National Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix
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Walnuts: Naturally Nutritious
6 - 8
Two or Three, 50-minute sessions
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.
- Internet access
- Various food nutrition labels
- Naturally Nutritious student handout & answer sheet
- Raw, unshelled walnuts
- Walnut Taste Testing sheet
- Cooking with Walnuts recipe sheets
- Raw walnut piece
- Toasted walnut piece
- Unshelled walnut
- Paper napkin or towel
- Taste Test Parent Permission Form
Essential Files (maps, charts, pictures, or documents)
- Walnut Taste Testing sheet
- Answer Key- Naturally Nutritious
- Cooking with Walnuts recipe sheet
- Naturally Nutritious student handout
orchard: a place where fruit or tree nuts are grown
walnut: the large wrinkled edible seed of a deciduous tree, consisting of two halves contained within a hard shell that is enclosed in a green fruit.
Did you know? (Ag Facts)
- 99% of the US walnut production takes place in California due to it's ideal climate for growing walnuts.1
- The Greeks called walnuts karyon, which means "head" because they thought the shell resembled a human head and the walnut kernel looked like a brain.2
- The most common culinary use for walnuts is in salads.2
Background Agricultural Connections
Interest Approach – Engagement
- As a class, discuss the students’ ideas about what types of foods should be included in a healthy diet. Make a list on the board of healthy foods.
- Reinforce that nutritious meals can help prevent certain diseases and obesity. A balanced diet should include protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and water.
- Distribute one copy of the Naturally Nutritious student handout to each student.
- Review the first page with the students and allow them to complete the worksheet.
- Explain that the class will be conducting a taste test with walnuts which provide many nutritional benefits. Prior to the taste test, ask about any food allergies and send home the parent consent form for parents to approve.
- Distribute the walnut tasting sheet and napkin. Instruct students to use their pencil to divide their napkin into three sections. Label the sections, raw, toasted, and in-shell.
- Provide each student with a piece of toasted walnut, raw walnut, and a freshly shelled walnut.
- Instruct students to taste each walnut and fill out the walnut tasting sheet.
- Allow students to share their thoughts and opinions in a class discussion.
Concept Elaboration and Evaluation:
After conducting these activities, review and summarize the following key concepts:
- Food labels provide information to evaluate the nutritional content of foods.
- Walnuts provide valuable nutrients to our diet including protein and unsaturated fats.
- California produces more walnuts than any other state in the nation. This is due to ideal climate and growing conditions.
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!
Watch the America's Heartland video clip, Walnuts: Harvesting Good Health. This video clip shows walnut harvesting and processing in a California orchard.
Suggested Companion Resources
- America's Heartland (Multimedia)
- Nutrition Ag Mag (Booklets & Readers)
- 10 Tips Nutrition Education Series (Website)
Agricultural Literacy Outcomes
Food, Health, and Lifestyle
- Evaluate food labels to determine food sources that meet nutritional needs (T3.6-8.b)
- Identify agricultural products (foods) that provide valuable nutrients for a balanced diet (T3.6-8.g)
Agriculture and the Environment
- Recognize how climate and natural resources determine the types of crops and livestock that can be grown and raised for consumption (T1.6-8.g)
Education Content Standards
Health Standard 5: Demonstrate the ability to use decision-making skills to enhance health.
5.8.6Choose healthy alternatives over unhealthy alternatives when making a decision.
Health Standard 7: Demonstrate the ability to practice health-enhancing behaviors and avoid or reduce health risks.
7.8.2Demonstrate healthy practices and behaviors that will maintain or improve the health of self and others.
Common Core Connections
Speaking and Listening: Anchor Standards
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.1Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.2Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
Language: Anchor Standards
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.3Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.4Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases by using context clues, analyzing meaningful word parts, and consulting general and specialized reference materials, as appropriate.