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Life Science

Nutrition SciPack

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Paula Evans Paula Roknick-Evans 2640 Points

Aloha All, Today I completed the nutrition SciPack and I must say it was much more difficult than I had envisioned. However, it did have some great interactives that I could definitely use with my fourth graders. I especially liked the "bomb calorimetry" interactive that shows how many calories are needed in a given protein, fat, or carbohydrate to raise the temperature of the water. I think it would give students a good visual for interpreting how calories are measured in food. The rest of the science objects were good review for me as an elementary school teacher. We are working on cell structures in class right now so this coincided with how I might teach where food comes from and how it is broken down once ingested. In all, I was impressed with this SciPack!

Carolyn Mohr Carolyn Mohr 92316 Points

Congratulations on completing the SciPack on Nutrition, Paula. I haven't completed that one yet, but from your rave review I am going to add that to my list. Have you considered writing a review for this SciPack? It is really easy to do. You just find the SciPack in your "My Library", and to the right of it there is a tab that says "write a review". You practically have it written from your comments above! :-)

Evelyn Ibonia Evelyn Ibonia 410 Points

Thanks for sharing your thoughts about the SciPack. That was one that I added to my library as well. I haven't completed the entire thing yet, but I found what I was looking for (body systems) so now I will take some time to go through it. This is the first time I'm taking this course so I'm new to this SciPack/SciGuide thing, but from what I've seen, they definitely do contain a lot of information. I look forward to the simulations, I'm always looking for things that will be engaging to the students. They sound a lot like what we already use in Discovery Education. Thanks for the feedback!

Shawna Fischer Shawna Fischer 2300 Points

I am glad you liked the SciPack. That is the one that I am working through. I have never tried to use the interactives with my students but I might use them as a demonstration. Glad to know that it worked well :)

Deanna Spain Deanna 1195 Points

Hi! I completed the Nutrition Sci Pack too and I agree that the sci pack contains a lot of helpful and interesting information. I have to really take a look at the sci pack though because I teach Kindergarten and most of the information is really too advanced for their little minds. In Kindergarten we basically teach the children the importance of eating healthy (candy does NOT make a good breakfast) and the difference between a fruit and vegetable. One year I had the children grow hydroponic lettuce, but that was with the help of a community member. One day I'll have to sit down and try to gear the activities and lessons towards Kindergarteners.

Evelyn Ibonia Evelyn Ibonia 410 Points

I finally completed the Nutrition SciPack and all I can say is, WOW! That was a lot of information. Some I had to read multiple times because they were completely going over my head. There was a lot of useful information that I got out of it though. I was envisioning how to link nutrition to the body systems that we are covering this quarter. I think I'll be trying out the "It's all about the systems" interactive and "What happens to the food I eat" with my students. I did find that they repeated a lot of the information in multiple Science Objects. I also wish it was updated because it kept referring to the "My Pyramid," which is now called "Choose my plate" and the latest Dietary Guidelines was back from 2005. But, it was very useful nonetheless. I hope everyone else can find a way to adapt it to their classrooms too.

Carolyn Mohr Carolyn Mohr 92316 Points

You all probably already know this, but just in case...
There are three different SciGuides for Nutrition - one for each of the three grade level categories:
Nutrition: Grades 5-8
Nutrition: Grades K-4
Nutrition: Grades 9-12
SciGuides are excellent resource extensions for teachers. They contain gobs of lesson plans, URLs, and interactives that compliment the SciPacks.

Jana Fukada Jana Fukada 180 Points

I recently completed the Nutrition Sci Pack and I learned quite a bit! I also teach kindergarten so a lot of the information presented would not be appropriate for my little ones but it was great background knowledge for myself. Thank you for sharing the information about the Nutrition Sci Guides. I will be sure to look at the one geared designed for K-4. In kindergarten our lessons are designed to teach the children about which foods belong in which food groups and which food groups we should eat more of and which we should eat less of. Thank you for sharing all of your great ideas about nutrition and how to teach it.

