The perfect lunchbox: a lesson with all four strands

A case study from Southdale Junior School, Wakefield

The objective of the Perfect Lunch Box was to use Open Futures to help pupils to understand the different food groups and, through the use of a food pyramid, what constituted a healthy diet. From there they identified the contents and cost of the healthiest and tastiest lunch box, comparing it to others to decide which provided the most cost effective healthy meal.

Lesson 1
Following on from science work on different food groups and their function in the body, pupils used an enquiry circle to discuss what they enjoyed eating and what was considered healthy and unhealthy (askit). Pupils came to their own conclusions and the teaching team responded to questions, guiding them to books, websites and other documents including the ingredients listed on food packaging. There was general, but not unanimous, agreement that too much salt, fat and sugar should be avoided and where possible fruit and salad should be eaten regularly, along with small amounts of protein.

Lesson 2
The class worked in four groups, preparing healthy alternatives to sweets and treats, such as low fat brownies, banana flapjack and carrot cake. These would be listed as one of the items for the ideal box (cookit). The children tasted the treats made, discussing and giving reasons for their preference and graphing their favourites.

Lesson 3
Working in pairs the group was tasked with listing the contents of the perfect lunch box and including something that could be grown or prepared in school or at home (growit), which linked back to previous cookit work. The children worked in groups of four to roughly cost all items using supermarket websites and calculators, from which they arrived at the amount each child should contribute.

Plans for all lunch boxes were presented to the full group. They compared the contents and costs and agreed on the five ‘best’. They also decided which of the items they would like to make or prepare in school and which ingredients would be needed.

A morning was designated to shop, prepare and eat the picnics in the school garden. With support from parent helpers, each group used calculators to work out the cost of their shopping list. Within the groups, the children had clear roles: leader, treasurer (who had responsibility for the cash), list carrier (who had to make sure nothing was forgotten), two mathematicians (who constantly monitored whether the group was within budget), and a bag packer and carrier. The excitement on the shopping morning was palpable – one parent reported that their child had been up and dressed since 6am that morning!

On return to the school, with the help of a video and lots of parents, each child prepared their own lunch box, which they then enjoyed in the surroundings of the growit garden. Each group recorded this preparation on film to be shared with other schools (filmit).