TEL Lesson Plan
Building a Balanced Pyramid

Grade Level: 3-4
Subject: Nutrition Science
Time Frame: 3 hours; or 3 class sessions


Students will identify the structure and determine the intention behind the USDA's Food pyramid by researching and creating an appropriate pyramid for a day's food intake.

Databases/Other Resources

Kids InfoBits; USDA's MyPyramid.Gov website


Students will search the InfoBits database for an image of the Food Pyramid which they will recreate on notebook paper as a reference. In subsequent lessons, students will access an interactive USDA website to search for food servings that match the Pyramid columns for a 2000 calorie a day balanced eating plan.


Steps for Teacher

Steps 1 -4 are to be completed by the Librarian or Teacher (described below)

5.     As an introduction for Day Two, have students view the USDA's MyPyramid animation :  (Windows Media Player  or Quicktime Player required.)

6.     Demonstrate how to use the MyFood-a-pedia website ( as a way to determine how much of a category that an amount of food will fulfill.  For example, if a student types "Macaroni and Cheese,"  they can choose the type of Macaroni and Cheese and an amount at the top to see a display of just how much of the "Grain" and "Milk" groups should be recorded. 

7.     Have students search independently  for possible food items and amounts on MyFood-a-pedia

8.     For possible ideas of food items, students can consult the pages called "What's in the _____ group?" on this webpage:  There are also galleries of each Food Group that can be helpful. 

9.     Distribute the work page below for students to record amounts for each item that they type into MyFood-a-pedia.  The total recommendations are included at the bottom of the work page. As the items increase, they will need to add amounts for each group that they would like to include on a daily pyramid. 

10.     Remind students of the necessity of varying the types of foods included on the pyramid chard  (see assessment rubric). 

11.     Direct students to take final foods and move them onto the original  drawing of the pyramid that was completed on Day One of the project. 



Vegetables Fruits Milk Meat and Beans

6 oz. 21/2 cups 2 cups 3 cups 51/2 oz.


Steps for Librarian

1. Direct students to use Kids Infobits to search for the term "Food Pyramid." 

2. Ask each student to evaluate database results to determine which ones will have an image of the Food Pyramid.  Explain that the icon of a camera will lead to an image file.

3. Have students record the type of food that each color on the pyramid is intended to represent on notebook paper by drawing a sketch of the pyramid. 

4. Have students look back through Kids Infobits results to determine why it is important to eat a variety of foods.  Answers to this question should also be recorded on the notebook paper in the students' own words. 

NOTE:   This page will be used again for the final portion of the project.  Please retain!

Steps for Student

1. Search for an image of the "Food Pyramid" in Kids Infobits

2. Recreate the Food Pyramid on notebook paper and write an explanation for why it is important to eat a variety of foods.

3. Look up food items for a day's eating plan in the USDA website and record the amounts on the recording sheet. 

4. Manipulate the items until they match the amounts displayed on the bottom of the work page. 

5. Transfer the final draft of the items onto the original Food Pyramid. 

Related Activities

Content Standards

Tennessee Health Education Standards 3-5

Standard 5 - The student will understand the relationship of nutrition to healthy living.


Grade Three and Grade Four Mathematics

 Standard 1 – Mathematical Processes




Learning Expectations/Grade Level Expectations

Health Education

5.1 use the “My Pyramid” as a guide for choosing a variety of foods
necessary for good health.

5.2 explain how personal health and body compostion is influenced by
balancing diet and physical exercise.



GLE 0306.1.2 Apply and adapt a variety of appropriate strategies to problem solving, including estimation, and reasonableness of the solution.


Performance Indicators State

Health Education

At Level 1, the student will be able to:

• describe the Food and Exercise pyramids;


At Level 2, the student will be able to:

• name the reasons for including various foods within the “My Pyramid”;

• demonstrate an understanding of portion sizes and recommended



0306.1.11 Develop strategies for solving problems involving addition and subtraction of measurements.



Assessment for each student can be managed by using the rubric below: 


Criteria Possible Points Points Earned Comments
Pyramid Contains accurately displayed colors                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      
Pyramid sections are accurately labeled                               
Items listed equal the requirement for the day (as listed on the work page)      
Items listed are appropriately varied      
Description of the importance of variety is reasonable      













ISTE Computer Literacy and Usage Standards

Research and Information Fluency

Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information.



a. plan strategies to guide inquiry.

b. locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media.

d. process data and report results.


6. Technology Operations and Concepts

Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems, and operations. Students:


a. understand and use technology systems.


AASL Standards for the 21st Century Learner

1. Inquire, think critically, and gain knowledge.


1.1.2. Use prior and background knowledge as context for new learning.

1.1.8. Demonstrate mastery of technology tools for accessing information and pursuing inquiry.

1.3.1. Respect copyright/ intellectual property rights of creators and producers.


2. Draw conclusions, make informed decisions, apply knowledge to new situations, and create new knowledge.


2.1.2. Organize knowledge so that it is useful.

2.3.1. Connect understanding to the real world.


3. Share knowledge and participate ethically and productively as members of our democratic society.


3.4.2. Assess the quality and effectiveness of the learning product.