National Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix
Search Lesson Plans & Companion Resources
Making MyPlate YourPlate
3 - 5
The purpose of this lesson is to introduce students to MyPlate (Dietary Guidelines for Americans) and to reinforce the importance of making half your plate fruits and vegetables.
For the class:
- Tennis ball
- 1-cup measuring cup
- Two dominoes
- 1-ounce measuring cup (or dosing cup from liquid medicine bottle)
For each student:
- MyPlate handout
- MyServings handout
- MyMeal handout
Essential Files (maps, charts, pictures, or documents)
cup equivalent: the amount of a food product that is considered equal to 1 cup from the vegetable, fruit, or milk food group, for some foods it is less than a measured cup due to concentration, other foods may be more than a cup if they are airy in their raw form and do not compress well into a cup (such as salad greens)
MyPlate: developed by the United States Department of Agriculture, a visual cue that reminds consumers how to make healthy food choices, MyPlate replaced MyPyramid in 2011
Background Agricultural Connections
Interest Approach – Engagement
- Ask your students to hold up five fingers.
- Once they have their hand held up, explain to them that just like we have five fingers, there are five food groups that are a part of a healthy diet.
- Ask students to help you list the five food groups. Allow them to use their prior knowledge, then give clues as needed.
- Distribute the MyPlate handout to each student. Briefly review the five food groups. Have students write a one-minute “quick list” of foods that could be listed in each food group. Note: Beans are unique because they fit in both the protein and the vegetable groups.
- Have students share their answers and record them in a chart on the board. Create a spelling list from select words. Explain that this unit will focus on the fruits and vegetables food groups of MyPlate.
- Show the students the tennis ball and the 1-cup measuring cup. Explain that a tennis ball is approximately the size of one cup. When they hear the term “cup,” students can think of the tennis ball.
- Show the students the dominoes and the 1-ounce measuring cup. Explain that two dominoes are approximately the size of one ounce. When they hear the term “ounce,” students can think of the dominoes.
- Review the MyServings handout. Direct students to read aloud the information on serving size equivalents. If possible, provide visual aids. Reiterate the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables. Remind students that making fruits and vegetables the focal point of every meal will help them meet these recommended amounts each day.
- Lead students through a discussion of five reasons why they should eat fruits and vegetables daily. Discussion points may include:
- Fruits and vegetables are the only source of vitamin C in the diet. Vitamin C helps the body heal wounds and lowers the risk of infection. It also helps keep the body from bruising and builds the tissue that holds muscles and bones together. Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid and helps the body absorb the iron found in foods and strengthens the immune system.
- Vitamin A is found in fruits and vegetables that are dark orange, dark yellow, or dark green. Vitamin A serves several functions in the body. It helps maintain good vision, fight infection, support cell growth, and keep skin healthy. Leafy greens, carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, spinach, apricots, and green peppers are all excellent sources of vitamin A.
- Fruits and vegetables are a good source of complex carbohydrates, whose energy release is slow, gradual, and long lasting. Sugar provides quick energy, but its effects are short lived. This knowledge is important when choosing foods to eat before an athletic event.
- Fruits and vegetables contain fiber, a complex carbohydrate found only in plant foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and seeds. Fiber comes in two forms: insoluble and soluble. Insoluble fiber is known as “roughage” and helps move food through the body to prevent constipation. Soluble fiber helps control blood sugar levels and keep food in the stomach longer so that you feel full.
- Fruits and vegetables are quick, often ready to eat, easy to carry, and tasty foods to have as snacks. They provide the energy needed to function throughout the day.
- Have students complete the MyMeal handout to practice choosing healthy foods from each of the food groups. Depending on student ability, they may also identify how much of each food they would consume and the cup or ounce equivalent. Review meals as a class.
Concept Elaboration and Evaluation:
After conducting these activities, review and summarize the following key concepts:
- Fruits and vegetables are part of a healthy diet.
- Fruits and vegetables provide vitamins, minerals, and fiber to our diet.
- Serving sizes help us know how much of each food group we should eat per day.
- Create a large classroom model of the MyPlate icon. Have students identify and cut out their favorite fruits and vegetables from grocery ads. Students take turns sharing and taping their fruits and vegetables to the classroom model.
- Instead of creating a meal, instruct student to use healthy recipes found online or bring a family recipe from home. Use the MyMeal handout to record the different ingredients and their correlating serving sizes.
Using the list of fruits and vegetables the students created in the lesson, have the students determine which produce items are high in vitamin A. This can be done using the “dark color test.” Produce high in vitamin A is dark orange, dark yellow, or dark green throughout.
Rate the taste! Conduct a tasting using fruits and vegetables that are new to your students. For taste testing tips, visit Harvest of the Month. The Network for a Healthy California’s Children’s Power Play! Campaign also has an activity called “Rate the Taste” on page 57 of their School Idea and Resource Kit.
Suggested Companion Resources
- A Seedy Fruit Challenge (Activity)
- Fill MyPlate Game (Activity)
- The Healthy Hop 'n Shop (Activity)
- Food (Book)
- I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato (Book)
- Jack & the Hungry Giant Eat Right with MyPlate (Book)
- Look Inside Food (Book)
- Food Models (Kit)
- MyPlate Activity Poster (Poster, Map, Infographic)
- Eat & Move O-Matic (Multimedia)
- National Geographic Kids: Making Stuff videos (Multimedia)
- Choose MyPlate (Website)
- Food-A-Pedia (Website)
Agricultural Literacy Outcomes
Food, Health, and Lifestyle
- Describe the necessary food components of a healthy diet using the current dietary guidelines (T3.3-5.a)
Education Content Standards
Health Standard 1: Comprehend concepts related to health promotion and disease prevention to enhance health.
1.5.1Describe the relationship between healthy behaviors and personal health.
Health Standard 3: The ability to access valid information, products, and services to enhance health.
3.5.2Locate resources from home, school, and community that provide valid health information.
Health Standard 5: Demonstrate the ability to use decision-making skills to enhance health.
5.5.5Choose a healthy option when making a decision.
Health Standard 7: Demonstrate the ability to practice health-enhancing behaviors and avoid or reduce health risks.
7.5.1Identify responsible personal health behaviors.
State Standards for UT
Grade 3: Health/Nutrition Standard 6
Grade 4: Health/Nutrition Standard 6
Grade 5: Health/Nutrition Standard 6
Common Core Connections
Reading: Anchor Standards
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.4Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
Speaking and Listening: Anchor Standards
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.4Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
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.