Unit of Inquiry 4 – How We Organize Ourselves

From Field to Table

17th January to 22nd February 2013

Central idea: Most foods need to go through various stages before they reach our mouths.

Lines of inquiry:

  • Where food comes from (function)
  • Stages foods go through before we eat them (change)
  • How the choices about which food we eat impacts our health and our environment (responsibility)

Final Assessment:

Using books, field trip knowledge, and other resources, students will choose one food item to research. They will create a flow chart to explain the steps involved in processing a food from the original source to eating it. Click here for a draft of the rubric.

Where does our food come from?

Which foods are processed or natural?

How is rice grown and processed?

That is all we saw at the rice village, but there are more steps in the processing of rice. Rice gets sent from farms to  processing plants where it is cleaned, washed, and polished until it is white (unless it is being sold as brown or wild rice). Then it is packaged and goes to the markets or supermarkets where finally we can buy it to cook with. What a lot of steps for rice to go from our food to our table! However, the great thing about rice is that there really isn’t anything that gets mixed with or added to it. Even though it goes through a bunch of steps, we still consider rice to be quite a natural food.

How do we choose our food?

taste testing

Some of us like sweet food, and other prefer salty or bitter food. Taste has a lot to do with which foods we prefer. Texture also helps us decide if we like a food. Sometimes we really like crunchy, or perhaps we prefer mushy food.

What foods are good for our health?

We have taken a brief look at the nutrition facts labels on some packaged food. We learned that we can compare two different foods by looking at the calories per serving on the packet. We discovered that the chocolate flavored cereal in our taste test has ‘Sugar’ listed first in the ingredients, so it has a lot of sugar in it. We found that one handful of pretzels has about the same amount of calories as a bowl of cereal. However the cereal contains MORE SALT than the pretzels, so the cereal must have a LOT of sugar as we could not taste salt in the cereal at all!

We are not too worried about counting calories or anything, but it is good for us to try and eat foods that contain more nutritious ingredients. Foods that are high in vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, fibre and good carbohydrates are preferred over foods with a lot of unhealthy fats, sugar or empty carbohydrates.

Later this week we will make a tasty salsa at school from fresh, colorful ingredients.

Why should limit the amount of sugar we eat?

We talked about how sugar is a taste that a lot of people like. However we should try and limit our sugar intake. Good sugars are contained in fruits and some vegetables. Refined sugars that have been highly processed are contained in flavored milk, some juices, candy and other sweets is of zero nutritional value, and can cause us to act ‘hyper’ and then feel sick or grumpy afterwards. Sugar can also affect our concentration at school.

View this BrainPopJr video that explains about the effects of too much sugar.

Easy Sugar Cookies recipe for Valentine’s Day. This is a treat food for special occasions. As we bake our cookies we will discuss which ingredients for the cookies are healthy or not.


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