Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Pyramid Power

Laurie Ayers
Bay District Schools


This health lesson plan is for Day 3 of the unit [Wellness Wonders]. Students brainstorm facets of well-being and investigate health behaviors related to nutrition.


The student knows how personal health behaviors influence individual well-being.

The student knows the nutritional values of different foods.

The student knows various methods for communicating health information and ideas (eg., through oral or written reports).

The student listens attentively to the speaker (including but not limited to making eye contact and facing the speaker).


-Copy of the problem scenario for Wellington Elementary (downloaded and printed previously for Day 2, [Health Hounds] lesson)
-Vocabulary Words and Meanings (see extensions)
-Four pieces of chart paper
-Chalkboard or dry erase board area
-Chalk or dry erase markers
-[Body Works: Healthy Eating], by Paul Bennett, Silver Press, Parsippany, New Jersey, 1997. ISBN 0-382-39779-7.
-Poster of The Food Pyramid, Frank Schaffer, 1998 or download one from
-Food Pictures (see associated file)
-Glue, one container per group
-Background Information, one teacher copy (see associated file)
-12”x18” white poster paper, one per group of students
-Markers or crayons, one set per group of students
-Note-taking Handout, one per student (see associated file)
-Pencils, one per student
-Health Hound Journal cover and journal pages, one of each per student (see Unit Attachment in extensions)
-Journal Checklist, one per student (see associated file)
-Materials to bind the class book (i.e., staples, hole punch and string, hole punch and brads, etc.)
-Pyramid Power Rap, one per student (see associated file)
-Optional: [Capt. Yuck’s Adventure In The Food Pyramid] video (or other accessible video pertaining to the food pyramid)
-VCR and projection system
-[Health Hounds] lesson plan (previously downloaded and copied on Day 2)


1. Gather materials.
2. Make signs for each of the food groups and post the signs in various areas of the classroom that will be conducive to small group work.
3. Download and make a copy of the Food Pictures (see associated file), laminate them, and cut them out.
4. Download and make copies of Health Hound Journal covers and journal pages (see Unit Attachment in extensions), one per student. Assemble the journals prior to the lesson by placing the cover on top of the other pages and stapling the papers on the left side.
5. Download and make copies of the Journal Checklist (see associated file), one per student.
6. Write Nutrition, Physical Fitness, Relaxation/Sleep, and Personal Health Care headings on four separate pieces of chart paper.
7. Download and make copies of Note-taking Handout, one per student (see associated file).
8. Download and make copies of the Pyramid Power Rap, one per student (see associated file).
9. Remember to administer the Math Diagnostic also on Day 3. This can be done during the regular math time.


Day 3 (Note: You may want to complete this lesson prior to doing the lesson plan, Please Explain, in order to provide more background knowledge for students to use in their writing.)

Before the lesson:

1. Prior to this lesson, download and make copies of the Health Hound Journal cover and journal pages, one copy per student (see Unit Attachment in extensions). Place the journal cover on top of the journal pages and staple them together on the left side. Note: This would be a great job for a parent volunteer.

2. The math diagnostic (see extensions) is to be administered during math time on this day.

During the lesson:

Vocabulary Words - carbohydrate, protein, vitamin, nutrient, calcium, energy

1. Walk to the front of the classroom waving a copy of the Problem Scenario (previously downloaded and copied on Day 2) in your hand as you walk.

2. Reread (or ask a student to read) the Problem Scenario concerning the students at Wellington Elementary.

3. Remind students of the task at hand. Students are to learn how personal health behaviors influence individual well-being and create a plan to improve student performance in the third grade class at Wellington.

4. Draw a concept web/map on the board. A sample Concept Web is provided in the associated file.

5. Brainstorm facets of well-being with students. Guiding questions might include:
What is well-being? How do you feel when you are well? How do you look when you are well? How do you act when you are well? How do you treat others when you are well?

6. Lead students in identifying various facets of well-being (including nutrition, physical fitness, relaxation/sleep, and personal health care).

7. Allow time for discussion and record responses.

8. Display chart papers with the following headings: Nutrition, Physical Fitness, Relaxation/Sleep, and Personal Health Care.

9. Explain that students are to become Health Hounds. Just as hound dogs are used in hunting to sniff around and find game, students are to “sniff around” and find information about the health topics on the charts. This information will eventually be used to help them write a health plan for the students at Wellington Elementary.

10. Point to the Nutrition chart.

11. Explain that today’s lesson is about nutritional values of foods and how nutrition affects individual health.

12. Display a food pyramid chart (see Weblinks).

13. Identify the food groups.

14. Establish that the food pyramid is often used as a guide to good nutrition and discuss benefits of each food group. The teacher may want to refer to Background Information (see associated file) and use the information as a guide to points to cover concerning nutrition.

15. Display a book on nutrition such as [Eat Right: Tips for Good Nutrition], by Katie Bagley. Note: If this book is not available, another book that elaborates on nutritional values of foods in each food group can be substituted.

16. Distribute Note-taking Handout (see associated file).

17. Tell students they are to use listening skills (previously discussed in the language arts lesson entitled [Listen and Learn]) to listen to the reading selection and learn about the nutritional value of foods in each group.

18. As they listen, they are to write notes about the nutritional value of foods in each group on the Note-taking handout.
Note: This is a difficult skill. Appropriate scaffolding and modeling are essential. A word wall with content words might also be helpful.

19. Read [Eat Right: Tips for Good Nutrition] (or another appropriate book) and elaborate on the nutritional value of foods in each food group.

20. While reading, observe student listening skills and formatively assess them using the Language Arts Checklist/Listening (see KWL Diagnostic in extensions).

