When I first started teaching I found this great resource from the Food and Drug Administration (Make Your Calories Count – Use the Nutrition Facts Label for Healthy Weight Management) that guides students through reading a nutrition label. At the time it was a little too basic for my high school students. Now that I teach middle school I have added it to my nutrition curriculum.
My students liked the animation and sound effects but the presentation works just fine muted too.
I have learned pretty quickly that middle schoolers need tools to stay focused so I made notes to help students through the presentation. I also made a practice section to their notes so they can apply what they learn on their favorite snack foods.
A few days before this activity I assign each student to bring in a label from a favorite snack food. Here is a link to my student notes. You may want to adjust the formatting to suit your needs. I print the document two sheets to a page and two sided so the students are left with a two sided half-sheet document. I’m a pro paper saver.
After every step of the presentation I have students practice using the information using their nutrition label.
We do this presentation with notes as a class. It initiates great conversation. In a pinch it could be used as a web quest but I think it is best to have a teacher close by to remind students of the overall picture of health. I always caution middle schoolers against counting calories and encourage overall good habits instead.