2 Are you on a diet?
Provided by Kenan Fellows Program.
This activity will expose students’ background knowledge, beliefs, and misconceptions about diets, and allow them to re-frame their thinking through focused word study and discussion. In the end, students will understand diet as a multi-faceted concept.
- Discuss how foods provide both energy and nutrients for living organisms
- Understand that foods are made up of a variety of nutrients
- Discover various meanings of the word diet through a variety of strategies
- Use word study and discussion to explore the meanings and connotations of the word diet
- Use word reference materials to identify and comprehend unknown words such as diet and nutrition
- Use metacognitive strategies to clarify meaning of the word diet
- Use dictionaries and thesauruses to conduct research
- Use mapping and webbing to organize ideas
- Chart paper
- Chart markers
- 8 ½ x 11 unlined paper
Optional: Online thesaurus and dictionaries, mapping software, LCD projector, and computers.
- Students should have familiarity with how to use a dictionary and thesaurus.
- Students should know how to make a word web and/or concept map.
- Immediately before this activity, make sure each student has a thesaurus or dictionary and has written the QOD.
- Prepare four pieces of chart paper with the following titles:
- Before/After Word Study
- Word Web
- Types of Diets
- Concept Map
- First, define and explain the word nutrition using the concept map. This serves as an introduction to the unit and as a model of the word study method students will be using.
- Tell students that nutrition is received by the body through diet. Ask students if they are on a diet and begin to add their ideas to a chart labeled “Before Word Study.”
- Most students will say no because they are not “fat” or overweight. Ask, “What is the purpose of a diet? What is a diet for? Where have you heard/seen this word? Is it a negative or positive word? Why?” Many will say diets are for losing weight, for fat/overweight people, and that they’ve seen it in commercials and heard it at home.
- Ask, “What types of organisms use diets?” You can get more specific and ask about different types of organisms. Again, most students will say no, that organisms don’t use diets.
- While asking if anyone knows what diet means, write the word diet in the middle of a word web. Students may do the same if you like. See the example below.
- Then have students look up the word diet in the dictionary or thesaurus and share their findings with the class while you add ideas to the word web. Compare findings with chart from previous step. Record appropriate student ideas on the word web. The students should recognize diet as a multiple meaning word — its meaning depends on its usage.
Diet as a noun simply means the foods a person or organism usually eats and drinks or a plan for obtaining the proper nutrition or nutrients. Diet as a verb has a different connotation in that we mostly think of dieting as a thing done to lose weight, but really dieting is something done to maintain or alter weight and health (e.g., diabetic diets). Diet as an adjective is almost always used to describe items used to maintain or alter weight and health (e.g., diet drinks).
- Once all ideas have been recorded, discuss the meaning of diet again by asking the same questions from the lesson’s introduction:
- Are you on a diet?
- What is the purpose of a diet?
- What is a diet for?
- Where have you heard or seen this word?
- Is it a negative or positive word? Why?
- Are animals on diets?
Talk about how most of their initial definitions were negative in context.
- Again, refer to the purposes of diets. Lead a discussion on this topic until students understand diets as a positive term — the way an organism takes in food to help in carrying out everyday processes. Most students this age have a concept of food as energy and as a need for good health, but may not be sure as to what food really provides. It is important to find out misconceptions so that they can be addressed throughout the unit.
- Explain that organisms need certain things in their diet in order for their bodies to work properly. They are called nutrients. This is why all living organisms must be on diets! But every single organism’s diet is different depending on a variety of factors, yet they all get nutrients from their food. Therefore, an organism’s diet or nutrition is made up of nutrients.
- Once students have good grasp on the meanings of the word diet, display a piece of chart paper titled “Types of Diets” and remind students that diets are individual — there are many different types of diets. For example, people who are allergic to a certain food must avoid that food. Therefore, their diet does not include that food. People who are eating to gain weight, like body builders, have to eat certain things to help them do that. Ask, “Can you think of other types of diets?” Some examples include diabetic, vegetarian/herbivore, omnivore, liquid, soft, and ethnic. Stop when the list is extensive enough that students understand the diversity of diets that exist.
- Display the concept maps for the students. If students aren’t familiar with the concept map, spend some time introducing and explaining. Then tell students that you will be making three class concept maps. The grouping strategy utilized will depend upon your learners. Some options include:
- Whole group for the noun, small group for the verb, then independently for the adjective
- One concept map for the noun and verbally discuss the verb and adjective forms
- Whole group setting for all three concept maps
- Engage students in using the ideas from the word web to fill in the all areas of the concept map:
- In the center, write the word diet.
- Guide students to identify essential characteristics of the word.
- Generate examples to illustrate the word.
- Model how to use elements of the concept map to write a personal definition of the word.
Personal Definition Utilizing Ideas from Example Concept Map:
A diet is a noun meaning the food and drink that an organism eats everyday, like being an omnivore or a carnivore.
A personal definition should include:
- Part of speech or category (a noun)
- Word meaning (food choices that animal makes everyday)
- Example (like choosing to be an omnivore or a carnivore)
- Finally, students write their own personal definition on the QOD page in their science notebooks or journals. Ask volunteers to share.
