“Why does my Mom always make me eat healthy foods and where does it go after I swallow… What type of food is used to make Apple Jacks and Rice Krispies… When we eat meat, are we eating vegetables too? Why do farmers use pesticides and genetic engineering to produce foods and which method is better…?” These and other questions sparked by inquisitive young learners are addressed in my curriculum unit, INSIDE OUT: AN UP-CLOSE LOOK AT FOODS WE EAT. Targeted at students in Grades 1 and 2, INSIDE OUT can be modified to accommodate young learners in Elementary Grade Levels 3 - 5. The unit covers a six to seven week period, beginning at the end of March (first day of Spring) through mid-May.
Several disciplines are encompassed in this unit and incorporate the use of logical and analytical thinking skills: Science (the human digestive system, plant growth, food and food processing, hands-on implementation of the Scientific Method), Math (sorting, classifying, prediction, estimation, graphing), and Language Arts (accessing Internet data, research and recordkeeping, storywriting, non-fiction journal writing). “Objectives” and “Skills Focus” are provided, along with question-and-answer support information based on frequently presented student inquiries.
I believe that children ages 6-7 are sophisticated enough to grasp scientific terminologies and related concepts, particularly when presented in an interactive, hands-on basis. Based on this expectation, “INSIDE OUT” will (1) provide students with a better understanding of the origins of food and the food chain; (2) motivate students to make healthy, nutrition-based choices when selecting foods, (3) spark enthusiasm in understanding the inner workings of the human body, and (4) lay the groundwork for consumer activism and motivate students to explore the wonderful world of Science.