Activity 1 - Different types of food provide different amounts of energy.
Explain to the children that food and drinks (except water) provide energy for the body so that we can grow, be active and stay healthy. Food and drink are the ‘fuel’ for the body.
Different types of food and drink provide different amounts of energy. Use the Energy presentation to talk to the children about the energy provided by food and drinks and how it is used.
Ask the children to name the unit of measurement used when taking about energy provided by food. Explain we measure energy from food in kilojoules (kJ) or kilocalories (kcal), more commonly known as ‘calories’.
Note: Kilojoules is the metric measure for energy and is good to use in school for consistency with other metric units of measure used, e.g. cm, ml, g. Kilocalories (kcal), usually referred to as ‘calories’, is the imperial unit of measure for energy.
Show the children the Energy cards. Draw children’s attention to where the card states the energy provided by 100g of the food shown. It might be useful to demonstrate weighing out 100g for some of the food shown on the cards so the children can appreciate what 100g of different food looks like, e.g. lettuce, bread, spread.
Handout the Energy cards and task the children to line up from highest to lowest by amount of energy. Make sure everyone is looking at the energy in kilojoules. Question the children to see what they notice:
- Which food has the highest amount of energy?
- Which food has the lowest amount of energy?
- What other food might go at the highest or lowest energy end of the line?
- Can you make a statement about the types of food at the lowest and highest end of the line?
Summarise that fruit and vegetables are usually lower in energy and food such as oils and spreads are usually higher in energy.
Activity 2 - Different amounts of food and drink provide different amounts of energy.
Give out the Energy cards and ask the children to line up from lowest to highest in energy per 100g. Make a note on the board of the two or three foods at each end of the line. Question the children:
- Do we always eat 100g of a food?
- What food do you think we would eat in amounts less than 100g? (e.g. spread)
- What food might we eat in amounts more than 100g? (e.g. potatoes)
Explain to the children that we eat different food in different amounts – sometimes known as ‘servings’. Point out to the children that the Energy cards also show a weight range for a typical ‘serving’ of each food. These serving ranges are for children aged 7-10 years. Question the children to check they can see the information:
- Who has a food which has a serving of less than 20g? What is the food and the serving size?
- Who has a food which has a serving of around 80g? What is the food and the serving size?
Ask the children what they think will happen to the amount of energy provided by the food if the serving size changes.
Ask a few of the children (perhaps those at either end of the line) to calculate (roughly) what the energy provided by their food would be if they had a serving size rather than 100g. Ask them to move to a place in the line where they would be according to the energy provided by a serving of their food.
Establish that if we have a smaller or larger amount of a food or drink, the energy it provides changes (it goes down or up).
Divide the children into small groups and provide each group with a copy of the Serving size and energy worksheet and a set of weighing scales. Provide each group with a set of the food below. Check that each food has a label showing the energy provided by 100g.
- Spread (tub)
- Breakfast cereal (boxed)
- Bread (packaged)
- Carrots (bagged)
- Oranges (netted)
- Baked beans (canned)
Before the children start the task, ask them to look at the food packaging and identify where on the label they can find the energy provided by 100g.
Challenge the children to weigh 100g of each food to see what this looks like and then record the amount of energy provided by 100g in kilojoules. Ask the children to calculate what serving size they think they would eat and the energy this would contain.
When the children have finished the task, talk through the serving sizes of each food they thought they would probably eat and how the energy provided compares with 100g of the food.
To conclude the session, use the Energy and serving size spreadsheet to model the effect of changing serving size on the energy provided by a food.
As an extension, use the simple nutritional analysis tool, Explore Food. Display this on a whiteboard and allow children to enter different food to show the energy provided by 100g as well as for different serving sizes.
Activity 3 - Different amounts of energy are needed by the body for different activities.
Recap that energy is provided by the food and drinks we consume. Ask the children why energy is needed and how it is used. Establish that we need energy to live and be active.
Explain that the energy we use, through being active, is also measured in kilojoules (kJ).
Handout the Activity and energy cards and ask the children to order the activities from the lowest to highest amount of energy they think a primary school child would use doing the activity for 15 minutes.
Use the Energy used factsheet to reveal the energy requirements for each activity. Did the children order the cards correctly? Summerise that some activities require more energy than other types. Can the children make a statement about the types of activities they would expect to use more energy and those they would expect to use less?
Provide the children with a copy of the Energy used factsheet. Task them to record what they might do during a typical day on the Activity diary worksheet and then calculate the energy that would be used doing each activity and the total energy used for the day. You could let the children work in pairs and have access to calculators for this task.
Activity 4 – Different people need different amount of energy.
Question the children about the amount of energy different people might need.
- Does everyone need the same amount of energy (from food and drinks)?
- Who might need more or less?
- Why might this be?
Give each group a copy of the Energy needs worksheet. Task the children to discuss the different people on the sheet and what energy requirements they might have. They should then note the amount of energy they think each person will need in a day. Some examples have been provided to help the children with their estimates.
Discuss with the children the energy amounts that have allocated to each person. Give out copies of the Energy needs factsheet so the children can check their answers and look at other people’s energy requirements. Ask them to make a note of anything they find interesting. Discuss what they have noticed.
Explain that every day most of our energy is used keeping our body working, e.g. breathing, heart beating, blinking, eating.
Activity 5 - To be healthy, energy balance should be achieved (over a period of time).
Introduce the concept of energy balance to the children. Energy is:
- provided from the food and drinks consumed (in);
- used by normal body functions, such as breathing, blinking and eating, and undertaking different types of activity (out).
- If we consume more energy than we use, we will gain weight;
- If we consume less energy than we use, we will lose weight;
- If we have energy balance (consuming and using the same amount of energy), our weight will stay the same.
Discuss with the class problems with being over- and under- weight. Discuss the reasons, both in the UK and globally, as to why people may become over- or under- weight.
- Task the children to collect different food packaging or labelling. Making a display of the different amounts of energy provided by foods.
Reviewed November 2023
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