Date of this Version
Gurwell, Morgan. Educating Elementary Students About Nutrition: An After-school Club Curriculum. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 2022.
This creative project was created to serve as a 10-week afterschool club curriculum for 3rd-5th graders to teach them about nutrition and healthy eating patterns. The goal of the program is to help kids establish a foundation for healthy eating that they can utilize throughout their lives, potentially reducing their risk of developing chronic diseases as an adult. Information presented during the program is a representation of the key components of the USDA MyPlate and the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The curriculum aims to teach these concepts by breaking down the different food groups, reading nutrition facts labels, and evaluating sugar-sweetened beverages. The rationale portion of this project explains the models, theories, statistics, and research-based evidence that were used when crafting each lesson plan. Using the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child approach, the curriculum looks at how the health and academic performance of a student are intertwined and how nutrition education can help develop the whole child. Some plans were also developed around the exposure effect, meaning that students are exposed to new foods or to different nutrition facts labels that they might not have the opportunity to see or experience at home. Other plans incorporated the gamified repetition theory where students were repeatedly exposed to concepts by playing games to help them commit their new knowledge to memory. While there is no formal assessment, the activities themselves or the informal assessments listed at the end serve as tools to gauge the students' mastery of the topics.