Ways to use the food materials in many fields of teaching
The menu challenge activity has been designed to use cross-curricular skills to get kids thinking about health, english, maths, science, geography, and economics. The menu activity provides practical, real-world applications of these subjects. This project can be used in a number of ways. You can use it as a history activity, to go along with your study of a particular period in history, such as Pilgrims or Maya; as a geography activity, to go with your study of a country or region (for example rainforest); as a maths activity, to get students using their addition, subtraction, and percentage skills in a practical way; as a lesson on specific holidays and special occasions; as part of health and wellbeing – to get students thinking about the nutritional value of different foods and what makes a healthy meal; or as all of these. This lesson can also be part of your English teaching, as students will need to write out their menu, and write descriptions of each dish. Students can also incorporate art and design into their menu designs. This is a great opportunity to get students to think about the way that subjects such as maths, english and history are involved in health and nutrition.
In addition, students will find loads of information on our site about different food categories and foods from around the world. In addition to books and materials on the diets of peoples in different places and times, our site also contains tons of information on healthy eating, nutrition, the food pyramid, individual foods, and more. Students can visit our Food portal, or use their search skills to find more information safely.
For younger children, the activity can be scaled down to create a menu for just one meal – breakfast, lunch, or dinner – or even a snack. Look at the funny sandwiches book for ideas. It can also be expanded in various ways. You may like to have students write down what they eat for each meal for a day (or week) and compare that to the menu they have created. They can also compare real-life menus from local restaurants to their own menus. Menus can be evaluated for their nutrition, cost, and appeal to customers, as well as calorie content.
You can also turn this into a complete unit, by having students work in groups over a period of weeks to develop their menus. You may even like to have the students create a restaurant in the classroom, with each group of students contributing different menus, complete with prices. Students can then discuss which menus are healthiest, which are the best value, which are their favourites, etc.
For parents helping to support this material at home, you will find this a great opportunity to incorporate cooking skills into your academic lessons. Students can design a menu based around a subject you are studying, research recipes, and then cook a meal for their family.