- To close, direct students to these essential questions:
- Are you on a diet?
- How do you know?
Have a short closing discussion to review essential understandings for this activity and add student ideas to the chart paper.
- Students should record an answer to the QOD in their science notebooks that correctly applies essential understandings of the activity.
- Student responses during discussions, brainstorming, and to essential questions should be included in assessment.
- Evaluate students’ personal definitions.
- Webbing or mapping software can be used to integrate technology, encourage active engagement, and to assist students with physical disabilities.
- For English Language Learners, use dictionaries and thesauruses in their native languages or bilingual dictionaries.
- For high achieving students, this activity can be set up as a center or independent study.
- For lower achieving students or those with writing difficulties, personal definitions can be done using a guided writing model.
Optional home-based activity
- Have students go home and discuss the meaning of the word diet with their parents.
- Then together with their families, have them write a paragraph or devise a list of the family’s usual diet and reasons for the foods included within (culture, economics, likes/dislikes, medical issues).
- Students bring these to school and share with others. The class can then compare and contrast, and even create posters featuring their familial diets.
Alternative assessments and extensions
- If necessary, a student’s personal definition may be given orally and/or dictated to a scribe.
- Higher achieving students may be given the concept map(s) to complete independently.
- Students may conduct and present research on different types of diets (i.e., typical diets from around the world).
- Students can analyze diets from around the world and correlate them in terms of available foods and typical lifestyles.
The following document contains additional information and resources that can be used with this lesson including a word web, concept maps, sample charts with guiding questions, and a supplemental worksheet.
From The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition.
- The usual food and drink of a person or animal.
- A regulated selection of foods, as for medical reasons or cosmetic weight loss.
- Something used, enjoyed, or provided regularly: subsisted on a diet of detective novels during his vacation.
- Of or relating to a food regimen designed to promote weight loss in a person or an animal: the diet industry. Having fewer calories. Sweetened with a non-caloric sugar substitute.
- Designed to reduce or suppress the appetite: diet pills; diet drugs.
- To eat and drink according to a regulated system, especially so as to lose weight or control a medical condition.
- To regulate or prescribe food and drink for.
- From The American Heritage Science Dictionary.
- The process by which living organisms obtain food and use it for growth, metabolism, and repair. The stages of nutrition include ingestion, digestion, absorption, transport, assimilation, and excretion.
- The scientific study of food and nourishment, including food composition, dietary guidelines, and the roles that various nutrients have in maintaining health.
From The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition.
- The process of nourishing or being nourished, especially the process by which a living organism assimilates food and uses it for growth and for replacement of tissues.
- The science or study that deals with food and nourishment, especially in humans.
- A source of nourishment; food.
North Carolina curriculum alignment
English Language Arts (2004)
- Goal 1: The learner will apply enabling strategies and skills to read and write.
- Objective 1.03: Identify key words and discover their meanings and relationships through a variety of strategies.
- Objective 1.04: Increase reading and writing vocabulary through:
- wide reading.
- word study.
- knowledge of homophones, synonyms, antonyms, homonyms.
- knowledge of multiple meanings of words.
- writing process elements.
- writing as a tool for learning.
- book clubs.
- examining the author's craft.
- Objective 1.05: Use word reference materials (e.g., glossary, dictionary, thesaurus) to identify and comprehend unknown words.
- Goal 3: The learner will make connections with text through the use of oral language, written language, and media and technology.
- Objective 3.06: Conduct research for assigned projects or self-selected projects (with assistance) from a variety of sources through the use of technological and informal tools (e.g., print and non-print texts, artifacts, people, libraries, databases, computer networks).
- Goal 4: The learner will apply strategies and skills to create oral, written, and visual texts.
- Goal 4: The learner will conduct investigations and use appropriate technology to build an understanding of how food provides energy and materials for growth and repair of the body.
- Common Core State Standards
- English Language Arts (2010)
- Grade 4
- 4.L.4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 4 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies. 4.L.4.1 Use context (e.g., definitions, examples, or restatements in text) as a clue...
Reading: Informational Text
- 4.RIT.4 Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words or phrases in a text relevant to a grade 4 topic or subject area.
- Grade 4
- English Language Arts (2010)
- North Carolina Essential Standards
- Healthful Living (2010)
- 4.NPA.2 Understand the importance of consuming a variety of nutrient dense foods and beverages in moderation. 4.NPA.2.1 Compare unhealthy and healthy eating patterns, including eating in moderation. 4.NPA.2.2 Explain the effects of eating healthy and unhealthy...
- 4.NPA.3 Understand the benefits of nutrition and fitness to disease prevention. 4.NPA.3.1 Explain how nutrition and fitness affect cardiovascular health. 4.NPA.3.2 Summarize the association between caloric intake and expenditure to prevent obesity.
- Science (2010)
- 4.L.2 Understand food and the benefits of vitamins, minerals and exercise. 4.L.2.1 Classify substances as food or non-food items based on their ability to provide energy and materials for survival, growth and repair of the body. 4.L.2.2 Explain the role of...
- Healthful Living (2010)