Investigation Sequence


Kitchen Science

Written by:

Tricia Matschullat and Karla Eikmeier



Focus Questions

1. How are people responsible for their own health?
2. What is nutrition?
3. What is the food guide pyramid?
4. What are the benefits of knowing and understanding the food guide pyramid?


Content: Earth, Physical, & Life

Plants and animals rely on food to survive.

Cross cutting concepts


Science Practice


Personal, Social, Technology, Nature of Science, History

Personal and Social issues affect everyone.
The Food Guide Pyramid tells us what foods keep our bodies healthy.

Background information

Five food groups make up the food pyramid. These groups include the meat, poultry, and fish group, the dairy group, the fruit group, vegetable group, and the bread and cereal group. The bottom level of the pyramid is the bread, cereal, rice, and pasta group. These foods help to give us energy. We should eat 6-11 servings from this group daily. On the second level of the pyramid, we have the categories-the vegetable group and the fruit group. The vegetable group gives us vitamins and minerals our body needs to stay healthy. We should eat 3-5 servings a day. The fruit group also gives us vitamins and minerals. We should eat 2-4 servings a day. The third level of the pyramid includes the milk, yogurt, and cheese group, and also the meat, poultry fish, egg, nuts and beans group. The milk group gives us calcium to keep our teeth and bones strong. We should eat 2-3 servings a day. The meat group gives us protein to help build new cells and tissues in our bodies. We should eat 2-3 servings of this group a day. The top of the pyramid is the fats, oils, and sweets group. Although our bodies need a little bit of food from this group, eating too much is not good for us. We should eat foods from this group once and a while.


Activity Sequence

1. Food groups
2. Another food group activity\
3. Fat test
4. Acid test
5. Sugar test

Activity Descriptions

Activity 1
Materials: worksheet: "What Foods Help You Stay Healthy - sheet with a variety of foods from all groups and some junk food examples", scissors, glue, colors.
1. What does your body need to be healthy?
2. Split the students into groups of 3-4.
3. Hand out the worksheet "What Foods Help You Stay Healthy".
4. Remind students that we are working on our social skills in our groups. They will need to remember the proper way to listen to their peers. "How does it look when someone is listening?"
5. Students cut out the food and paste the item in the correct area.
6. Students discuss why that food belongs in that particular category. "Why does that food fit into that category?"
7. If students disagree, they need to work it out within the group and look at the resources (encyclopedia, Food Guide Pyramid) given in the classroom to find out the answer. "What characteristics would help find out what category it is in?"
8. After worksheet is filled out. The students plan a balanced menu that they would like to prepare at home.
9. Share their meal. Did they have enough food in it to make sure it is balanced? Is it ok to eat junk food? Why is it important to eat foods from each group?
10. How will this activity change the eating choices you make?
11. What would you like to tell your parents?

Activity 2
Chalkboard, graph paper, lined paper, pencils, paper, crayons or marker.
1. What are your favorite foods?
2. Students write down their favorite foods on a piece of paper.
3. Students discuss with a partner what their favorite foods are and why.
4. Teacher writes the favorite foods on the board.
5. Students then take the foods from the board and classify them according to the food guide pyramid. They can work with partners or individually. "Why does that food fit into that category."
6. Students then create a graph to illustrate which food categories are the most popular favorites.
7. Discuss the positive and negative affects of eating from certain categories constantly.
8. Why are these foods our favorites? What kinds of ingredients are in there to make them taste good?

Activity 3 Which Foods Leave Greasy Spots?
Materials: variety of foods, Brown paper with squares on it, napkins, and pencils.
1. What kinds of foods have the most fat?
2. List student’s ideas on the board.
3. What kinds of foods have the least?
4. Tell students they are going to test foods for fat.
5. Teacher displays variety of foods (butter, carrots, and bread) for the students to test.
6. Ask students to make predictions about what foods will leave the biggest to smallest, greasy spots, and record them on a piece of paper.
7. Student writes down the food he or she is testing, the size of fat spot, & categorize it according to the Food Guide Pyramid.
8. Students conduct experiments and come back together as a class.
9. Students share and discuss the results they had. "What foods did leave greasy spots?" "What foods didn’t?"
10. Arrange the foods in order. "Is there a relationship of fat to the food group?
11. Ask students what they would like to test at home and bring the results in to discuss.

Activity 4 The Acid Test
Materials: 1 reaction bottle and lid with a rubber stopper, 1 50ml syringe with a 5 ml step and notches on the plunger, 3 plastic cups, 2 half-liter containers, 1 record chart, 2 containers of baking soda, 2 one liter containers, 1 bottle of white vinegar, 1 collapsible water jug, 1 knife.
1. What kinds of foods contain acid?
2. Does the acid harm us?
3. Seat the students at a table, and have a syringe and 2 cups ready for each youngster.
4. Tell the students "I have heard that some foods have acid on them. Today we’re going to find out if it is true.
5. Introduce the new materials to the students. Such as the vinegar bottle and the containers of baking soda.
6. What do you know about the use of these items"
7. What do you think will happen when we mix them together?
8. Show the students the special features of a syringe.
9. Have students locate the different areas so that they are familiar with each.
10. Each youngster takes a small spoon and places two level spoonfuls of baking soda into one of the empty cups.
11. Pour vinegar into a second cup. Have students use the syringe to measure about _ syringe of vinegar.
12. Have students squirt the vinegar into the cup of soda and observe the results.
13. What happened when you mixed the vinegar and soda together?
14. What tells you that this is an acid?
15. Have students do the same activity but put it into a bottle. Make sure that the students keep the syringe in the bottle.
16. What happened to the plunger? Why? How far did it go?
17. Continue to test water, fruit juices, and any other types of materials that the students decide to test.

Activity 5 Cookie Monster
Materials: 4 zip bags, 4 packages of dry baker’s yeast, 1 spoon, 1 plastic cup, 1 syringe, 1 basin, 1 half liter container, 1 container of sugar, 1 container of flour, 1 jug with lid, 1 volume tube, 1 permanent marking pen, 1 watch, 1 thermometer, a box of cookies, paper towels, water @ 45* C.
1. Form teams of students and give each student a zip bag. Have the student’s practice opening and sealing the bag. Introduce the syringe and have students learn how it works.
2. Give each team a package of dry yeast and a plastic cup. Students dump contents into the cups.
3. What does it look like? Do you know what bakers yeast is used for?
4. Is yeast a living organism?
5. Put how water 40*C into a half container for each team. Here is some water, but what can we use for food? (Cookies)
6. Dump a package of yeast into the bag, add hot water, mix yeast and water together, then add two cookies, squash them and bounce bag again.
7. Ask students if they think that the yeast could come alive with only water. How could we find out?
8. Repeat the procedure. Do not put cookies in this time. Wait 10 Minutes.
9. While waiting for time to elapse, show students volume tubes. Each tube consists of a cylinder and a bottle that slides inside the cylinder. The cylinders is slotted and has a scale attached, the bottle is weighted with water.
10. Show students that this can be used to measure the volume of gas in a zip bag.
11. After waiting ten minutes have students remove the bags from the bath and lay the bags flat on the table and have students to encourage them to observe any changes.
12. What has happened to the yeast? What evidence do you see that tells you that it comes to life?


Dr. Robert Sweetland's notes