21. During the reading, allow time for students to jot one or two notes about each food group. If students are unfamiliar with note-taking, list on the board, the important facts that they should know. You may want to elicit their opinions and input/ then condense it and write it on the board. Students may then copy the "notes."

22. Instruct students to put their Note-taking Handouts in their Health Hound folders (previously assembled on Day 2). Explain students will use the notes as a reference in days to come.

23. Tell students now that they know some facts about foods and nutrition they will participate in an activity called Food Flurry.

24. Point out food group signs in various areas of the classroom (previously posted by the teacher prior to the lesson).

25. Distribute food pictures from magazines/newspapers/clipart, one per student. Sample clipart pictures are provided in the associated file.

26. Students look at their picture and decide which food group it represents.

27. When the teacher gives a signal, students are to find other students who have pictures of food from that same food group.

28. Students with pictures of foods from the same food group then locate the labeled area of the room for their food group and gather there.

29. Give the signal and allow a short amount of time (45-60 seconds) for students to find others who have pictures of foods in the same food group. Check to make sure the groups have formed correctly and in the correct locations according to the signs. Guide students who might be in the wrong group in changing groups.

30. Next, distribute a 12”x 18” piece of poster paper to each group. Students in each group glue their pictures on the paper (turn the paper so the 18” side is vertical), write a label at the top to identify the food group, and use their notes to write a statement concerning the nutritional value of the foods in this group and a statement about how eating foods from this group will influence individual well-being.

31. When completed, each group shares its picture, identifying the food group, the nutritional value of foods in the group, and how eating foods from the group can influence individual well-being.

32. Formatively assess group projects and provide positive and guiding feedback. Positive feedback might include, “Great job! These are all pictures of vegetables. Vitamins in vegetables help us stay well.” Guiding feedback might include, “Are you sure butter goes in the milk, yogurt, and cheese group? Think about it. Is butter something we would want to eat often?” Posters should identify the correct food group, state an accurate nutritional value for the foods in the group, and state an appropriate way eating the foods in this group will influence well-being.

33. Combine the pictures into a class book and store the book in the independent reading area of the classroom for future reading.

34. Review the concept that health information/ideas can be communicated in different ways.

35. As a means of review of the food pyramid and of communicating health information/ideas, distribute copies of the Pyramid Power Rap (see associated file) and have students rap the song several times.

36. Distribute copies of the Health Hound Journals and Journal Checklists (see associated file). Provide a few minutes for students to look at the journals and checklists. Explain that recording ideas in a journal is another way to communicate health ideas and information.

37. Explain that the journals will be used for students to record their thoughts and personal reflections about what they are learning.

38. Students write their names on the journals. If time permits, students may color the journal cover.

39. Establish where students are to keep their journals.

40. Read and discuss the criteria on the Journal Checklist for Day 3.

41. Students self-reflect and write a journal entry for Day 3 to communicate health ideas about food they eat for good nutrition, the nutritional value of the food, and how eating the food influences individual well-being. Journal topics for each day can be found in the Unit Attachment (see extensions).

42. Suggest that students may use information in the notes they recorded earlier on the Note Taking Handout to write their paragraphs. Also, students use the Journal Checklist to self-assess their entries prior to turning them in.

43. Formatively assess journal entries using the Journal Checklist for Day 3(see associated file).

44. Provide feedback that is both guiding and positive. Guiding feedback might include, “Yes, I like to eat fruit, too. Fruit is part of a balanced diet. How does eating fruit affect your health?” Positive feedback might include, “Good job. Yes, milk has calcium. Drinking milk helps build strong bones and teeth.”


Students self-assess journal entries using the provided checklist. The teacher adds formative feedback comments to the same Journal Checklist (see associated file).

Listening skills are formatively assessed using the Language Arts Checklist/Listening (see KWL Diagnostic in extensions). Criteria include: makes eye contact, faces the speaker, does not talk while the speaker is talking, and does not disturb others.


1. The Beacon Unit Plan associated with this lesson can be viewed by clicking on the link located at the top of this page or by using the following URL: Once you select the unit’s link, scroll to the bottom of the unit plans page to find the section, Associated Files. This section contains links to the Unit Plan Overview, Diagnostic and Summative Assessments, and other associated files (if any).
2. Additional reference materials for this unit may be located using Sunlink, a database for Florida teachers. The Web address for Sunlink is:
3. Students self-assess their journal entries each day using the provided checklist. Teachers provide comments for formative feedback on the same form.
4. As a means of review, show the video [Capt. Yuck’s Adventure In The Food Pyramid]. Note: If this video is not available, a different video concerning the nutritional value of foods in each food group can be substituted. The video could also be shown at a different time of day if time is limited.

Web Links

Health lesson plan for Day 2.
Health Hounds lesson

Language arts lesson for Day 2.
Listen and Learn

Language arts lesson for Day 3.
Please Explain

Download free food cards at this site.
Nutrition Explorations

A fun site where kids can read lots of health related information.
Bam! Body and Mind

Nutrition resources with emphasis on the five food groups.
Dole 5 A Day

This site shows the USDA Food Guide Pyramid and provides dietary guidelines and lots of information about behaviors for good health.
The Food Guide Pyramid

A good site for kids to do additional reading about nutrition.
Kids Food Cyber Club

Informational source concerning positive health habits. Teacher preview, selection, and book marking of links to be visited is advisable, as some content may be too advanced or inappropriate for third graders.
Kids Health

Blank food pyramid chart
Food Pyramid Chart

This site provides a downloadable Food Guide Pyramid and many other resources for teachers.
Food and Nutrition Information Center

A resource for nutrition educators
Using the Food Guide Pyramid

A reference for kids concerning the food guide pyramid
Kids’ Food Guide Pyramid

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