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Teacher Resources: Health and Nutrition

 The teacher resources provided on this site are courtesy of Cathryn Berger Kaye, author and leading international expert in service learning, with some additional links provided by RandomKid (notated "rk")


•    Sample Lesson Plans

Visit GoToServiceLearning and Learn and Serve for a range of water-related lesson plans.

•    Curriculum Webs

Health and Nutrition Across the Curriculum

•    Book Recommendations

Chew On This: Everything You Don’t Want to Know About Fast Food, by Eric Schlosser and Charles Wilson (Houghton Mifflin, 2006). This critical history of the U.S. fast food industry tells captivating anecdotes including the vast preference among New Yorkers for cow tongue and spinach over hamburgers in 1925. It traces the growth of the fast-food industry, the questionable working conditions that have kept the products so cheap, and the life-threatening health problems that have arisen from addiction and dependence on fast food. 304pp., grades 6–12, nonfiction

Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick (Scholastic, 2006). Meet Steven Alper, a typical seventh grader, except he is an exceptional drummer. Life appears fairly normal until his younger brother falls, can’t stop a nosebleed, and is diagnosed with leukemia. Steven tries to keep others from knowing and stay afloat through his mother’s complete absorption and his father’s retreat. He finally realizes that being part of a caring community really does make the difference, and he draws needed support from his friends while raising community awareness of leukemia. The author’s wit and his characters’ resilience make this a book you want to read and share with others immediately. 288pp., grades 5–8, fiction

Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer (Little Brown, 2009). This provocative and extremely well documented book details the author’s exploration of the meat producing industry primarily (but not exclusively) in the United States. A blend of science, history, and economics informs about a practice many of us ignore: factory farming. Foer questions who defines what is “nutritional” for the U.S. government. He illuminates the connection between flu viruses and birds confined within factory farms. This book gives an urgent new meaning to the question, “What’s for dinner?”
Most of us view environmentalism in terms of using energy-efficient light bulbs and cars and turning off the tap while brushing our teeth. Foer shifts our view to the food on our table and the choices we make, with factory farming being the greatest contributor to global warming. “Animal agriculture makes a 40 percent greater contribution to global warming than all transportation in the world combined; it is the number one cause of climate change.”
Reading this book can lead students toward varied service learning ideas, such as producing “food facts” as part of a public media campaign. Students can research food source options in their locale and support family farms that maintain healthy practices. They can also create cookbooks that promote using vegetables and fruits. 341pp., grades 11–12

Food for Thought: The Stories Behind the Things We Eat by Ken Robbins (Flash Point, 2009) You’ll want to read this fascinating book cover to cover. Find out the history behind the names of your favorite fruit, such as the likelihood that oranges were first grown by the Chinese, who were also responsible for a sauce called kat siap that you put on French fries today. Learn the history of expressions such as, “You’re the apple of my eye”, and facts such as this one: 24 billion pounds of bananas are grown and are eaten in India every year. In his closing “food for thought” comment, the author reminds us that our increasing world population will need a stable food supply. 48pp., grades 1–5, nonfiction

I Get So Hungry by Bebe Moore Campbell (Putnam Juvenile, 2008). When Nikki tells her mom she wants to try to lose weight, her mom tells her she comes from a long line of big-boned women. When Nikki joins her teacher on morning walks, soon she and her mom are taking weekend walks together. Nikki’s story teaches readers of all age groups that the time is always right to make the lifestyle changes necessary for happier and healthier living. 32pp., picture book

Melissa Parkington’s Beautiful, Beautiful Hair by Pat Brisson (Boyds Mills Press, 2006). Melissa has beautiful hair, which everyone notices. So why is Melissa complaining? “I want to be seen for something beyond my hair!” she says. Melissa’s determination leads to her cutting her hair for Locks of Love, a nonprofit organization that makes human hair wigs for cancer patients. Now Melissa is certain her hair will be of great value for someone else, and Melissa is just fine with that. 32pp., picture book

•    Service-Learning Guides

•    Articles and additional links