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Survival -- December 2005

A “heads-up” for teachers who like to plan ahead


Teacher’s Guide

Teaching Suggestions for
Weighing In

      Article, Page

"The Supersizing of America," pg. 6
Young people aren’t exempt from the epidemic of obesity sweeping America. Being overweight poses serious health risks now and later in life, but making good nutritional choices helps kids maintain a healthy weight without giving up favorite foods. Sidebars explain how to compute a Body Mass Index (pg. 8), measure and monitor calories (pg. 9), and compare calories in foods (pg. 10).
Cause and Effect, Critical Thinking

"Soda ‘Pop’ Quiz" (Activity to Discover), pg. 11
What do you know about the soda you drink?
Critical Thinking

"Math . . . by Mouth," pg. 12
Many subtle processes of body chemistry affect how hungry we feel, how much we eat, and how our bodies process food.
Vocabulary, Cause and Effect

"Insect Scales" (Brain Strain), pg. 15
Test your mathematical brainpower by balancing the weights of insects. Don’t let the challenge bug you!
Inductive Reasoning, Following Directions

"Rebuilding the Food Pyramid," pg. 16
The Harvard School of Public Health has developed an up-to-date Healthy Eating Pyramid that reflects the latest in nutrition research. Sidebars explain the different forms of cholesterol (pg. 18) and distinguish the forms of carbohydrates (pg. 19). Enter the healthy eating cooking contest (pg. 21).
Inductive Reasoning, Critical Thinking

"Be a Nutrition Detective" (Activity to Discover), pg. 20
The best way to make good food choices is to study ingredients lists and nutrition labels. Here’s what a smart nutrition detective looks for.
Critical Thinking, Following Directions

"Go on an Action Odyssey" (Activity to Discover), pg. 22
ODYSSEY challenges readers to increase their physical activity, record their progress, and send in their stories.
Vocabulary, Cause and Effect

"A Ray of Sunshine," pg. 24
Katie tells a story of self-esteem, friendship, and acceptance. Included are Indian recipes for yogurt dishes made with vegetables and fruit (pg. 26).
Point of View, Theme

"What’s for Lunch?" pg. 27
Are school cafeterias as bad as students say they are? Not if they follow government guidelines. The full lunch is the best deal, but be careful of the é la carte menu. Sidebars offer ideas for improving cafeteria food (pg. 28) and describe how to survive as a brown-bagger (pg. 29).
Decision Making, Deductive Reasoning

"Food Psychology 101: Cafeteria Categories," pg. 30
Are you a Momster, a Rebel, a Moocher, or a Veganite? They are characters in the tragedy/comedy of lunchtime at school.
Inductive Reasoning, Categorizing

"Animal Fat," pg. 32
Elephants can be fat! So can dogs, cats, and nearly every zoo animal. Obese animals, like obese people, face serious health risks. Exercise is an important preventive measure.
Cause and Effect, Deductive Reasoning

"The Dangers of Diabetes," pg. 34
Learn the causes, symptoms, and effects of Type II diabetes to supersize your chances of staying healthy. A sidebar (pg. 37) describes a Type I diabetic emergency and explains how to save a life.
Cause and Effect, Vocabulary

"DNP: One Deadly Diet Drug," pg. 38
There is no quick fix for losing weight. Diet drugs such as DNP can kill. A sidebar (pg. 39) describes how mitochondria release energy at the cellular level.
Cause and Effect, Critical Thinking

"Summer Stars and Meteor Showers," pg. 40, and "You Can Do Astronomy: Campfire Sing-Along," pg. 42
Check out the setting winter constellations, the rising summer constellations, and the spring constellations overhead. Add Mars, Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn to your evening viewing and write new words for a familiar tune.
Observation, Following Directions

"Weighing Self-Worth" (Fantastic Journeys), pg. 45
Rachel Swirsky describes her battle with an eating disorder.
Case Study, Personal Narrative

