A STEAM PLAN ON HEALTHY DIET

“Trace Minerals as Pillars of a Healthy Diet”  is a three-session  (in-class or online) Scientix  LS which enables one to work on 4 different disciplines: Chemistry, Biology, Maths and English as a foreign language. There is one complimentary activity between the 2nd and the 3rd, which is designed as a non-class one.

  • What is it about?

The main real life question it raises is how to do conscious shopping with the aim of having a healthy, balanced diet. With the increasing rates of obesity, this is one of the most critical issues of today’s world.

  • What educational trends does it follow?

As one will see when the activity steps are unfolded, the LS proves to be a sound example of some of the important educational trends and all the 4C’s: peer-learning, collaborative learning, BYOD and edutainment,  critical thinking, communication, collaboration, creativity.

It is planned that by the end of the lesson, the students will

•   learn  the symbols of 10 elements/trace minerals along with their atomic numbers,

•   know

-in which foods they will find and consume these trace minerals,

-what health benefits these serve to human health,

-how to calculate how much of them on a daily basis is enough for these benefits,

•  be able to find the chance of practicing their English through a topic that is trendy: Having a healthy diet.

  • The 1st Session

The first session consists of exercises through which some basic knowledge on trace minerals and elements are gained:

First of all, we aim to help pupils to acquire knowledge on trace minerals: They  are required to match  the minerals given (chromium, copper, fluoride, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, zinc)  with their symbols and atomic numbers, which they can find in the Periodic Table easily.

Mineral/elementsymbolAtomic number
ChromiumCr24
copperCu29
ironFe26
FluorideF9
iodineI53
ManganeseMn25
molybdenumMo42
seleniumSe34
zincZn30
Table showing the symbols and atomic numbers of 9 trace minerals.

Afterwards, the pupils are divided into groups of 5 (if the session is held online, one can use break-out rooms for this.)  They are going to do some research on what a trace mineral is and how it is different from an element. The second question they need to come up with an answer is why these minerals are important for our health. Then, they are going to need to tell what health benefits they have for our bodies. After they are ready to communicate their findings, the break-out rooms are closed if the session is online. Afterwards, the spokesman of each group tell the class about their findings.

Sessions
  • The 2nd Session

The second session focuses on  the relationship between a healthy diet and minerals  that are contained in foods.

So, the teachers asked the pupils two real-life questions:

1-What foods should one consume in order to have a healthy diet? And how much of them on a daily basis?

2-What should a conscious grocery shopping list contain?

Then, the pupils again work in groups and each group does some internet research on the trace mineral they are assigned to. In their research, they are expected to gather information telling

-which foods contain these minerals

and

-how much one should consume each food on a daily basis in order to meet their daily vitamin/mineral intake.

Session

After they have finished with their research, they are expected to share their findings with the rest of the class – preferably by using an online file storage like Google Drive. Also, they can use the chat section of the online meeting tool as a quick alternative. Or, they can use their creativity and come up with a totally different option!

  • The Non-class Complimentary Activity

As mentioned before, there is one non-class activity, which is optional, though I regard it as a very important step of the LS because with this step, the LS functions highly as a PBL scenario. At this point, the pupils go shopping in groups and buy the things one needs to have a balanced diet in terms of daily intake of trace elements.

  • The 3rd Session & the Showcases

When the third session starts, there comes the time for showcases! These showcases will function both as an output and as an assessment tool. Here, the groups are going to bring their shopping bag into the class and make a presentation while showing their peers what and in what amount they have bought to maintain a healthy diet on a daily basis. 

  • Covid-19 Restrictions

If due to the  Covid-19 restrictions, having the pupils go shopping and bringing their shopping bags back into the class poses a threat, then these two parts could be carried out theoretically. At this point, the pupils may do some Internet search through online shopping websites and show us their carts and/or make a presentation.

  • What does this LS provide you with?

All in all, it can well be said that this STEAM plan focusing on the knowledge of the periodic table and trace minerals contained in foods serves to a day-to-day aim of having a healthy diet, which is the theme of the lesson enabling the teacher to ask the questions pointing at the problems in real life.

All visuals belong to the Author – Attribution CC-BY

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