In this set of activities adaptable for grades K-3, parents and educators will find ideas for teaching about sugar.These activities are designed to complement the BrainPOP Jr. Sugar topic page, which includes a movie, quizzes, online games, printable activities, and more.
Classroom Activities for Teaching About Sugar
Have students bring in healthy snacks for the class to eat. You can bring in several examples of unhealthy snacks, especially foods with hidden sources of sugar or that are generally considered healthy, such as cereals, pretzels, yogurt-covered raisins, etc. Compare the amount of sugar and number of calories between different snacks. You can make a math connection by subtracting the numbers together, or using a number line or hundred chart to calculate the difference. Which food had a surprising number of calories? Which had the most sugar? Which had the least? Compare and contrast!
How Much is Too Much?
The American Heart Association recommends a maximum of 3 teaspoons (12 grams) of sugar per day for kids. This is probably a lot less than what your students eat on a daily basis. As a demonstration, bring in sugar and a bottle of soda. Measure out the number of teaspoons of sugar contained in the soda and count them together. Seeing the amount will help students realize how much sugar they are consuming. You may also want small groups to do this demonstration with other sugary foods. Instead of measuring sugar, they can use sand. You may wish to do this activity outside.
Family and Homeschool Activities for Teaching About Sugar
Help your child understand that larger portions have more calories or sugar. When they read food labels, they should look at the serving size. What is the serving size for cookies? Juice? Measure out the proper serving size for cereal, juice, or other food or beverage. You and your child might be surprised at what a typical serving size really is!
Have your child track everything he or she eats for a whole day, from beverages and snacks to meals and dessert. You can join in the activity, too. If possible, have him or her pay attention to the serving size as well. If your child uses two servings of salad dressing, then he or she should record that as well. Then tally up the number of the day’s calories together. This might be a good opportunity to use a calculator or practice adding large numbers and regrouping. What is the recommended daily calorie intake for your child? You can look it up online and then compare.
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