What's on the menu?
All animals need to eat. They can't make their own food as a plant does, so their food needs to be sourced from elsewhere. Humans are animals too, and the need for a healthy balanced diet, featuring a variety of different foods, is important for them. This list consists of lesson plans, activities and ideas to support the teaching of science through this topic. It contains ideas for how to link science to the topic, tips on using the resources, suggestions for further use and background subject knowledge to support teachers in delivering the science objectives through this topic. These resources support the teaching of animals, including humans at lower primary.
Visit the primary resources for cross curricular topics webpage to access all resource lists:
Links and Resources
Using a huge wall map of the world, flower pots, compost and videos, children find out everything there is to know about the fruit they eat. Be sure to introduce them to a variety of real fruits (as well as using the excellent images contained in the resource). So many are easily available in supermarkets and stores, but children may not have seen, handled or tasted many of them before. Include in your fruit basket 'fruits' that are not sweet by nature too: courgettes and squashes, peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes, all have their place and many children will not recognise them as fruit as they are eaten a lot in savoury dishes. Technically anything that contains seeds is a fruit, as many plants grow fruit to enclose and protect their seeds, which need to spread out to grow new plants.
Activities encourage children to make observations, compare and contrast, identify similarities and differences, sort and group a selection of fruits of different kinds. They investigate where fruit has travelled from, and what transport was used getting it to the UK. Children explore the different parts of fruit and compare the seeds of a variety of fruit. They plant seeds and observe the changes over time.
Another possible activity could be asking children to predict what a fruit will look like inside. Children can draw their predictions, including what seeds may look like, the pattern of seeds and the colour of the fruit on the inside. Fruit is then cut open, lengthwise or through the middle to expose different views of the inside. Close observational drawing of the cut fruit can then be made using pencil, chalk, oil pastels, paint etc. Apart from the links to parts of a plant and plant reproduction, the seeds can be collected and used in a thinking skills lesson. Challenge children to sort unknown seeds and think about which fruit they may have come from.
Developed for use in Early Years, these resources link to work on the areas of physical development, understanding the world and communicating ideas, they also aid vocabulary development and working as part of a group. The activities and games explore food preferences and what constitutes a healthy balanced diet. They also promote the importance of eating a variety of fruit and vegetables and begin to identify the types of food within meals.
A series of questions lead children to consider the choices they make: What food do you like? What is the Eatwell Plate? How many fruit and vegetables do you need? Although aimed at very young children the resource could be adapted for use with KS1 children. It includes a variety of very good images of foods of different types, as well as games and other useful materials. As you use it, provide plenty of opportunities for children to group and classify familiar foods (use real foods and packaging wherever possible) and to generate, present and interpret simple data about their food likes and dislikes. Children might also write menus for a 'role play' cafe in the classroom, log their food choices in an ongoing food diary or write shopping lists, seek out recipes and make food for a 'lunch date' with parents and carers.
In 'It's a wrap!' children discover how to keep the food we eat fresh. Most of the food we buy comes packed in plastic, cardboard or tins and jars, but why? Children explore this question, by investigating the properties of different materials, and finding out what the best packaging is for keeping food fresh. In this lesson, designed for ages 5-6, children carry out an experiment to determine what happens to a food when you package it, and when you don’t. Children then report back, identifying the perfect packaging for a chosen food, based on what they have learned from their investigations. They will also learn about new technological advances that are being made in food packaging.
The second resource for KS1 age children 'Fast Food Chains' includes a set of activities aimed at ages 6-7, children explore food chains of different animals, including humans. They learn about food chains in different parts of the World and identify similarities and differences between them. They then think about what may happen if part of a food chain is missing and explore some of the reasons why this may happen.
This resource has been produced as part of The Crunch, created by the Wellcome Trust to promote learning and discussions about our food, our health and our planet. By examining our relationships with food, and exploring cutting edge research, we can think about how we can eat in ways that can keep our planet and ourselves healthy.
The activity 'What does it taste like?' encourages children to try new foods and to use their senses to describe them. 'How do you get ready to cook?' and 'What does this piece of equipment do?' look at hygiene and safety in food preparation and help children become familiar with some of the equipment used in a kitchen. Again, practical experience is key. Provide children with real examples of kitchen equipment to look at, describe and compare. Encourage them to consider the properties and uses of the materials from which each piece of equipment is made - reinforcing and developing understanding of the uses of everyday materials.
Simple food chains and feeding relationships between animals are encountered for the first time lower primary, building on work that children do on recognising animals (in simple terms) as carnivores, herbivores or omnivores.
In this Teachers TV short programme, animals and plants talk about their place in a food chain and how they are interlinked. A fox, a hedgehog, a caterpillar talk about what they eat, showing how animals and plants are reliant on one another to survive. When one of the links disappears it shows what happens to the rest of the chain. The video ends with a question 'How does the caterpilllar leaving affect the other animals?' designed to provoke a classroom discussion on food chains. This starter clip is a light hearted way of introducing food chains and could be used for any age at primary level.
The concept of food chains can be introduced to children by using familiar examples and asking the question, 'Who eats who? Link back to the nature of animal diets and whether animals are carnivores, omnivores or herbivores. The fox is a carnivore - a meat eater. The hedgehog is an omnivore - eating worms, slugs, snails as well as berries, roots and grains. The caterpillar is a herbivore - eating only plant matter. What other animals can the children think of, which fit into each of those groups? A familiar picture book 'The Grufallo' , by Julia Donaldson, provides a fun way to explore the idea of animals being 'on the menu' and eating each other (potentially) for dinner!
This resource helps children to develop an understanding of some of the food chains within a woodland habitat, through the use of games nad drama activities. Linked to the topics of animals and all living things, it includes a matching activity, a game and a simulation of a food web. Teacher guidance on running the activities is provided along with cards for the matching activity. There are two versions of the Matching food chain activity, depending on the level of challenge needed for the children, the first version would be most appropriete for younger learners. Children will love stimulating the feeding relationships in Foxes and rabbits, it is nice to provide a prop so they know if they are a fox or a rabbit, little white tails made of cotton wool and long strips of red paper could work, get creative the children will love it!
Discovery card 5 on food chains and webs is targeted at older primary children, however the food chain mobile activity is worthy of adapting for younger children. Creating a large scale classroom mobile, showing the links between animals and to plants and the Sun, will serve to reinforce children's early ideas about food chains and how they work.
This resource contains eighteen activities linked to health and diet, incorporating many cross curricular links. Children explore questions such as, 'Why do we eat?' 'What should we eat?' What's in our food?' and learn 'how to have a healthy lifestyle' as they go.
The activities on identification and classification of fruit and vegetables, and a balanced diet and a healthy mind and body are most relevant. There are lots of opportunities for children carry out surveys, present and interpret data, write emails, make observational drawings and play games such as food bingo.