According to the Surgeon General more than 17% of youth, ages 2-19 years of age, are overweight in the United States. Overweight children and adolescents are more likely to have risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and Type 2 Diabetes. It is the goal of the science curriculum to give the students the facts and information associated with obesity and an understanding of how the body digests food. With these understandings of the science behind it, students will be encouraged to make better and healthier choices in their own lifestyles

Scope and Sequence
The science portion of this unit will focus on addressing the facts and figures associated with Childhood Obesity in the United States. Students in science will gain an understanding how the body processes and stores food in the digestive system and the important nutrients the body needs. They will work in conjunction with the Math curriculum for many of the activities to understand to break down the food pyramid and explore the food choices they make on a daily basis. They will take part in the creation of healthy food recipes and cooking class to learn how to prepare these snacks and dishes themselves. This science curriculum will wrap up with a research project in which students create information brochures about diseases associated with food abuse, including anorexia and bulemia. These pamphlets will be translated into Spanish and Creole, and will be distributed at the Health Fair as well as in Cambridge Health Alliance doctor’s offices.

MA Frameworks
Life Science
6. Identify the general functions of the major systems of the human body (digestion, respiration, reproduction, circulation, excretion, protection from disease, and movement, control, and coordination) and describe ways that these systems interact with each other.

Essential Questions
· What effect does food have on my body?
o What effect does over-eating have?
o What effect does under-eating have?

Driving Questions
· What happens to a hamburger after I eat it?
· What effect does my weight have on my health?

Lesson Plans

· Introduction to the Digestive System (Week 1)
The science unit will begin with lessons on the digestive system starting with an introductory KWL discussion. This unit on the digestive system wraps up the study of the human body systems and transitions into understanding how the body works as a whole. Students will be able to understand how the choices they make in their lifestyle, in terms of food choice and physical activity, affect their bodies.
o Day 1: Introduction to the Unit; KWL activity in groups for digestive system and how it relates to previous systems of students; Exit ticket prompt: Where does digestion begin?
o Day 2: Moving Right Along Investigation- students will perform an inquiry that will help them understand the purpose of the digestive process and how food moves through the digestive tract; Exit ticket prompt: How was the movement of the tennis ball similar to the movement of food through the digestive tract?
o Day 3: Digestion in the Mouth Investigation- students will perform an inquiry that will help them understand mechanical and chemical digestion in the mouth and gain a basic understanding of enzymes
§ HW: Read Into the System article in Human Body Systems book
o Day 4: Digestion in the Stomach Investigation- students will continue their inquiry and discover how chemical digestion works in the stomach and learn the roles hydrochloric acid and pepsin play. Exit ticket prompt: Why does the human body need protein?
o Day 5: Diffusion and Active Transport Investigation- students will use models to show how substances spread and construct definitions for diffusion and active transport and how these are necessary in the body for nutrient absorption
§ HW: Use the information from Friday’s inquiry and the reading The Long and Winding Tube to explain how food is digested in the small intestine. Draw a diagram to explain your work.
· Exploring the Food Pyramid and Nutrients (Week 2)
Week 2 begins the investigations into the nutrients the body needs to be healthy and what foods those nutrients can be found in. The investigations this week coordinate and contribute to the math curriculum.
o Day 1: The Food Pyramid and Exploring Carbohydrates Investigation- students will develop a list of nutrients the body needs and discover where the body can get them using the food pyramid. Students will conduct an inquiry to learn about what foods carbohydrates are in, and how the body processes these types of foods.
§ HW: Read Nutrients: You Just Can’t Live Without ‘Em
o Day 2: Battling the Fat Investigation- students will perform an inquiry to understand how fat is stored and used in the body. Discussion will follow to discuss the difference between good and bad fats and the foods they can be found in
§ HW: Bring in food labels or actual food product
o Day 3 + 4: Eat Right, Stay Fit Investigation- in groups students create their own food pyramid posters and perform an inquiry to assess their diets and food nutrition labels. They will understand relationships between metabolism, calories, and diet.
§ HW due Friday: Develop a well balanced diet plan for a week of meals
o Day 5: Guest Instructor: Home Economics Instructor- Home Ec teacher will lead the students in a cooking class to learn easy to make recipes for healthy snacks
§ HW: Students compile recipes from in class with favorite healthy recipes from home to create a class Healthy Living Cookbook. They will utilize these recipes and cook books in their mentoring program with the third graders.
· Disease Research (Weeks 3+ 4)
Over the next two weeks, students will be exploring the various diseases associated with poor food choices. They will be introduced to obesity as a disease, as well as learn about the opposite extreme of anorexia and bulimia. In groups students will research a particular disease of their choosing and create an informational brochure as a final product to display at the Healthy Living Fair and in a Cambridge Health Alliance doctor’s office.
o Day 1: Test- Digestive System, Nutrients, and Food Pyramid
o Discussion on how the information learned in the previous week could lead to good and bad diet choices and what this means in terms of health of the body. How does our school food help or hurt healthy diet choices? How does the media affect the portrayal of body image? Watch video clips on eating disorders
o Day 2: Guest Speaker: Parent doctor from Cambridge Health Alliance- students will learn about the facts and statistics related to obesity and eating disorders in adolescents. Discussions in small groups and reflection
o Day 3: Introduction of Research Project- students divided into groups of three and choose disease they want to research for the project. Discuss research expectations and roles for each member of the group. Introduce brochure project. Begin researching in computer lab
§ HW: Research Notes due Friday
o Day 4: Group Disease Research in Computer Lab
o Day 5: Group Disease Research completion and brochure creation
§ HW: Brochure rough draft due Monday
o Day 6 + 7: Group work on brochures- peer edit and revise drafts of disease brochures
o Day 8: Work with Spanish teachers and Haitian parent liason to translate brochures into Spanish and Creole. Finish brochures (should have three copies of each)
o Day 9: Groups present their research and finished product (brochure) with the members of the class
o Day 10: Healthy Living Fair- brochures will be on display


Students will have a variety of formative and summative assessments over the course of the unit.
Formative: class participation and effort in group work and discussions, exit tickets
Summative: Unit Test, Disease Brochure, Class cookbook

§ American Diabetes Association.
§ Bhaerman, B. First Responders: Youth Addressing Childhood Obesity Through Service Learning. Youth Service America.
§ Burniat, W. (2002). Child and Adolescent Obesity: Causes and Consequences, Prevention and Management. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.
§ KidsHealth.
§ Koplan, J. P., Liverman, C.T., Kraak, V. A. (2005). Preventing Childhod Obesity: Health in the Balance by the Committee on Prevention of Obesity in Children and Youth. Washington D.C: Institute of Medicine.
§ Milne, H. (2006). Human Body Systems. Burlington, N.C.: Carolina
Biological Supply.
§ vanden Heuvel, K. (2010). Michelle Obama takes on childhood obesity. The Washington Post. Web.