Hands On: Culinary and Nutrition was developed by a team of experts from the University of Tennessee, Grocery Manufacturers Association Science and Education, and teachers in 2018. The goal of the unit is to provide students information on healthy meals and snacks, how to prepare different types of food, and what makes a healthy diet. The week-long unit provides instruction on the divisions of MyPlate, how to read a nutrition facts label, and other important concepts related to food and its preparation.
In Language Arts, students get first hand experience in preparing a healthy snack and reading recipes. Students learn about different cooking methods and kitchen utensils while also learning about kitchen safety.
The Math unit gives students the opportunity to learn about portion sizes for different food groups and identify some common objects that model those portion sizes. Students practice converting fractions, everyone’s favorite! Students learn to calculate the percent daily value of several micro and macro nutrients and learn just how many grams of sugar are in their bottle of soda.
Social Studies introduces students to the divisions of MyPlate though interactive learning centers. We also connect math with social studies and have students construct graphs of how many servings in each division they ate during a three-day period. Social Studies also introduces cultural foods and has students prepare meal plans for cultures around the world.
The science unit is where students really ignite their learning about nutrition. Students learn about the scientific definition of calories and the seven major micro and macro nutrients that make up our foods. Students receive instruction on how to read a nutrition facts label, and calculating calories in versus calories out. The unit concludes by having students prepare and conduct an experiment with a calorimeter to determine how many calories are in single pieces of their favorite foods.
In addition to providing classroom supply kits that include items that can be used year after year and with other activities, the Hands On Classrooms program provides reimbursement for supplies purchased as a part of the healthy snack activity in the language arts unit.