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Author(s): Nancy Moreno, PhD, and Barbara Tharp, MS.

Healthy Eating

Complete instructions for conducting activities in this slide set, including materials needed, setup instructions, student sheets (in English and in Spanish), answer keys and extensions, can be found in The Science of Food Teacher’s Guide, which is available free-of-charge at


1. Divide students into groups of four. Explain that each group will be responsible for examining and reporting on a specific food item.

2. Distribute a set of bags to each group, explaining that although students may recognize the food, they should not call the name out loud. It will be a mystery food for other groups to identify, based on their observations and prior knowledge.

3. Ask students to observe the food in their bags, using all their senses except taste. Encourage use of the hand lens for closer observation. Questions to ask students include: How does it feel, sound, look, and smell? Do you recognize this food? Do you eat this food? Do you think it is good for you? How much of this type of food would you need to eat daily? Where does it come from?

4. Have each student write down his or her observations and anything specific that he or she knows about the food being observed. However, students should not name the food.

5. Students should share their observations within their groups. The groups’ Reporters should make a list of the observations on construction paper. A good way for the group to share responsibilities is to have the members take turns giving one observation at a time for the Reporter to record. Once an observation has been shared, any other group member with the same observation should check it off his or her list. This will continue until all, or at least most, of the observations are listed.

6. Have the Materials Managers place their charts on the wall where all students can view them.

7. Student groups should view each of the charts and decide, based on the recorded observations, what food is being described and whether or not they have additional observations or information about that food.

8. Lead a discussion, based on the information on the charts, with the entire group. Explain that all the foods observed and discussed are necessary, but that different amounts of each are recommended for optimum health.

9. Conclude by using the “Healthy Eating page.” Ask students to identify the group to which each of the foods examined belongs. Have students work in their groups to create a menu for one day that includes appropriate numbers of servings from each of the food groups.

Funded by the following grant(s)

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

My Health My World: National Dissemination
Grant Number: 5R25ES009259
The Environment as a Context for Opportunities in Schools
Grant Number: 5R25ES010698, R25ES06932

Houston Endowment Inc.

Foundations for the Future: Capitalizing on Technology to Promote Equity, Access and Quality in Elementary Science Education