Ricki Luster Ricki Luster 1400 Points

Thank you everyone. It is helpful to hear what others have to say about specific SciPacks/Guides. I will be working on the Nutrition scipack this semester. Having already taken Earth Science and Physical Science I look forward to taking Life Science. We do a lot on body systems and heredity in the 5th grade. I am sure I will get a lot of great ideas while doing Life Science. Ricki Luster

Angelo Laskowsky Angelo Laskowsky 2190 Points

I haven't done the nutrition SciGuide or SciPack yet, but I was thinking that I would want to so I could include it into my aquaponics course. Your rave review gives me hope that it might include a bit of what I want to teach for my class. One of my goals this year is to teach the kids about healthy nutrition, organic planting/eating, "super-foods", raw foods, and food sovereignty (which I know next to nothing about myself, but want to learn and include in my course anyways). I want to include them because they're becoming buzz words in today's supermarkets and on the TV. I think talking about these concepts would be beneficial for my students to understand not only what these concepts mean, but to begin to evaluate their validity as scientific ideas and their usefulness in their lives to create a healthy person.

Kellee Kelly Kellee Kelly 7800 Points

I also attempted to complete this SciPack and it was FULL of information. It was very detailed and took me a weekend to complete. The assessment was difficult for me, did anyone else have a hard time with it? This is my first SciPack, are they all pretty similar as far as structure?

Ryan Towata Ryan Towata 3340 Points

Hi everyone, I'm still going through the nutrition sci pack and I have some questions to toss out to the forum. I'm a crossfitter and I eat paleo, which means that I eat similar to how our paleolithic ancestors ate, hunter gatherer. I don't eat any refined sugar, I get mine from fruits. I eat no grains or legumes and I focus on lean proteins and lots of vegetables. I have learned much from reading the nutrition sci pack but I'm wondering if my own personal eating style will hamper my teaching. There are things that I've learned from eating "paleo" that go against the food pyramid and the "norm" of nutrition. However, my energy, my overall health and my body tells me otherwise. I'm just curious if there are any other teachers out there with this type of conflict as they teach about nutrition in there classroom. I'm sure that my eating style can be too extreme for my fourth graders but there are things that I want to share with them to help them live healthier and avoid the obesity problems that I went through as a child. Thanks Ryan

Janice Eala Janice Eala 1565 Points

Hi Ryan, I haven't viewed the nutrition scipack yet but I saved it in my library. I feel the same way. I want to teach them about what society calls good nutrition but I don't practice what I preach. However, unlike you I go the unhealthy route. I skip meals and don't eat a balanced diet. As elementary school teachers I believe that we should teach our students the basics of staying healthy by exercising and eating right. I always feel that I need to teach to the standards. This is my first year as a 4th grade teacher. How do you teach nutrition?

Rochelle Tamiya Rochelle Tamiya 4095 Points

Thank you all for the heads up on the Nutrition Scipack. This was also one of the Scipacks that I intend on completing as I am currently taking the Year 3 Life Science course (did all scipacks except for the Nutrition and Food Safety one. I too am noticing that the scipacks over the years have gotten a lot more informative which is awesome, however, I agree that even as a Biology major, much of the information needs to get sifted through and manipulated in order to meet the levels of our students. It is helpful to note though, as I always need to remind myself that the scipacks are for the teachers, as a refresher and/or as a learning tool, thus, the information is often of higher levels. Knowing that, it is nice to be able to weed out and pick and choose sections from the scipacks to use in our lesson planning. On another note, I've noticed that the time that I spend on completing a scipack is often closer if not exceeding the 10 hour marker so be prepared with your notebook and pen. I take notes as I go through the scipacks since it is chock full of information - all very useful but so specific that it is easy to get confused unless you're jotting down the information. Very informative and extremely thorough! It's like going back to college less the hassels of finding a parking space and buying tons of heavy books! Thanks to NSTA!!

Ryan Towata Ryan Towata 3340 Points

Hi Janice, one of the things I like to do with my fourth graders is to keep a daily food log for an entire month. The students keep track of what they put into their bodies each week. They look at their breakfast, lunch, dinner, and they keep track of what snacks they eat. At the end of the week they reflect on their eating habits. They also keep track of daily exercise as well as time spent in front of the TV and computer. That's what I've done in the past. I want to try and incorporate calories and mathematics this year. I want them to calculate the amount of calories going into their bodies as well as how much calories they are expending through play and exercise. That would be the next step and we reflect on everything at the end of the week. Hi Rochelle, thank you for the great advice on keeping a composition book handy. I too, am a Biology major, and I love the sciences so the NSTA courses are extremely fun for me and they just help to refresh my memory of things done so long ago. I'm definitely going to take as many as I can before they remove it from the "regular" teachers and only offer it to the "incoming" new teachers. Thank you both.

