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National Agriculture in the Classroom

Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix

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Lesson Plans (16)

A Closer Look at Fats (Grades 6-8)

This lesson describes the role of fats in food and in the body, and how they serve as a source of energy. It provides information on different types of fats that are listed on the Nutrition Facts label – including total fat, saturated fat, and trans fat—and defines trans fat and cholesterol. The lesson also includes dietary guidance for fat consumption. Grades 6-8

A Tale of Two Burgers: Beef and Plant-based Protein

Students compare the components of beef and plant-based burgers by determining the production and processing methods of each product; evaluate the ingredients and nutritional differences between beef and plant-based products; and discuss different points of view in the agricultural industry concerning plant-based proteins and traditional beef. This lesson covers a socioscientific issue and aims to provide students with tools to evaluate science within the context of social and economic points of view. Grades 9-12

Eggs on the Menu

Students will learn the versatility, function, and nutritional benefit of eggs in a healthy diet, identify the function and role of eggs in a recipe, identify forms of technology used on an egg farm, and understand how eggs are classified by size. Grades 6-8

Fruits and Vegetables: The Right Pick for Vitamins and Minerals

Students will describe the farm-to-table process of common fruits and vegetables, recognize the nutrients fruits and vegetables provide, and evaluate methods of food storage and preparation for preserving nutrients. Grades 9-12

Grocery Store Problem Solving (Grades 6-8)

Students will use basic mathematical skills to solve problems related to the cost of food while integrating geography and nutrition to enhance learning. Activities include analyzing grocery ads, assessing the nutrition and cost of meals, and exploring diets around the world. Grades 6-8

Hunger and Malnutrition (Grades 6-8)

Students will learn about the importance of eating a variety of foods in order to get all the nutrients needed to be healthy, explore diets around the world using Peter Menzel's Hungry Planet Family Food Portraits, and discuss the scope of the problems of hunger and malnutrition using the World Food Programme HungerMap LiveGrades 6-8

Looking Under the Label

Students evaluate food package labels, determine their meaning, and use the Claim, Evidence, and Reasoning model to determine the value of the label in relation to food production practices, nutrition, health, and food safety. Students will engage in critical thinking to recognize the impact of food package labels in relation to marketing, consumer perceptions of food, and farming practices. Grades 9-12

MyPlate, MyWin

Students will explore the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines, compare and contrast historical food guides, and discover how to apply principles of MyPlate into their diet to create a "MyWin."  Grades 9-12

Nutrients to Get Less Of (Grades 6-8)

This lesson introduces sodium and sugar as dietary nutrients we should consume less of. Students will identify the foods and beverages they should limit and recognize how to use the Nutrition Facts label to measure sodium and sugar intake. Grades 6-8

Nutrition Across the Lifespan

Students will trace the energy and nutrition requirements of the human lifecycle from beginning to end and identify the physical and cognitive growth happening in each phase of life. Grades 9-12

Stacking Up Milk and Milk Substitutes

Students will compare and contrast milk and plant-based milk substitutes by learning their source from farm-to-table and discovering how they "stack-up" in nutritional value. Students will also explore food package labeling laws and consumer trends in milk consumption to think critically about the impact of labels in marketing and consumer perceptions of food. Grades 9-12

The Quicker the Better? Food Processing (Grades 6-8)

Students explore different levels of food processing and the ways in which processed foods affect the health of our diets by looking at examples of foods from the grocery store and by closely examining food labels. Grades 6-8

Understanding MyPlate (Grades 6-8)

Students will explore appropriate serving size and learn how to make good dietary decisions by understanding the components of nutrition as illustrated by MyPlate. Grades 6-8

Walnuts: Naturally Nutritious

Students will interpret and compare nutrition labels to make healthy food choices and learn about the nutritional value of walnuts. Students will also have a walnut taste test and use walnuts in a recipe. Grades 6-8

What's On The Nutrition Facts Label?

