Calcium Connection

My favorite lessons this year have been those that include an opportunity for children to reflect on and represent the role of food or fitness in their own lives, as in Meredith’s post below. In one kindergarten lesson, titled “Where Can We Be Physically Active?” I asked students to draw themselves engaged in a favorite physical activity. In the five to ten minutes they were given, the students produced amazing self-portraits showing a wide variety of favorite activities. I saw my students doing everything, from jumping rope to flying kites, from swimming with their dogs to doing wheelies on their bikes. I loved seeing the children’s ideas of themselves, doing something fun, imagining their place in the world.

The kindergarten lesson I taught this past week was called “It’s Milking Time!,” and highlighted the milk group and other calcium rich foods. We discussed how calcium makes our teeth and bones strong, and thought about what our bodies would look like without any bones (“Flat and floppy”; “We’d be a puddle!”). We used the metaphor of a piggy bank to think about how kids need to save up for the future, putting calcium in their bodies now while their bones are able to absorb more. They had a worksheet they were asked to complete, on one side circling foods from the milk group, and on the other, drawing “your favorite strong bones food.” This prompt didn’t promote the same level of creativity as the physical activity drawing prompt, but I did love this particular drawing, done by Kevin, where I think he really showed his understanding of the connection between milk group foods and bones. If you can’t tell, there is a container of yogurt inside the ribcage of the skeleton:

For this lesson, which happened to fall during National Breakfast Week, we prepared fruit and yogurt parfaits. It is an easy, healthy snack or breakfast that kindergartners can make themselves. They loved layering the different foods in their dishes and I’m pretty sure every child finished their portion. Here is the recipe:

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