Kellee Kelly Kellee Kelly 7800 Points

Ryan, I was thinking about this also as I was going through, the food pyramid has been updated but I believe it is still politically tied. I do not drink milk and limit my dairy intake because I believe that our bodies weren't made to process dairy. I also don't eat wheat due to gluten allergies, which I believe is also something our bodies are over loading on and causing health issues with many people. I also watched a documentary on Netflix called "Forks over Knives" which detailed several studies proving that meat protein contributes to higher percentages of people with diabetes heart disease etc... So is every person the same? I don't think so. Each of our bodies process food differently and so each persons diet should reflect their cultural/personal/moral beliefs. I think a food diary is great to take a serious look at what is going in, but also maybe a food allergy diary where a student records how they feel after a meal and what they ate to see what foods make them feel a certain way. This can be recorded at 30 min. intervals to see if there is a change over time.

Kellee Kelly Kellee Kelly 7800 Points

OK just had another thought.. My school is a international baccalaureate school and so we have a consultant come in once in a while. She did a sample lesson with the staff. She had two pictures. One of people in China, and one with a picture of people in India. At the bottom of the picture a typical meal was listed including nutrition facts. They also listed obesity rates, life expectancies etc. for each country. We then formed two groups depending on which meal you thought was the "best" not necessarily the healthiest. Then each side was able to state your case. People could move from side to side if they changed their mind after each point made. This little debate gets kids engaged and talking, analyzing nutritional data, and is culturally sensitive.

Ryan Towata Ryan Towata 3340 Points

Hi Kellee, Thank you for the great ideas. I personally do not believe in the new government nutritional standards. The pyramid was recently replaced by the plate with the different servings however, I do feel that it is important to teach about the different important nutritional sections that each body needs to survive. We have become a society dependent upon sugar and processed foods and we have moved away from the healthy fresh things that our bodies need. I love your ideas and I will try some of your ideas with my class. I know we will get into a great discussion about it. Thanks Ryan

Cristey Kagawa Cristey Kagawa 2980 Points

I too have added the Nutrition SciPack to my library and I'm about half way through it. This SciPack is a bit longer than the others but it is full of useful and great information!! I teach 6th grade and I found that the things I learned about digestion helped me better my lessons for health in my class. This was the first year I taught digestion and it was a great resource for me to use. I also wanted to mention that I looked through the SciGuide for nutrition and used part of it to teach my class about healthy eating. There is a great activity using McDonald's. The SciGuide provided a link to the nutritional values for food at McDonald's. I had my students think about a time they went to McDonald's to have breakfast, lunch, or dinner. I had them write all the things they ate on a worksheet I created. I then had them use the nutritional value fact sheet to record the calories, fat, protein, etc. I also had them calculate the percentage for fat from calories. Then we talked about the amount of calories we should eat in one day and had the students reflect on their trip to McDonald's. Many of the students realized that they ate a very unhealthy meal, too high in calories and too high in fat calories. After doing that I shared with the students that McDonald's can be a healthy place to eat if you select appropriate food. The students then created a healthy meal from McDonald's using the nutrition fact sheet. This activity became a real eye opener for some of the students. My students are now more aware of what they eat, especially at McDonald's.

Stephanie Taira Stephanie Taira 720 Points

Thanks for sharing all the good ideas. I have also added the nutrition scipacks to my library so I can review them. I find that this is such a difficult area to teach because the students receive so many contradictory messages from all kinds of sources. If you combine that with the "on the go" lifestyles that many of our students live, eating healthy becomes a real challenge for them. I see so many of my students coming in with a Starbucks drink in the morning or a package from 7-11 with a sports drink, spam musubi, and a bag of chips which is their lunch. Quite honestly, I have been there as a parent so when we teach healthy choices, it is important to be sensitive to the lifestyle that the children are living and that sometimes that is what they are given. That being said, I think its important to teach our children to make healthy choices and allow them to define "healthy". What is healthy for one person may not be healthy for another. (i.e. fruits can be too much sugar for some people) I think they need to understand how these choices affect their bodies and body systems. I like Ryan's idea of having a journal of what they eat over a month. This way they can see patterns and they can make connections.

