2. Thinking about nutrition

As you know, there is a lot to learn in science. You will find that if you can present the information in the form of a problem or issue, then it will be much more interesting for the students – much better than simply copying notes or listening to a lecture. In Case study 2 and Activity 2 we apply this idea to nutrition. Your textbook will explain the need for a balanced diet and give examples of foods rich in particular nutrients. In this activity, we ask students to create their own menu for a day. Students will enjoy the opportunity to make their own decisions about what they could eat and to compare these with their friends’ choices. They will also reinforce their knowledge of the basic ideas and terminology of the topic. The case study shows how one teacher used this as an opportunity to differentiate the work. (Resource 4 has more information on catering for students with different abilities). Just as with Activity 1, students will apply their scientific knowledge to a practical problem with a wide range of possible answers. A key aspect of the problem-solving approach is the development of the students’ ability to think for themselves and to find and justify an answer that is unique. This helps students to realise that success in science is not simply a matter of learning and remembering facts from a textbook.

Case study 2: Differentiating work

Mrs Kaddu is teaching nutrition to her students. She knows that it is important that the whole class knows the main types of food required for a healthy diet. She also knows that some of the students in the class are particularly able. She decides to set two different tasks for students, depending on how easy or difficult they find science. This will help maintain the interest of the students who find science easy and extend their abilities. She uses Activity 2 but also prepares some extra materials. These include two tasks that will challenge the more able students to use detailed nutritional information and provide them with an opportunity to practise their numeracy skills. She gives these students information on the energy content of foods in kilojoules and gives them values for the energy requirements of an active teenage girl and boy. She also gives them information on the energy needed for different types of activity. This provides a range of possible extension work. All the students in her class have work that is suitable for their current stage of development and ability. You can see the extension work Mrs Kaddu made in Resource 5 .

Activity 2: Working in groups to learn about nutrition

Organise your students into groups of three to five. Ask them to use the textbook or Resource 5 to identify foods that they eat regularly which are rich in proteins, carbohydrates, fats or vitamins and minerals. Discuss their lists and remind them of the idea that some nutrients (e.g. carbohydrates) are needed in much larger quantities than others (e.g. vitamins and minerals). Approximate amounts of the daily requirements of some nutrients are shown on the resource sheet. Explain that actual amounts will vary according to how old you are, how active you are, whether you are a boy or a girl and how big you are. Ask each student to design a menu for the day that would give them a balanced diet as well as being nice to eat.

If there is time at the end of the lesson, some students could read out their diets. Alternatively, students could exchange their work with their neighbour and read their diets.

1. Using a story to think about local issues

3. Conducting research on local food issues