Food and Diet
This list consists of lesson plans, activities and ideas to support the teaching of science through the topic of Food and Diet. 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. Resources support the teaching of the science topic animals, including humans.
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Links and Resources
Many children will think that putting seeds under stress will prevent them from growing. This investigation shows that soaking seeds in salt solution can actually speed up germination and cause the plant to grow faster.
If you do not have access to test tubes, you could try growing the seeds in clear plastic bottles. Placing the seed at the edge of the bottle should allow you to see the growth of the roots clearly.
There is a great video showing how to demonstrate the digestive system to children. The presenter draws your attention to the misconceptions that could be passed on through the demonstration and how you could avoid this.
In my experience, it is great to give children the opportunity to model this for themselves rather than simply watching the teacher do a demonstration. There is also a lot of research which supports the notion that children learn better when they model things for themselves. Be aware that in this instance, this could prove very messy!
It is often difficult to include any practical investigative work when covering the objectives relating to diet. These activities allow children to explore what starch is and investigate which foods contain the most amounts of starch.
As well as looking at which foods contain starch, it would be good if children could find out about what starch does to the body, and plan a menu which contains more or less starch to suit a particular individual.
The slippery, slimey starch investigation can be linked to an art or DT project. Children could also investigate whether varying the quantities in the mixture makes a 'better' slippery slimey ball.
Sourcing Sugars gives children the opportunity to find out which foods and drinks contain glucose. This investigation requires the purchase of clinistix, which can be bought cheaply on line. Test tubes are also required. Film canisters, or other small containers could be substitued here.
Children could be given the opportunity to taste the drinks and make their own predictions about the sugar content before carrying out the investigation.
Concept cartoons provide an excellent starter or plenary to a lesson. This concept cartoon not only provides a context in which children can research the requirements of growing different foods around the world, but also gives the opportunity for some strong PSHCE links or persuasive writing in English.
Linked to the cartoon, children could be asked to grow their own tomatoes or other fruit and vegetables; they could also visit a horticultural research centre and learn more about the research that scientists do into the growth of crops.
This worksheet from Rolls Royce gives children the opportunity to explore the energy content of different foods.
Children could be given the opportunity to bring in different foods from home and research the energy content of these.
They could then go on to plan and cook a high energy meal for an explorer.
Food for Thought contains a series of activities designed to be part of a science week.
Fat-tastic foods gives children the chance to carry out their own research into which foods contain fats. It would be good to link this to planning a high-fat diet for someone undertaking an Arctic expedition.
Spitacular science also provides opportunies to research which foods contain starch, and to explore how our saliva breaks down the starch.
Both of the above activities would tie in nicely to 'Animals Including Humans' in Year 6. Children could go on to plan and cook a balanced meal for a the class.
This resources contains hundreds of ideas for activities linked to the recent ISS mission. Pages 99-103 and 118-119 involve creating a menu for an astronaut. This involves research into a balanced diet, learning about different tastes on the tongue, and can provide an opportunity for pupils to research how to pack foodstuffs in space.
If teaching children about the 'tongue map', care should be taken not to reinforce the misconception that certain areas of the tongue exclusively recognise a particular taste - instead research suggests that certain areas of the tongue are more sensitive to particular tastes than others.