Students will be introduced to the Nutrition Facts label, navigate and decipher the Nutrition Facts label, use food labels to determine nutritive value of foods, and define terminology found on the label such as calories, nutrients, and servings. Grades 9-12

What's on MyPlate? (Grades 6-8)

Students will explore what it means to eat a healthy diet by comparing the foods they typically eat in a day with the recommendations of MyPlate. Grades 6-8

Companion Resources (31)

Activity
Fill MyPlate Game
Test your students’ understanding of nutrition with this exciting, fast-paced board game. Students take turns rolling a die, moving to different sections of the MyPlate board, and answering basic trivia about healthy eating and food science. The first to “fill their plate” with one trivia card from each section (Fruits, Grains, Vegetables, Protein, and Dairy) wins! In-game bonuses encourage students to exercise, reinforcing personal choice as an important component to a healthy lifestyle. Each gameboard comes with materials for up to five students. Available for purchase or free download. Order this game online from agclassroomstore.com.
Food Group Puzzle
This activity can be a supplement to any nutrition lesson.  Students will complete puzzles by matching food groups to the nutrients the food group provides and examples of foods within the food group. A digital and paper version is included.
Have a Ball - Your Sphere of Influence
Do you have a complicated issue or problem to discuss with your students? Use a beach ball (or any other type of ball) to demonstrate why a person might have a different "point of view." This activity helps students recognize that every issue can be seen from different points of view.
Higher or Lower: Ingredient Investigation
A "Price is Right" style activity designed to help illustrate the sugar and salt content found in processed foods. This activity can supplement nutrition and food processing lessons.
Nutrient Supply Activity
In this activity, students will explore the global problem of hunger and nutrient availability along with techniques that are being used to improve nutrient supplies where shortages exist. Students will also exercise their ability to identify credible information sources.
Portion Size Comparison
This activity can supplement any nutrition lesson. Students will identify portion sizes for food and compare them with common every-day items through a "Grab Bag" activity.
Processed Food Breakdown
This 20-minute activity allows students to apply their knowledge of reading food labels and identifying the nutrient content of food. Students work in groups and are challenged to create a nutritious meal with processed foods. This is an ideal capstone activity for a lesson on reading food labels and determining the nutrient content of foods.
Book
Glorious Grasses: The Grains
This book covers early history, cultivation, processing, and nutritional importance of grains. One chapter is dedicated to each grain, including wheat, rice, corn, millet and barley, and oats and rye. The two-column text reads easily and is full of informative material.
The Good Garden
Maria's family are poor Honduran farmers, growing barely enough to eat. Then a new teacher comes to town and shows Maria sustainable farming practices that yield good crops. An inspiring story, based on actual events, that shows us how farms and hopes are transformed as good gardens begin to grow.
Booklet/Reader
Nutrition Ag Mag
The Nutrition Ag Mag is an agricultural magazine for students. This issue focuses on nutrition with segments highlighting physical fitness, career options, making healthy dietary choices, and how to read a food label. The entire publication can be viewed online. 
Kit
Food Models
These full-color, life-size cardboard photographs of 200 commonly eaten foods are pictured in portion sizes with nutrition information presented in label format on the back. A perfect hands-on tool for teaching food and nutrition concepts! Included with your purchase are the Food Models and Leader Guide. Order this kit online from agclassroomstore.com.
Food Science in a Box
This kit is designed to support various forms of homeschool, virtual learning, and online classes by providing ready-to-use supplies to facilitate hands-on learning and discovery. The kit contains materials for one student to complete a variety of activities found in the following lessons: What's on MyPlate? (Activity 1); Get Popping! (Interest Approach—Engagement); Cultures, Food, and Communities Around the World (Activity 1); Cheesemaking: From Liquid to Solid (Activity 1); By Land, Air, or Sea (Activities 2 & 3). Order this kit online from agclassroomstore.com
Map
Live Hunger Map
