Introducing the first ever guest post by Max
This was my first crack at pro-active HE for a while now and it was generally a pretty successful day; everyone stayed involved through the day, enjoyed what they did and learnt something, so I guess you could say we met all our learning objectives for the day ;).
The topic of cooking / healthy eating (now apparently known as Food Tech as explained by Fran following her time in school) was suggested by the girls last week when we discussed what we could do on my Tuesday at home while Merry was off doing good works on the business side of things. An hour or so of trawling the web for resources and inspiration beforehand led to a loose agenda which then developed through the day as the girls threw in their own ideas of how to liven things up. One thing that really struck me today was how accomplished the girls are at creating a ‘learning event’ out of a few sketchy ideas to get them started; I can’t find the words to explain this better but hopefully it will become clear from the description of our day.
We started off by the girls all explaining what they knew about food nutrition and the importance of a healthy balanced diet which threatened to go on all day and left me with the feeling that they already knew what I had been planning to teach them, this immediately changed the emphasis of the day from tutorial to workshop.
After getting these preliminaries out of the way we used the BBC KS3 Diet, Drugs & Health web pages (ported to the TV, hence telly…) to explore in more detail the different types of food nutrients, their role in the body and types of food which were rich in the nutrient types. During this discussion Fran decided to perform mimes depicting the affect on a person of a deficiency or excess of these nutrients; the performance of a deficiency of fibre will stay with me well into my old age! This discussion also prompted Josie to go off and fetch a leaflet on healthy diet that she had been squirreling away since we went to the East of England Show last year and made pasties with the LCRs.
The Eat Well Plate image in this leaflet led to a discussion about what’s a good way to explain what a healthy balance is and how food labelling is used to help determine the nutritional value of foods. We also talked about how Recommended Daily Amounts are shown on food packets and how these are a guide for a generic person and would be different depending upon a person’s age and lifestyle.
We stuck with the BBC for another page to read about the health effects of deficiencies of certain nutrients and this led to Maddy going off to fetch her Galore Park History book and read us out a passage about how Vasco da Gama’s crew succumbed to scurvy before they were rescued by a ship carrying oranges and they miraculously recovered, revealing vitamin C deficiency as the cause.
The BBC KS3 section then goes onto digestion and drugs which were out of our scope today so we emptied the contents of the food cupboards onto the coffee table (it’s the end of the shopping week) and set about reading the food nutrition labels. We took the values for carbohydrates, protein, fats and fibre and plotted them as pie charts in Excel to give a visual interpretation of what foods could go together to make up a healthy meal.
Buoyed by our mastery food nutrition we set about the question of how healthy is our diet? To do this the girls drew up a list of everything they would eat on a typical day and we used a weight loss website to find the nutritional values of all the foods. We then totalled up the day’s intake and created a pie chart in Excel to see our nutritional balance and also plotted the recommended daily values alongside for comparison. The results were surprisingly pleasing and led to the conclusion that our diet was pretty well balanced but could probably do with a bit more fibre.
I think this last exercise was really good but by having to keep going to the weight loss web site and search for foods it rather interrupted the flow of things and led to me taking over a bit to keep things moving and to the younger ones losing interest. If I were to do this again I would prepare a reference sheet with the food types that we would be looking up to make it run more smoothly.
Having spent a productive morning learning about the importance of a healthy diet it was time for lunch, which was regrettably an English cooked breakfast (like I said it was the end of the shopping week and it needed using).
After lunch the girls each created a poster about healthy eating using Powerpoint. In truth this was more an exercise in finding images on the Internet and pasting them into a poster and an opportunity for me to create more pie charts but I guess it’s all educational.
Josie built on her theme of the Eat Well Plate by finding images of foods that she liked and I helped her paste them around the plate in the right sort of places.
Amelie used her poster to plan a healthy meal and I helped out with added pie charts!
Maddy continued on the theme of how healthy is my diet? (I’m not sure of the significance of the angry mob in the bottom right corner but it seemed to work).
Fran planned out and then cooked a healthy meal of Cottage Pie (which I have to say with no bias was the best Cottage Pie I have ever tasted).
So all in all a really good day and we all agreed we’ll do it again.