Healthy Choices (Who We Are)

For the new school year we are starting with the PYP unit of inquiry Who We Are, in which the students are focusing on Healthy Choices. This will cover:

1. Making healthy food choices to create a balanced diet.
2. Understanding how the body uses the healthy food in connection to energy.
3. Learning how to balance our time in the day.
4. Making connections from ourselves to how people eat around the world.
5. Understanding the importance of caring for our bodies with exercise.
6. Dressing appropriately for the weather.

We are kicking everything with FOOD. I asked the students to write down in their notebooks anything they knew about food. Most students made a list of what they liked, a lot drew pictures and labeled them, some went as far as to make the distinction between good foods and bad foods, and one student even told me that "junk food make cavities" (way to raise the bar!)

After the writing the students brought their notebooks to our carpet where they each got to share something and I recorded their words on post its for our Inquiry board. We also spent some time asking questions of what we want to know about food (these will help drive our inquiry learning over the coming weeks).

We then incorporated some math with a student survey: What is your favorite food? The students got a grid chart with all the names of their classmates, and got to go around the room asking and recording everyone's favorite food. When we were finished we came back together, checked all the different types of food, and made a chart with tally marks. This helped us to see which food choices were the most popular in our class. Check out some of our work below!

Some photos of our class.
We do a daily question and show our answer with marbles. This helps the students get into the habit of data collection. Once we get the routine down, we will start charting our yes and no answers for the week using bar graphs.

Part of our class library.

Writing about foods we know.

Sharing our ideas about food we know.

Taking a survey of everyone's favorite foods.

We also explored a bag of different food items, bringing one item out at a time, and creating categories for the items to belong to. During out discussion we came up with sub categories for some food items that belonged to more than one group (they thought that yogurt with fruit belonged to both dairy and fruit, and that peppers and tomatoes belonged to both fruits and vegetables). After the sorting, I encouraged the students to take a post it and write down either:

1. One new thing they learned that maybe they didn't know
2. A new question they might have for our Wonder Wall

We then placed all the post its around the food and sat in a circle, sharing what we had written.

How can they make yogurt?

Carrots are good for your eyes.

Why there is a potato that is smaller because they both grow in the same place? 
(We had two different sized potatoes from the same sack and she wondered why if they are grown in the same conditions are they different sizes).

I want to know more about fruit.

I didn't know beans were protein.

A simple activity to introduce our lesson that had some amazing results in terms of student interest in inquiry, great discussions, and some new information to consider for the rest of our unit. I leave you with these thoughts?

What are some ways you move away from the typical classroom work to increase your student's interest through inquiry?
How does inquiry show true learning and interest of your students?


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