National Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix
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Beef: A Healthy Option
6 - 8
Two 50-minute sessions
Students will learn about the nutritional content of beef and use role playing and research to describe why zinc, iron, protein, and vitamin B12 are important to healthy living.
- Beef: A Healthy Option student handout
- Internet access
Essential Files (maps, charts, pictures, or documents)
ZIP: an acronym used in nutrition representing the nutrients zinc, iron and potassium
zinc: a micronutrient required in our diet required for a healthy immune system and normal growth and development
iron: a mineral used to form hemoglobin, a protein in blood cells
protein: a nutrient which builds and repairs muscle tissue
vitamin B12: a vitamin important to the formation of red blood cells and healthy nerve tissues
MyPlate: the nutrition guideline published by the United States Department of Agriculture depicting a place setting that is divided into the five food groups
Did you know? (Ag Facts)
- There are more than 29 cuts of beef that meet government guidelines for lean, including the tenderloin, T-bone, and 95% lean ground beef.2
- Beef has 8 times more vitamin B12, 6 times more zinc, and 2.5 times more iron than a skinless chicken breast. 2
- Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day are the most popular beef-eating days of the year.3
- The first hamburger debuted at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis.3
Background Agricultural Connections
Interest Approach – Engagement
- Use the MyPlate graphic to start a class discussion about the five different food groups and examples of each. As students share their ideas about each food group, list them on the board. For instance, when asked to provide examples of the vegetable food group, students may think of carrots, peas, and zucchini.
- Explain that this lesson will highlight beef as a source of lean protein for the protein food group. Beef is a good source of several important nutrients that the students will be researching.
Activity 1: Research
- Provide the Beef: A Healthy Option worksheet for each student.
- Point out the chart section of the student worksheet. Explain how students should use the chart to complete the following information:
- Why are zinc, iron, protein, and vitamin B12 important in our diets?
- What are the symptoms of deficiencies in these nutrients?
- Divide students into pairs to research the information. Review an example of how you would like students to cite their sources. An example for citing websites is shown below. Instruct students to use reputable sources such as MyPlate.gov, National Institutes of Health, Mayoclinic.org, and university websites. If internet research is not possible, have students read the lesson background information that has been provided for the teacher.
- Citing Websites in MLA Format
- Last name, First name. "Article Title." Website Title. Publisher of Website, Day Month Year article was published. Web. Day Month Year article was accessed. <URL>.
- Example: Smith, Joan. "The Yellow Squash." The Gardener. The Association of Vegetable Gardeners, 20 June 2014. Web. 27 June. 2014. www.thegardener/yellowsquash.com
- Citing Websites in MLA Format
Activity 2: Role Play
- Once students have completed the chart section of the worksheet, instruct each pair of students to use their knowledge about the nutrients in a role play as a Registered Dietician and a client who isn’t feeling well. Students will take turns playing each role. Model how you would like students to play the role of the client and the Registered Dietician before groups begin the activity on their own. For Example:
- Registered Dietician – “You haven’t been feeling well. Can you describe your symptoms?”
- Client –“I have been tired and haven’t felt like exercising. I’ve also had trouble focusing in class.”
- Registered Dietician – “Let’s write down the things that you eat and drink throughout a typical day to see if we can identify any nutritional gaps. I would also like to know how many hours of sleep you are averaging each night.”
- Have each client use their nutrient chart to choose symptoms of one or two nutrient deficiencies. They will then describe these symptoms to their partner who is playing the role of the Registered Dietician. Registered Dieticians should jot down notes about their client’s symptoms and should use their nutrient chart to determine which nutrient or nutrients their client may be lacking. Have partners switch roles after one round.
- Note: A Registered Dietician Nutritionist (RDN) is a food and nutrition expert who has been trained in applying the science of nutrition into solutions for healthy living. RDNs are able to develop personalized nutrition plans for individuals based on their needs.
- Food Recommendation: Next have students research lean protein sources that would remedy nutrient deficiencies over time when incorporated into meals. Recommended websites include choosemyplate.gov, beefnutrition.org, and nutrition.gov.
- Ask students if there are any foods that provide all of the nutrients they learned about: protein, zinc, vitamin B12, and iron. (Answer: lean beef)
- Instruct each Registered Dietician to write a few sentences summarizing the symptoms described to them by their client. Next, those playing the role of the Registered Dietician will write an explanation of the nutrient or nutrients the client may be lacking and should back it up with evidence from research. Registered Dieticians should make a recommendation for the client to incorporate certain foods into daily meals in order to address the nutrient deficiency and symptoms. Since students switched roles, every student will write up a menu recommendation. These can be shared in the class discussion.
- Class Discussion: Engage students in a class discussion about the nutrition information gained during the lesson. Note that this lesson provides some symptoms that may be related to nutrient deficiencies, however there are many other factors that can also lead to some of the same symptoms. It is always best to seek the care of a doctor when symptoms of illness do not go away.
- Show a video of a student preparing healthy nachos that include lean beef and vegetables to provide a good source of the nutrients that were featured in the lesson: Zinc, Iron, Protein, and vitamin B12. Bon a la Beef- Individual Loaded Nachos with Tri-Tip Beef.
Concept Elaboration and Evaluation
After conducting these activities, review and summarize the following key points
- Beef provides zinc, iron, protein, and vitamin B12 to our diet.
- Beef is produced by cattle.
- A Dietician helps educate individuals on how they can improve their health through their diet. Dietitians have a career in science and agriculture.
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!
Have students plan out one day of balanced meals using MyPlate as their guideline.
Have students create a healthy recipe that includes sources of zinc, iron, protein, and vitamin B12 to serve to their family.
Provide the Beef Fact and Activity Sheet for students to read. Choose one or more lesson ideas to enrich student’s knowledge of a cow’s ruminant digestive system, cattle history, and beef byproducts. www. learnaboutag.org/factsheets/pdf/Beef.pdf
Play the My American Farm interactive game The Steaks are High.
Suggested Companion Resources
- Food Group Puzzle (Activity)
- Portion Size Comparison (Activity)
- The Healthy Hop 'n Shop (Activity)
- Beef Cattle in the Story of Agriculture (Book)
- Who Makes the Best Burger? (Poster, Map, Infographic)
- Beef Cattle PowerPoint (Multimedia)
- Bon a la Beef Videos (Multimedia)
- Into the Outdoors: Meet the Meat (Multimedia)
- 10 Tips Nutrition Education Series (Website)
Agricultural Literacy Outcomes
Food, Health, and Lifestyle
- Evaluate serving size related to nutritional needs (T3.6-8.c)
- Identify sources of agricultural products that provide food, fuel, clothing, shelter, medical, and other non-food products for their community, state, and/or nation (T3.6-8.i)
- Identify the careers in food production, processing, and nutrition that are essential for a healthy food supply (T3.6-8.j)
Education Content Standards
Health Standard 1: Comprehend concepts related to health promotion and disease prevention to enhance health.
1.8.1Analyze the relationship between healthy behaviors and personal health.
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
Reading: Anchor Standards
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.1Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.10Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.
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.
Writing: Anchor Standards
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.4Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.7Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.