National Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix
The Farmer Grows a Rainbow: First Place Foods
K - 2
Students will develop an understanding that certain foods provide nutrients and energy for growth and healthy living while offering additional dental health benefits.
- MyPlate Activity Poster
- Pictures of various food items (a Food Models Kit is available for purchase)
- American Dental Hygienists’ Association Recommendations
- 2 hula hoops
- Pictures of various food items
- Blue Ribbons
- Red, orange, green, purple, and blue hula hoops or poster board
Essential Files (maps, charts, pictures, or documents)
MyPlate: a guide to remind us that a healthy diet includes foods from all five food groups
hygienic: doing things that keep yourself and your surroundings clean in order to maintain good health
Did you know? (Ag Facts)
- Kids in prehistoric times likely did not suffer with tooth decay. The American Dental Association says this is because sugar was not a part of their diet.1
- Tooth enamel is the strongest substance in the human body; because it's so durable, healthy tooth enamel protects teeth from cavity-causing oral bacteria.1
- Tooth decay is actually classified as an infectious disease because it is caused by a particular strain of bacteria passed between multiple people.1
Background Agricultural Connections
Interest Approach – Engagement
- Ask students to name foods that are healthy and nutritious (or that adults say are “good for them”). Discuss why they think certain foods help them grow and stay healthy while other foods should only be eaten sometimes. Talk with students about nutritious foods and non-nutritious foods, making sure they understand that foods that provide vitamins, minerals, and energy are better for developing bodies, helping them grow healthy and strong.
- Show students the MyPlate Activity Poster and introduce them to each food group, noting the colors on the plate and how each one represents a food group. Information about each food group is available at Choosemyplate.gov.
- Distribute the pictures of various food items to students, either individually or in small groups. Allow students to arrange the food pictures on the MyPlate poster according to food groups. Discuss the health benefits of the various foods.
Activity 1: Dental Health
- Share information about the importance of good dental health, including healthy teeth and gums.
- Provide demonstrations of the proper use of a toothbrush, floss, toothpaste, etc. See the attached American Dental Hygienists’ Association Recommendations for background information.
- Ask students to use the various food items to form a large Venn diagram with overlapping hula hoops. In one hula-hoop, they should place foods that are good for our bodies. In the other hoop, they should place foods that are good for our teeth. Foods that benefit both physical health and dental health should be placed in the overlapping segments of the hula hoops. Discuss the fact that certain foods may be highly nutritious but tend to stick to teeth when eaten (e.g., dried fruits, certain breads). Nutritious foods that are high in calcium provide great benefits for teeth and bones.
- Foods that are placed in the intersection of the Venn diagram may be awarded Blue Ribbons by students to indicate both nutritional and dental health benefits. Challenge students to select “Blue Ribbon” foods for school lunch.
- Have the students write a letter to their dentist sharing why their permanent teeth will be healthy for life. Their letters should include information about the foods they eat, how they care for their teeth, and why it is important to visit a dentist regularly. They should also tell why healthy teeth and gums are important.
Activity 2: Run the Rainbow Challenge: Building the Plate
- Discuss the importance of physical activity. All children need at least 60 minutes of exercise each day. Activity levels will directly affect the amount of food needed to maintain a healthy body.
- Using the MyPlate poster, review food groups and sample items from each food group with the students. Lay out colored hula-hoops or colored sheets of poster board in the shape of MyPlate on the floor. Place the titles of the food groups inside the hoops/boards, matching the food group colors (i.e., the orange hula-hoop should contain the title “Grains,” etc.).
- Form two equally sized teams in lines and place half of the food pictures in front of each line.
- At the signal to start the race, the first runner on each team picks up a food card, places it in the correct food group circle, tags the next runner and goes to the end of the line. Play continues until all food pictures have been placed in a food group circle. After all food items have been placed, make corrections for any items that were in the wrong food group circle.
Concept Elaboration and Evaluation
After conducting these activities, review and summarize the following key concepts:
- Some foods are more healthy and nutritious than others. A healthy diet includes a variety of foods from all five food groups.
- Dental health is important, and you can maintain healthy teeth by choosing foods that are good for your body and your teeth.
We welcome your feedback! Please take a minute to tell us how to make this lesson better or to give us a few gold stars!
Provide information for accessing the website Choosemyplate.gov. Have each student follow the directions on the website to obtain their personalized dietary plan, “MyPlate Daily Checklist.” Visiting the website can be a class activity, or information can be shared with parents to be completed at home. Individual nutrition needs, along with portion sizes, can be obtained for children and adults at this website.
Suggested Companion Resources
- I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato (Book)
- When Vegetables Go Bad (Book)
- Food Models (Kit)
- MyPlate Activity Poster (Poster, Map, Infographic)
- What is a Fruit? What is a Vegetable? Bulletin Boards (Poster, Map, Infographic)
- Eat & Move O-Matic (Multimedia)
- Eat Happy Project video series (Multimedia)
- How to Teach Nutrition to Kids (Teacher Reference)
- Choose MyPlate (Website)
- Food-A-Pedia (Website)
Agricultural Literacy Outcomes
Food, Health, and Lifestyle
- Identify healthy food options (T3.K-2.a)
Education Content Standards
Health Standard 1: Comprehend concepts related to health promotion and disease prevention to enhance health.
1.2.1Identify that healthy behaviors impact personal health.
Common Core Connections
Writing: Anchor Standards
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.3Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details and well-structured event sequences.