It is important that students understand that good food choices are essential for the growth and development of their own bodies and their functions. Food is one of humans' basic needs and we cannot live without it. Students need to realize that food enriches us with energy for everything we do such as playing sports, walking, talking, breathing and thinking. In accordance with the National Science Education Standards as well as state of Connecticut Standards, students are expected to achieve scientific literacy in an inquiry based environment that allows them to hypothesize, discuss, and evaluate data which they can apply to their everyday lives. Students around age 10 and 11 often make choices based on how they will affect their social status rather than thinking about the consequences of their actions on their own lives. This unit will allow students to feel knowledgeable enough to make smart and healthy food choices that will affect their development and function of their brain.
I teach fifth grade at Nathan Hale School in New Haven, Connecticut. My fifth grade class is in an urban district and is composed of a diverse, multicultural community of learners that embodies a wide range of achievements, interests, learning and social needs. It is a school that has a strong neighborhood support structure since the majority of the students enrolled is from the neighborhood.
The topic for this curriculum unit is "Food for Thought". My goal is to help students become aware of the effect food choice has on their development and the function of their brain. A brief scientific explanation of how the brain works and the make up of the brain will be introduced through pictorial representations and reading materials. We shall also discuss "The Six Categories of Nutrients" and how they are used by our body and brain. Finally, the students will be able to discuss the components of the Food Pyramid and use them in meal planning. This unit is designed to help teachers integrate Science and Health within their own classroom by providing the necessary background knowledge about the brain, its nutritional needs and how its functions affect our bodies. It has been designed such that it can be integrated into literacy, mathematics and science classes, giving educators the ability to integrate the subject matter within their own daily lesson plans. The needs of all learners can be met while fulfilling the curriculum standards of the school district. This unit is aimed at nurturing critical thinkers and problem solvers.