Skip Navigation


Author(s): Nancy P. Moreno, PhD, and Barbara Z. Tharp, MS.

Photo © Shvadchak Vasyl.

  • Grades:
  • 3-5

Physical Science, Life Science, Environment and Health

Students investigate food sources, food webs and food chains, healthy eating and food groups, food safety and overall nutrition. Student sheets are provided in English and in Spanish.

The Science of Food Teacher’s Guide contains lessons, including assessments, that enable students to examine soil and plant growth, photosynthesis, edible plant parts, food webs, digestion, why pollutants become concentrated in some foods, bacteria, using food labels and food safety. This guide provides the following inquiry-based activities.

  1. What’s That Food? - Pre-assessment

  2. What Is Soil Made Of? - What is in soil and how does it contribute to plant growth?

  3. Do Plants Need Light? - How do plants produce food through photosynthesis?

  4. Plant Parts You Eat - Where do everyday vegetables and fruits come from?

  5. Food Webs - What happens to energy and nutrients in ecosystems?

  6. Digestion - How does the body get nutrients from food?

  7. Bio Build-Up - Why do pollutants become concentrated in some foods?

  8. They’re Everywhere: Bacteria - Where do bacteria grow?

  9. Using Food Labels - How can we use the information on food labels?

  10. Safe Food Preparation - How can we reduce the risk of food contamination?

  11. Healthy Snacks - Post-assessment

The guide also is designed to be used with integrated components of the Food unit: The Mysterious Marching Vegetables (storybook), Food: Explorations (student magazine), and two supplements, The Reading Link and The Math Link (language arts and mathematics activities related to the storybook).

Although the activities are most appropriate for use with students in grades 3–5, the lessons are easily adaptable for other grade levels. The guide also is available in print format.

Download: The Science of Food Teacher's Guide

Related Content

  • Explorations: Food

    Explorations: Food Reading

    Students match foods with the appropriate food groups, and they learn about food labels, plants and photosynthesis, food as fuel for the body, and more.

  • The Math Link: Food

    The Math Link: Food Worksheets

    Math worksheets designed to meet common mathematics objectives. Activities are integrated with the storybook, The Mysterious Marching Vegetables.

  • The Mysterious Marching Vegetables

    The Mysterious Marching Vegetables Reading

    Rosie and Riff go undercover with Mr. Slaptail to discover why spinach is disappearing from Mr. Slaptail's garden.

  • The Reading Link: Food

    The Reading Link: Food Worksheets

    Reading and language arts worksheets with activities that are directly related to the book, The Mysterious Marching Vegetables.

Funded by the following grant(s)

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

My Health My World: National Dissemination
Grant Number: 5R25ES009259
The Environment as a Context for Opportunities in Schools
Grant Number: 5R25ES010698, R25ES06932

Science Education Partnership Award, NIH

Science Education Partnership Award, NIH

Filling the Gaps: K-6 Science/Health Education
Grant Number: 5R25RR013454