Think Tank (Discussion Starters to Use Before Reading the Magazine):
  1. Is our society obsessed with body weight? Is weight more of an issue today than in the past? Are we concerned about weight for the wrong reasons?
  2. Make a list of all the healthy-eating rules you can think of and check them as you read this issue of ODYSSEY. Add or remove items from your list as you go.
Classroom "Syzygy":     Talk, Connect, Assess
Pg. 6 – "The Supersizing of America"
  • Talk It Over:
    1. Discuss the eight tips on page 10. What does Daniel Kosich mean by each piece of advice? How might these tips help you live better?
    2. In the article, the author quotes an expert who says that there are no unhealthy foods. What does that statement mean? Do you agree? Why or why not?
  • Connections:
    1. Mathematics: According to the National Health and Nutrition Survey, 21 to 23 percent of children ages 6 to 17 are overweight. Overweight adolescents have an 80 percent chance of becoming overweight adults. If our population currently includes 20 million people ages 6 to 17, what is the range of overweight adults we can predict for that generation in the future? (Answer: 3,360,000 to 3,680,000)
    2. Visual Design: On a poster titled "Health Problems and Overweight," draw a diagram of the human form, facing front. Then review the health problems associated with overweight (pg. 9, "Changing Bodies and Minds"). On the poster, draw lines to body parts and add labels to identify health problems. You may want to conduct further research and add additional lines and labels to your poster.
    3. History/ Social Sciences: How have we as a society dealt with problems of obesity in the past? What fads or ineffective treatments can you find in your research? Make a time line of weight trends, fads, and bogus treatments.
  • Student Assessment:
    1. Write a two-paragraph essay describing how to avoid weight problems as you go through adolescence. In the first paragraph, summarize the latest scientific research. In the second, offer "common sense" tips for weight control.
    2. Find a newspaper, magazine, or television advertisement that you think tempts people to eat too much and gain weight. Describe the ad and identify specifically the part that undermines healthy eating habits. Offer advice on constructive ways for kids to respond to such advertising.
Pg. 16 – "Rebuilding the Food Pyramid"
  • Talk It Over:
    1. What is the purpose of a food pyramid? Is following a food pyramid always good, or can you think of exceptions? What "good eating habits" advice have you heard that supports or contradicts the Harvard pyramid?
    2. What does the food pyramid mean to a vegetarian? Can you eat healthy and also avoid animal foods?
  • Connections:
    1. Visual Arts: Select carbohydrates, fats, or proteins as your topic. On a poster, represent how different forms of that nutrient category are used by the body. For example, how are simple and complex carbohydrates processed differently? Label your poster clearly so that students who have not read the article can understand your topic.
    2. Language Arts: Have you seen the movies Fantastic Voyage and Innerspace? In both, people shrink so small that they can travel in a submarine-like ship through the human bloodstream. Pretend you are a tiny explorer, traveling through the body of a person who has high cholesterol. Write a journal entry about what you see and what you do to help the person.
    3. History: Research the USDA Food Guide Pyramid. What was its goal, and how did the USDA decide on their food categories? Why did they use the pyramid shape? What other food pyramids have been developed over the years? Present the results of your research in a written or oral report.
  • Student Assessment:
    1. In a brief essay of two well-constructed paragraphs, explain how and why the traditional food pyramid has proved to be too simple and too general. Make sure each paragraph has a clear topic sentence and include a transition between the two paragraphs.
    2. Using advice from this article, create a menu for a "healthy eating" lunch restaurant. Include three main lunch courses, three choices of beverage, and three healthy desserts.
Far Out!: Moving Beyond the Magazine (with advice from Benjamin Franklin)

"Eat to live, and not live to eat." (Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1733)
Whole-Class Project: Build a product-label bulletin board. Cut or soak the food labels off a variety of food products and mount them on a bulletin board. Connect the labels to index cards that describe and explain (in as much detail as possible) what the labels mean. Display your bulletin board for the whole school.

"A full belly makes a dull brain." (Poor Richard Improved, 1758)
Community Connection: Invite the director of food services for your school to speak to the class about the school lunch program. How are menus planned? What limitations must the food service director deal with? What nutritional concerns are part of the decision-making process? Discuss possible changes to menus and other nutritional issues.

"To lengthen thy life, lessen thy meals." (Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1734)
Small-Group Collaborative Assignment: Break the class into seven groups. Give each group a day of the week and ask the team to use the information from the magazine to prepare a complete menu for that day (breakfast, lunch, dinner, and appropriate snacks and beverages). The menu should be healthy, interesting, and practical. Have one person from each group check with other groups to avoid duplications. Print and post your one-week menus.

"Fools need advice most, but wise men only are the better for it." (Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1758)
Large-Group Project: Search in the library and on the Internet to find the rates of obesity among young people of different countries. Then break the class into three groups. Ask each group to select one or two countries and research the culture and nutritional habits of that country. Based on their findings, the groups should draw some tentative conclusions about the factors that may affect obesity rates and present their ideas to the class for discussion.

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Last modified: May 5, 2004