons that we blew up and placed in the middle of the gym. On “go,” the children got to run to the middle, pop the balloons, take out the slip of paper, and run to the correct food group labeled paper bag on the perimeter of the gym. After the chaos and excitement, we went through each paper bag with the kids, explained the foods they put into the wrong food group, and congratulated them on all the foods they got correct. It was a fun way to teach about the food groups, as well as incorporate physical activity into the lesson.

The SDA toolkit/binder should have a dozen or more lesson plan templates included in it.  This way, when the SDA has the opportunity to speak to children, college students, or adults about a nutrition topic, they can look in the binder for an appropriate lesson plan that they can implement successfully. Lesson plans I worked on include one for younger children on how to dehydrate fruit. Kids will have the opportunity to taste different fruits they may have not ever tried before, and they will learn different ways to eat fruits rather than just fresh. A child may hate bananas, but maybe they find they really like dried banana chips! Children can also take home an instruction sheet to their parents that explains how to dehydrate fruit.  Ideally, dried fruit could eventually replace other unhealthy snacks in the home.  Another lesson plan I included was a lesson on how to make healthy snack choices for upper elementary/middle school students.  I used the acronym SNACKS which stands for Smaller portions, Not in front of the TV, Am I really hungry?, Choose low-fat foods from the MyPlate for snacks, Kitchen is a good place to eat, and Sit down, slow down, savor, and enjoy.  Other lesson plan ideas could include teaching college students about the calories in alcoholic drinks, and teaching adults the difference between all the different fats (monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, saturated, and trans fat).

Sometimes in order to give a lesson or a brief demonstation at a booth, for example, it is helpful to have interesting visual aids, props, or games to help get the message across more effectively.   What I did, briefly, this morning was browse and create a wishlist of educational items that I would like to see WVU purchase.  The current budget can support the purchase of some of these items, however it is necessary to write grants in order to get enough money to buy most or all of them.  I think that a lot of these items would be great for a booth at the Student Health Fair and Employee Wellness Fair, as well as helpful to have at other SDA service learning events.  I wrote my own comments. What do you think? Any favorites?

MyPlate Chart

A versitile chart for children through adults


SpinSmart Nutrition Game

Fun nutrition trivia game for a booth at a wellness fair


Blubber Busters

Dessert-shaped fat blobs…designed for that shock factor– what are you really eating?


Sugar Facts Test Tubes

Find out the amount of sugar you’re consuming


Fat Facts: Saturated And Unsaturated Test Tubes

The amount of different types of fats in certain foods is shown


Reading Food Labels Is a Healthy Habit Chart

How to read a nutrition label


Body Fat Analyzer

Just enter your data (weight, height, gender, age) and find out your BMI and body fat %


Globs of Fat and Masses of Muscle Set (1 lb and 5 lb)

What do 1# and 5# of muscle and fat look like?


Fitness Dice

A fun fitness activity for kids…roll the die & you may have to do 4 toe touches and 8 jumping jacks!


Heavy Drinking: How Alcohol’s Calories Add Up Display

The sugar and alcohol calorie content of alcoholic beverages. Make smarter drinking choices!


Death of a Liver Easel Display

The consequences of alcohol and an unhealthy lifestyle


Deluxe Occluded Artery Model

What your arteries look like– healthy vs. unhealthy


Solar-Operated BMI Calculator

Type in your weight & height and the calculator does the math for you


Categories: Community Nutrition, Education in the Community | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Designing Lesson Plans: 101

  1. I think all of the health education materials are great ideas! My favorite ones are the globs of fat mass and the body fat analyzer. And if you are ever targeting college-age students, the alcohol calories lesson would really hit home for them. Great post Em! 🙂

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