National Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix
The Farmer Grows a Rainbow: Second Servings
K - 2
Students will understand that appropriate portions of foods from each food group should be included in a daily diet.
- MyPlate Activity Poster
- Pictures of various food items (a Food Models Kit is available for purchase)
- Portion Size Guide
- Items for grab bag (computer mouse, 7 cotton balls, baseball, cupcake liner, tube of chapstick, 9-volt battery, deck of playing cards, ping pong ball, postage stamp, 1 cup measurer, 1/2 cup measurer, 1 tablespoon measurer, 1 teaspoon measurer)
- A food item from each of the five food groups (e.g., sweet potato for the vegetable group, apple for the fruit group, a bag of dried beans for the protein group, and empty yogurt or milk container for the dairy group, and a mini box of cereal for the grains group)
Essential Files (maps, charts, pictures, or documents)
MyPlate: a guide to remind us that a healthy diet includes foods from all five food groups
portion size: the amount of a particular food eaten during a meal or snack
serving size: the amount of a particular food listed on that food's Nutrition Facts label along with the calorie and nutrient content
Did you know? (Ag Facts)
- One serving of chopped vegetables is 1/2 cup, which is about the same size as a computer mouse.
- One serving of string cheese is 2 ounces, which is about the size of a tube of chapstick.
- One serving of meat is 2-3 ounces, which is about the same size a as a deck of playing cards.
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: Portion Size Guide
- Discuss appropriate serving sizes and how portions can be measured by comparison with common items. Distribute copies of the Portion Size Guide to the students. As a class, discuss the information on the chart.
- Using the grab bag objects, have students pull one item at a time from the bag. Challenge the class to locate the grab bag item on their Portion Size Guide. Then name the food item and the portion size unit of measurement represented by the object pulled form the grab bag.
- Have students fill in the “Food Group” column with the name of the correct food group. Encourage students to monitor serving sizes in accordance with their findings in this activity.
- Note that serving sizes are measured using standard units of measurement for volume (e.g., cups, tablespoons, ounces, etc.). Introduce the idea that when farmers grow and sell their products, they measure using different standards of measurement. For example, we purchase milk by the pint, quart, or gallon. Farmers sell milk by the pound. The comparison of these measurements is that there are 8.6 pounds of milk in one gallon. If you live in an area with a dairy farm, arrange a farm tour with a dairy farmer. If not, take students on a virtual tour of a dairy farm via the internet.
- Have the students write about a time when they ate too much or put too much food on their plate. Ask them to conclude with some healthy ways to make sure they are eating the right amount of food.
Activity 2: Run the Rainbow Challenge: Hot Potato and More
- 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.
- Explain to the students that a single baked potato contains many nutrients needed to sustain good health and support growth. Sweet potatoes are a great source of Vitamin E. They are virtually fat-free. A medium baked sweet potato contains four times the recommended daily allowance of beta-carotene when eaten with the skin on.
- Pass or toss a sweet potato around the circle using a timer. The student holding the sweet potato when the timer sounds must name a health benefit of eating foods from the vegetable group.
- Select a food item from each of the food groups (e.g., an apple for the fruit group, a bag of dried beans for the protein group, an empty yogurt or milk container for the dairy group, and a mini box of cereal for the grains group). Follow the same procedure for each food group.
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.
- A food's serving size is listed on the Nutrition Facts label, but this quantity is not necessarily equal to the recommended portion size that should be eaten in a healthy diet.
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!
Challenge the students to keep a journal of all food they eat for one week. Have them compare their food list to their “My Daily Food Plan.” Using their list, ask them to first highlight the fruits and vegetables and then underline foods produced by farmers in your state. Please note: Because diets could potentially be a sensitive issue for some children, food journals should remain private and students should not be asked to share with the class.
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
- Fill MyPlate Game (Activity)
- Eating the Alphabet (Book)
- I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato (Book)
- Food Models (Kit)
- MyPlate Activity Poster (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.