Portion Distortion Lab

December 2, 2011 No Comments

In today’s lesson students are exploring expanding portion sizes.

Students will be given a paper plate and will draw their favorite meal “life size.”  They will share their favorite food with their classmates.

Students will then visit labs around the classroom to measure portions.  Each station has an index card with a prompt and the correct portion size on the back.

Students record their portions on this chart with reflection (download here as .docx file)

  1. You are offered a cup to pour soda.  How much would you like? Students pour colored water into a red solo cup.  They transfer the liquid to a measuring cup and determine how much they actually poured.  On the back of the index card, they find out that one serving of soda is 12 ounces.  They determine how much extra (or less) they poured and record the number on their chart.
  2. How much peanut butter would you like for your sandwich? Students scoop vegetable shortening with butter knives and measure with the water-displacement method. One serving of peanut butter is two tablespoons, or 1 ping pong ball.
  3. How much cereal would you like in your bowl? Students pour cereal into a bowl and measure afterwards. One serving of cereal is one cup, a fist, or a tennis ball.
  4. How much pasta would you like? Students measure macaroni pasta. One serving of pasta is one cup.
  5. How much milk would you like? Students measure colored water into a tall glass. One serving of milk is one cup.
  6. Cheese cubes are being served at a party.  How many do you put on your plate? Students record their answer.  One serving of cheese is three dice-size pieces.

After students have completed their lab they will return to their seats and answer the reflection questions at the bottom of the chart.

I will show a Today Show Eat this: Not That clip about large restaurant portions.

I will then use visuals (dice, ping pong balls, deck of cards, and tennis ball) to give the students cues to determine portion size.


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I’m Kayla Pins – Health and Family and Consumer Sciences teacher to high school students in rural Iowa. Welcome to my online home where I share lesson plans, activities, and inspiration with fellow teachers.


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