Healthy Eating (Grade 6)
The students learn about the issue of obesity through the educational version of the documentary "Super Size Me" and/or print information. They will understand the importance of eating healthfully and the benefits to individuals as well as for the common good. Students will create a cookbook of healthy recipes to be donated to community organizations.
The learner will:
- understand the importance of healthy eating and its benefit to the common good.
- experience service by making and donating healthy cookbooks.
- DVD of “Super Size Me” Educational Version (See Bibliographical References)
- DVD player
- construction paper
- computer with internet access
The film "Super Size Me" is 100 minutes in length. There are two versions of the documentary available, the original which is rated PG13 and an educational version rated PG. Be sure to get the educational version and preview it before using in class.
If class time doesn't allow for students to view the entire documentary, selected parts may be shown (the first 10 minutes to set the background on obesity in the U.S. and the last 10-15 minutes that summarize the results of the experiment).
service: to provide a community or organization with something that it needs
donate: to give or present something, especially to a charitable organization or other good cause
obese: so overweight as to be at risk from several serious illnesses, including diabetes and heart disease, if action is not taken to control the weight
calorie: a unit of energy-producing potential in food
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention - https://www.cdc.gov/
- Super Size Me Eduational PG version available from:
Virgil Films - https://virgilfilms.com/store/?pid=166?pid=166
The educational version of Super Size Me is also widely available in most public libraries and video rental stores for free or for a nominal fee.
Ask the students to raise their hands if they or someone they know has been on a diet in the last year.
Ask the students to share the last time they ate at a fast food restaurant and which one they ate at. Summarize the class' experience (It sounds like most of you have eaten fast food in the last week, two weeks, month...)
Ask- What are the major health concerns that face our population today. List the concerns mentioned on a display area. If obesity is not suggested by the students add that to the list and give a rationale for why its an important concern, (In 2009, only Colorado and the District of Columbia had an obesity level of less than 20% of their population. In 33 states at least 25% of the population isobese and in 9 states (Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and West Virginia) more than 30% of the population is obese.
Tell the students that the theme of the day is Healthy Eating – this means that students will learn about healthy eating and create a cookbook of healthy recipes.
Introduce the movie “Super Size Me.” (This is a 2004 documentary directed by and starring Morgan Spulock). Spurlock's film chronicles a 30-day period from February 1 to March 2, 2003 during which he ate only fast food from McDonalad's. If offered the option, Spurlock always choose to "super-size" his meal. The film shows the effects of this diet on Spurlock's physical and mental health. Facilitate a discussion about the themes of the movie and the importance of helping others.
After viewing the film, ask:
- Does this movie change your thinking about fast food? How so?
- Why do you think fast food restaurants spend so much money on advertising?
- How have the sizes of fries and drinks changed over the years and how is it associated with advertisement?
- In what neighborhoods do you typically see more fast food restaurants? Why? How does this affect eating habits in those neighborhoods?
In groups, ask students to brainstorm what being healthy means to them. Next, ask students to compile a list of behaviors that they define as healthy and unhealthy. This may include listing specific foods, lifestyles, or actions.
Discuss why it is important to encourage all people to practice good health.
With internet computer access, allow students visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website to access current facts about the health of young people: https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood/index.html (If students access to computers is not available, project the site for all to read or in advance download and print the information about childhood obesity for students.)
Ask students: What information was surprising or impactful? How would students redefine their earlier list of healthy and unhealthy behaviors based on this information?
Group students into groups of three or four and ask each group to generate at least three reasons why they believe young people may not practice good health. (Answers may include: people don’t eat healthy food because they’re too busy, don’t know how to cook, or don’t have enough money to buy healthy food, etc.). Then, ask students to start thinking of strategies that will address these concerns.
Compare and contrast Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy of service to the themes of “Super Size Me.”Ask:
- Although Dr. King and Morgan Spurlock are from different generations, how did they both serve and encourage others to serve?
- What message would both of them convey to youth to get them interested in service?
- What will you do to continue their message of service?
Explain to students that one way they can serve related to obesity would be to create a cookbook with healthy recipes that will be donated to community organizations.
Remind students that in learning about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,they learned about how one person can make a difference through service. In “Super Size Me,”they learned that one person’s determination and advocacy can bring attention about an issue the affects the common good. Just as Dr. King and Morgan Spurlock have demonstrated their dedication to help others through social activism, students will demonstrate service by making and donating healthy eating cookbooks to spread the importance of good health.
Review the concept of philanthropy - giving time, talent and treasure for the common good - and ask students to brainstorm examples from their own lives or the lives of others. Explain to students that they will now practice giving and sharing again by making and donating healthy eating cookbooks to an individuals or a groups of their choice.
Before the activity, ask students to either bring recipes from home or research various healthy recipes that they may include in their cookbooks.
Teacher Note: If recipes are taken from published materials (a website or cookbook) be sure students have a good understanding of copyright laws and that they must reference the source, using your school's reference writing protocol.
Either using computer word processing software or paper and pencil, ask the students to write their recipes being careful to to be exact with measurements and use appropriate transition words to explain the recipe procedure. Students may draw (or paste) a picture of a related food item on the recipe page.
Compile the class' recipes to produce one recipe book that can be multi-copied. Students may then make a colorful covers and staple the cookbooks together.
Brainstorm with students possible groups and places to donate their cookbooks, helping students to choose people that might often be overlooked (for example: students may wish to donate their cookbooks to their families, but it may be better to give them to the younger students to teach them better habits, libraries, day cares, or local stores as they may not typically receive such kind gifts). Talk to students about why various groups of people would make good choices for the cookbooks.
After your students have finished their cookbooks, donate them to the recipients that the students have chosen. Be sure to take pictures (if appropriate) for use in student reflection about their service.
Reflection is a key component of service-learning that adds meaning to the experience. Ask students how they felt about donating their cookbooks and how they think others felt receiving them. Discuss with students why doing this project was important. Ask students to fill in the blanks of the following statement: I expected community members to be______.
Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
Benchmark MS.1 Define philanthropy as individuals and organizations providing their time, talent, and/or treasures intended for the common good throughout history and around the world. Give examples.
Benchmark MS.4 Give examples of how individuals have helped others.
Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
Benchmark MS.4 Analyze information to differentiate fact from opinion based on the investigation of issues related to the common good.
Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
Benchmark MS.4 Identify and describe the actions of how citizens act for the common good.
Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
Benchmark MS.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.
Standard VS 03. Providing Service
Benchmark MS.1 Provide a needed service.
Standard VS 05. Integrating the Service Experience into Learning
Benchmark MS.3 Identify outcomes from the service.