Ryan Towata Ryan Towata 3340 Points

Just finished the Nutrition SciPack and that was fun! It's been awhile since I studied all that fun stuff in biology. It's good to relearn about the importance of the healthy eating and how to calculate caloric intake. Since I have been eating Paleo my views are much different than the recommended views by the government and this has been a great SciPack to go through. I now need to find a happy medium to help my fourth graders stay healthy and get all the good foods that they need. I congratulate New York for putting a ban on large sodas! Now to create great lessons that incorporate nutrition, healthy eating, calories, food diaries, math and science all in one! Thank you all for your great ideas and support!

Angelo Laskowsky Angelo Laskowsky 2190 Points

Speaking of nutrition, does anyone know of a reliable website I can direct my kids to go to research the nutritional value of fruits and veggies? Also, does anyone know a place where I can find the amount of nutrition a plant looses between harvesting and grocery store? I've heard it's something like 50% or whatever, but I can't seem to find the actual amount. I want my kids to make food biographies for what they're growing and this would be something that they'd need to include.

Alicia Mochizuki Alicia Mochizuki 1470 Points

Hi Ryan, Interesting post! I'm a vegetarian so I completely understand maybe a biases when teaching nutrition. I believe that we need to eat a healthy diet and exercise and I personally tend not to stray from the food pyramid from the usda because it's national recognized. Parents may get upset if your teaching their child about nutrition differently than what is "accepted" even though we may not agree. I would check with your school. Introducing what you choose to eat and why you made those decisions is a personal decision. I think the "big idea" about nutrition is to teach students about making healthy choices and how nutrition can effects your body. Alicia

Kellee Kelly Kellee Kelly 7800 Points

The McDonalds post also made me think of a couple of experiments that can be done. One, see how long it takes for a french fry to decompose (it will not) charting progress, or practice scientific process. Two, test the destructive property of coke-tooth in coke see what happens, or on pennies. Another thought, have a panel of adults share their eating habits with the kids. Maybe vegetarian (and all versions of such), allergy restricted diets, one who follows the pyramid, maybe one brave soul who eats out a lot.

Ryan Towata Ryan Towata 3340 Points

Thank you Alicia for your insights. I do understand that parents will have the ultimate say. We do have to follow the healthy guidelines that the Hawaii DOE has put out and I try to stay with that too. But if you look at our society and America as a whole it's not working. I will keep my personal beliefs from over taking what I need to teach but I will prepare my students and teach them how to find the healthiest foods to eat. If I teach them what to look for then I will feel that I've accomplished what I wanted to in teaching about nutrition. I, myself, struggled through elementary school as the "fat kid" and now I live a life of health and fitness and I don't want others to have the same problems I did going through elementary school. It took me almost my whole life to get healthy and I don't want my students to have future health problems. Thanks for the great insight. Ryan

Ryan Towata Ryan Towata 3340 Points

Hi Kellee, I will definitely try the french fry experiment and see if it does or does not decompose. I also wanted to try the experiment with magarine, butter, and butter substitutes like "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" to see which one the ants would be attracted too. I also saw an experiment where someone left a fast food hamburger out for 75 days and compared it to a fresh hamburger and saw no visual differences in the two. These experiments will help change the students minds when it comes to eating "fast food!" Thanks Ryan

Monica Chavez Monica Chavez 1500 Points

I will be teaching the cell halfway in October and I wanted to ask how some of you might be incorporating the nutrition packet into your cell unit. I do Cornell notes on the levels of organization, cell theory, and cell organelle structures and function. Our Hawaiian benchmarks are very broad, but I understand common core is coming soon. What are your suggestions for activities to incorporate into my cell unit using the nutrition packet? Thanks for any suggestions!

Ryan Towata Ryan Towata 3340 Points

Monica, I'm not sure how you can integrate the cell functions with the nutrition aspects.nMaybe analyze what goes into the body and what cells use and see the output of the Kreb's Cycle with which type of food enters the body.

Kyle Nakamoto Kyle Nakamoto 1560 Points

Lot of great resources on the sci packs. I will definitely add the Nutrition one to my resources. Nice refresher on basic nutrition and body functions in explaining why we need to eat what we eat. Visuals and videos are much better than someone lecturing and telling how things go. That is how I was taught and it didn't stick very well. It is usually when we need to teach it or utilize the information when we really understand and get it.