The World Food Programme (WFP) Live Hunger Map monitors food security in more than 90 countries and issues predictions where data is limited. The live map aims to identify areas that are currently food insecure or are sliding towards food insecurity. A static hunger map can be found if you click on "undernourishment" at the bottom of the page. It includes data from 2017-2019.
Movie/Video
Dairy Tour 360
Milk, leche, lait. No matter what you call it, real milk offers tons of nutrition and is sustainably produced—and we've got the receipts. Come behind the scenes on a few dairy farms: see the cow care and learn the real science. Oh, and did we mention you'll be flying around on a butterfly? Available for desktop or VR headset use.
Food Facts: 7 Reasons to Eat Insects
When discussing world food supply, hunger, or agricultural sustainability discuss the idea of eating bugs as an alternative protein source. How does it compare to other forms of nutrition in terms of protein, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids?
How to Feed the World in 2050: Actions in a Changing Climate video
Learn how climate change has affected agriculture and how steps can be taken to preserve our ability to sustainably produce food for our planet.
How to Read Nutrition Facts - Food Labels Made Easy video
A 5-minute explanation of the Nutrition Facts label. Learn about servings, serving size, calories, fat, and more.
Portion Size Me & Portion Size Me Too DVDs
"Portion size is the key to the American obesity epidemic," said James Painter, chair of Eastern Illinois University's School of Family and Consumer Sciences. He believed that healthy choices could be found in every fast-food restaurant. To prove his point, he followed two graduate students--254-pound Aaron and 111-pound Ellen--who ate portions suitable to their body types for a month. They could chose only foods from 10 fast-food restaurants and gas stations. Both ended up losing weight and lowering their cholesterol. While Portion Size Me showcases the details of the study, Portion Size Me Too highlights how they did it. Students will enjoy the details of how to make healthier choices at their favorite fast-food restaurants.
TEDMED Talk: What Does the World Eat?
Peter Menzel is a freelance photojournalist known for his coverage of international feature stories on science and the environment, and his wife Faith D’Aluisio is a former award-winning television news producer. In this 14-minute talk, Menzel discusses the projects they have undertaken together, including publishing The Hungry Planet. He further explores the changes they have observed in what and how people eat around the world, touching on issues such as obesity and food security.  
Poster/Infographic
MyPlate Activity Poster
Use this 30" x 26" MyPlate poster to teach your students about food groups and healthy eating. MyPlate is the USDA’s visual nutrition guide, which depicts a place setting showing the five food groups and the relative proportions they take up in a healthy diet. MyPlate provides a simple, highly visual approach to nutrition that is directly applicable to daily life. Order this poster online from agclassroomstore.com.
Nutrition Posters
How would you rather eat calcium, fiber, iron, protein, vitamin C, and zinc? This set of posters provides examples of foods that fit into each category and includes nutrition information about each.
Nuts Flowchart
This six-page informational sheet describes the process of how nuts are grown and harvested, how they get from the farm to the store, and nutrition facts. Words and graphics are used to portray this information for almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, and walnuts. 
Pizza Time Bulletin Board
This 42" x 42" bulletin board uses the skill of "telling time" to help students understand the time it takes to grow, process, and produce the ingredients of a pizza. It can easily be used to teach concepts of time, community involvement, raw to finished products, careers, and much more. The hands of the clock are movable. An activity sheet is included to demonstrate to students just how long it really takes to make a pizza. You'd be surprised! Order this bulletin board online from agclassroomstore.com.
The Power of Choice Bulletin Board
In a society with so many choices and a bewildering array of options, it's important to learn about healthful eating and active living. Students need to discover the connection between their food and the farm, learn facts about food and nutrition, and explore ways to be more active. This 42" x 42" nutrition bulletin board emphasizes the importance of making healthy choices that will last a lifetime. Order this bulletin board online from agclassroomstore.com.
Teacher Reference
Nutrition Research Articles
See a collection of articles reporting the results of various research projects carried out by the United States Department of Agriculture. These articles can help secondary students make connections with topics such as food, nutrition, and overall health.