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TeachNet NYC: Lesson Plans

Lunch Food? Mmmm! Mmmm! Good!

Project URL:

How it works:
This is a unit on developing lunch menus that satisfy the nutritional requirements of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The unit also contemplates the costs involved in preparing these meals. Students use the Internet to research recipes and utilize the USDA Food Guide Pyramid to determine if nutritional needs are met. They also go online to investigate the importance of meeting these requirements and learn the consequences of an unbalanced diet. They learn about proper nutrition and essential nutrients, and go to the Food & Drug Administration's website to watch a short video on reading food labels to determine how  food contents meet daily nutritional requirements. The students download recipes, create ethnic variations on the food pyramid, and use Excel to convert recipes and create a cost sheet for feeding different amounts of students. The cost sheets, along with surveys conducted by the students, establish reasonable prices at which the meals could be sold. Through these exercises, students learn the importance of nutrition and a balanced diet, the amount of food needed for feeding different amounts of students and the costs involved, how a selling price is determined, and how to channel all this information into delectable, affordable menus.

Standards addressed:  
This unit addresses national standards in mathematics  for grades 6-8 regarding ratio and proportion; and for grades 6-12 regarding the understanding and application of the units of measurement. It also addresses national standards in health and economics.

Materials used:
Required materials for this unit are computers with an Internet connection, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft Word (or some other desktop publishing software such as Publisher). A scanner and a digital camera may also be used.

The students:
This unit is suitable for students in grades eight through adult. It may also be done with advanced seventh grade students with a basic comprehension of nutrition and a good math base in ratio, proportion, and conversion. For older students, a basic understanding of the math concepts previously mentioned as well as a knowledge of Microsoft Word and Excel are required. The entire unit can be done by individual students, and lesson four can be done cooperatively in groups of three.

Overall value:
Lunch Food? Mmmm! Mmmm! Good!
helps students understand how nutrition plays a important role in their--and everyone's--everyday lives. They  also gain real-world experience in the application of mathematical concepts and the costs involved in preparing foods, and how these foods can be used to fulfill nutritional needs in creative, appetizing ways. This is knowledge that will empower them and serve them well for their entire lives.

You may want to teach this unit after going over ratio and proportions or conversions. This can serve as an actual application of the concepts taught. Visit the websites provided before starting the unit and think of possible questions or issues that may arise, so you can be better prepared to address them.

About the teacher:
Anthony Salcedo is laptop coordinator at the Mott Hall School, the first inner city public school to start a laptop program. He was a keynote speaker at the Microsoft Laptop Summit 2000 in Seattle, Washington, and has presented at numerous technology conferences around the country. He has received recognition from three superintendents for his achievements.
Anthony is also a certified NFTE instructor and has worked as a translator in the Caribbean for a division of the United Nations. He was an adjunct professor for NYU and
Mercy College and is in his 11th year of teaching in the New York City  public school system.  Anthony is happily married and has two children.


Subject Areas:                            

Grade Levels: 



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