Kyle Nakamoto Kyle Nakamoto 1560 Points

It is because of the discussion on this forum that made me realize I want to explore this more. Thanks colleagues.

Arleen Bourcier Arleen Bourcier 1570 Points

I've recently completed the Nutrition SciPack and was overloaded on the amount of information. Wow! It was quite informative and useful to have a refresher on all that was included. I too teacher kindergarten and think that most of what was presented is too advanced but the SciGuides do offer the lessons geared toward the younger age groups. The idea most relevant to my kindergarten students that was mentioned in this SciPack: WASH YOUR HANDS! :)

Ryan Towata Ryan Towata 3340 Points

For the month of November my students will be doing a food log and tracking the foods that they put into their bodies. Everyday the students are responsible to log in their food journals their breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, and their dinner and dessert. They will also keep track of glasses of water they drink throughout the day. They can also be responsible for writing down any exercise and activity they will do. At the end of each week (Fridays) we will reflect back on their eating habits using the Food Pyramid and see what food sources they are missing and what they are eating. They will make a plan for the upcoming week and challenged themselves to add more of the pyramid that they are missing. We are also trying to give up one "bad" food for the entire month. For examples, no cookies, no ice cream, no Jamba Juice, no fast food, etc. The students will see if they could go the whole month without these "bad foods" and see if they reach their goals. Wish us luck!

Alexandra Goc Alexandra Goc 1285 Points

Hi all! Attached will be a small collection I made including articles and sci guides that may help with your lessons! Enjoy! Ali


Nutrition.docx (0.01 Mb)

Erin Mendelson Erin Mendelson 2690 Points

HI Arleen, I've become a warm water and soap hand washer ever since I completed the SciPack titled Science of Food Safety. I used to rinse my hands quickly under cold water. Whoa! When I read about all the bacteria and viruses, I changed my habits. There was an interesting lab in the Hands-On Activity section that mentioned this gel that will be visible under a black light. First, spread some of this gel on the door handle, pencil sharpener or another high use area, unannounced to the students. Then let the students go about their daily routines for a few minutes. Finally, turn off the lights and turn on a black light. Student will have transferred the gel to other items, their own clothes, desks, pencils and so on. You can then explain to the class that this gel demonstrates how easily bacteria can travel from one person to the next. The Food Safety SciPack must overlap in some of the content because I can relate to a lot of the comments on this thread. I enjoy relating science content to practical everyday experiences. Often food provides a great means to connect and represent larger scientific concepts.

Ryan Towata Ryan Towata 3340 Points

Alexandra, Thank you so much for sharing this. It will definitely come in handy. Ryan

Ryan Towata Ryan Towata 3340 Points

Alexandra, Thank you so much for sharing this. It will definitely come in handy. Ryan

Ryan Towata Ryan Towata 3340 Points

Food log update: My students have been doing their food logs for the entire month of November. At the end of the week, Friday, we look back at all the food they've been consuming during the week and reflect on their eating habits. We are using the food pyramid to analyze the amounts of each food group they are consuming. I'm also having my students look at the things they eat with added "refined" sugar. They tally up what they've been eating and plan on goals for the upcoming week. For example if they didn't eat enough vegetables they try to add one more vegetable serving a day. I want the student to see what they've been eating and have them decide what they can do in the following week to eat a more balanced diet. They also try to cut back on their sugar intake each week. Some of my students are excited because they see themselves eating more things they never ate before. Others are still struggling with their choices. I will keep you all updated.

Callie Rodgers Callie Rodgers 1795 Points

Paula, Overall I found the Nutrition Sci-Pack very informative as well. I went through the sci-pack to help myself gather information for a workshop I was creating with fellow colleagues. The information in the sci-pack really helped me out a lot when it came time to create activities and provide accurate and appropriate information. - Callie

Ryan Towata Ryan Towata 3340 Points

Food log update 2: My students are more aware of the things they are eating and putting in their body. At lunch time the fourth and fifth graders can choose what they want to eat. They have to take the main dish but they can choose to eat the vegetables, the fruits, and the breads. My kids after analyzing and reflecting on their choices the week before decide on what they should be adding to their meals to eat more of a balanced diet. I've seen more students who don't usually take vegetables try to take vegetables and eat things they don't like to eat. The food log has been good for them. The students are reading labels now and paying attention to the sugary treats they are eating at home. I hope my food log has been a good influence on them.

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