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Paul D. Coverdell World Wise Schools

Paul D. Coverdell World Wise Schools

Investigating Nutrition

Africa, Asia, Central America and Mexico, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, North Africa and the Middle East, Pacific Islands, South America, The Caribbean, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe
Grades 6-8, Grades K-2
Environment, Foreign Language, Health, Language Arts & Literature, Mathematics, Science, Service Learning, Social Studies & Geography

These teaching suggestions are designed to support interdisciplinary exploration of the issue of food security. They may be used on their own or to extend students' learning from the WebQuest Improving Nutrition for All.

More about how Peace Corps Volunteers address global issues:

More about nutrition in the world:

More about nutrition in the United States:


Service Learning: Read "A Lifetime of Service(linked to above), which describe Peace Corps Volunteer Mary Ann Camp's experiences as a pediatric nurse in Botswana, Lesotho, and Malawi. Discuss the segment she writes entitled "Still Hungry." Imagine what life would be like in the hungry season that Camp describes. Consider a service-learning activity that could help a community alleviate seasonal periods of hunger. 

Health: Find out your recommended dietary intake for each food group by creating a daily food plan for someone of your age, gender, and size. Track the foods you eat for one day or one week, to see how close you are to meeting the recommended intake for each food group. How could you adjust your diet to better meet your nutritional needs?

Language Arts: Read or listen to the podcast of the story "A Morning of Weighing Babies" by Peace Corps Volunteer Kris Holloway (see link above), who served in Mali. Then use the accompanying lesson plan to prompt students' analysis of the story, its characters and their relationships, and the causes and effects of childhood malnutrition for individuals and communities.

Science: Select a type of nutrient (e.g. protein, complex carbohydrates, vitamin C, potassium) and investigate how the human body absorbs and uses the nutrient. What functions does the nutrient help the body perform? What are the effects of getting too little or too much of the nutrient? What foods are the best sources of the nutrient? Are there any ways to maximize the body's absorption and use of the nutrient? Share the information you learn to educate your classmates or another audience.

Foreign Language : Select a country or region where your target language is spoken. Research - and consider preparing - one of its popular dishes. Using your target language, write or tell what you learned about the dish and its preparation. What sources of protein (e.g. meats, beans, fish) are popular in this type of cuisine? What fruits and vegetables are used? Are there cultural, economic, or geographical reasons for using these ingredients? What is the cultural importance of the dish and on what occasions is it eaten?

Math: Analyze the nutrition labels of four different snack foods of your choice. Graphically represent the comparative percentages of the recommended daily value of fat, carbohydrates, cholesterol, and sodium that the snacks provide for a person who consumes a 2,000-calorie per day diet. On a separate graph, represent the percent daily value of essential vitamins or minerals that each snack provides (e.g., vitamin A, calcium, iron). Using evidence from your graphic representation, explain which snack you would recommend if you were a nutritionist advising a patient.

Social Studies: Research the changes in food culture in the U.S. throughout American history. How has the American diet evolved over the decades and what events or phenomena influenced these changes? Consider the impacts of these changes on nutrition in America and in the world.  

Frameworks & Standards

  • Both undernutrition and overweight/obesity are critical global issues.
  • There are many social, cultural, and environmental factors that influence nutrition.
  • Nutrition has many implications for one's wellbeing and quality of life.
Essential Questions
  • How does nutrition relate to other global issues?
  • What can we do to improve nutrition in our own communities and in our world?
  • What do our bodies need in order to be well nourished?


National Science Education Standards

  • Content Standard F: Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
    • Personal and Community Health


Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts

  • Reading – Informational Text
    • Key Ideas and Details: Analyze how a text makes connections among or distinctions between individuals, ideas, or events
    • Craft and Structure: Determine an author's point of view or purpose in a text


Common Core State Standards for Mathematics

  • Ratios and Proportional Relationships
    • Understand ratio concepts and use ratio reasoning to solve problems


National Standards for Foreign Language Learning

  • Communication
    • 1.3: Present information, concepts, and ideas to an audience of listeners or readers
  • Cultures
    • 2.2:  Students demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the products and perspectives of the culture studied


National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies

  • Thematic Strand II: Time, Continuity, and Change
    • Research and analyze past periods, events, and issues using a variety of sources
  • Thematic Strand IX: Global Connections
    • Ask and find answers to questions about the connections we have to other people and places across the globe 
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