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Chapter 1
Our Food

Background information for Chapter 1

When children come to school they already know a lot about food and eating. One of the school’s jobs is to check on children’s basic knowledge of the food they eat - what kind of food it is, where it comes from, what forms it takes and how to recognize it. At the same time, children need to become aware of their own eating habits, their own preferences and the values they give to food, and to learn how to talk about them.


This chapter is mainly about organizing and expressing knowledge which children already have. It lays the basis for talking about foods, food sources and food values. Children have to be able to name familiar foods, recognize them in pictures, say where they come from and what kind of food they are. They also need to recognize their own preferences as a basis for food choices.

Lesson 1 deals with identifying and describing familiar foods.
Lesson 2 identifies foods produced at home and their origin (plant or animal).
Lesson 3 deals with classifying foods into common groups (e.g. cereals, fruits).
Lesson 4 looks at personal food preferences and the reasons for choices.


Background information for teachers

This lesson aims to familiarize children with the names of familiar foods (in speech and writing); to establish the connection between pictures and foods so that pictures can be used again; and to start children describing foods. Sometimes there are several names for the same food, or for different forms of the food - these need to be sorted out. If children cannot identify some common foods, this is also the time to find out.


Pupils should be able to:

Time: 30 minutes

Teaching and learning aids


Tell the children the foods you ate yesterday. Show one or two other real foods and ask what they are called. Repeat all these foods and write them up.

Activity 1

Ask pupils to name other foods they eat every day. As they call them out, write them up all over the board, or ask volunteers to do so (using two or three volunteers speeds up the process). Tell the class to make sure the same food doesn’t appear twice (this will keep them alert).

Individual pupils choose a food from the board and read it out. As they do this, circle each name until they are all done (or get children to do this).

If there are several names for the same food (e.g. maize, mealie meal), ask children to find "two names for the same thing".

Guessing game Riddle. Describe one of the foods briefly for children to guess - e.g. "It’s long and green/yellow and curved" (a banana). Ask volunteers to do the same with other foods; pupils call out their guesses.

If you think children cannot recognize some common foods or distinguish between them, show samples and explain the difference, or ask volunteers to do this.

Activity 2

Pupils look at the pictures and try to identify them. (N.B. It is not always easy to recognize pictures of foods, even if you know the foods well. If you think there will be problems, bring in real foods. Don’t try to do all the pictures - there are a lot.)

Ask the questions under the pictures very briefly - this will give you some ideas of children’s preferences and beliefs in preparation for Lesson 3.


Pupils work in pairs. One names a food from the reading and the other finds the picture. Then they swap roles. This familiarizes them with both words and pictures.

If children have trouble with reading English, try one of these approaches:

a) call out the name and let children find the word
b) call out the name and let children find the picture
c) put children in pairs, one to find the name and the other the matching picture.

Ask yourself.

Demonstrate asking yourself these questions and answering them: What did I eat yesterday? - Well, I ate... and.... Did I eat the same today? I ate... again, but I also ate.... and... Nice to have something different every day.....

Ask pupils to do the same - that is,

a) read the questions and answer them mentally
b) copy the MY FOOD table into their books and complete it.

They should NOT write anything until they know what they are going to write. Walk round and look at what they’re doing but don’t interfere with the content.


Ask for a volunteer to write the Remember message in big letters on a piece of paper/cardboard, display it and read it out. Other pupils should call out examples. On the opposite side write the title of the lesson. Let them tell their families the Remember message and see how many foods families can think of.


There is a choice of homework. Pupils can do one, or two, or all three, or choose which one they want to do. Tell them to think of animals as well as plants. Let their family help them to do this. Tell them you will ask for this work at the next lesson.


Background information for teachers

There are many ways of categorizing food.

The idea of "protein foods" and "carbohydrate foods" is now thought to be misleading, since most foods from plants and animals contain a mixture of nutrients, with different amounts of each. This is why it is so important to eat a variety of foods every day.

For example, staples such as cassava and sweet potato are good sources of carbohydrates, but do not supply much protein. Cereals, such as maize, sorghum, rice and millet contain carbohydrates and some proteins; groundnuts, beans and cowpeas are rich in protein and iron; groundnuts, soybeans and oilseeds (e.g. sunflower seeds) are also good sources of fat, while vegetables and fruits contain a lot of vitamins and some minerals. Meat, fish and eggs are excellent sources of protein and they contain some vitamins and minerals.

It is not necessary for children at this age to learn about all the different nutrients, and which foods are rich in them, but they should begin to recognise food groups such as vegetables and meat, have the idea of animal and plant foods, and know where food for the household comes from. They will already have a lot of this knowledge. Lesson 2 concentrates on plant and animal food and Lesson 3 on kinds of food.


Pupils should be able to

Time: 30 minutes

Teaching and learning aids


Revise the last lesson. Here are two ways:

a) Remind pupils of the Riddle guessing game from the last lesson and give an example: ask them to try it out in pairs, doing one description each.

b) Play the game Greedy. The first person says Yesterday I ate...... (name of food, e.g. a banana). The second person says Yesterday I ate a banana and some groundnuts. The third person says Yesterday I ate a banana, some groundnuts and a fish.... Each person repeats the whole sentence with all the foods in the right order, and then adds a new one. Finish by asking them to recall the Remember message - There are a lot of different foods to eat!

Feedback on homework

Ask what families produce at home. (Make sure this doesn’t become a status competition between rich and poor.) If children have drawn pictures, ask them to show them and explain them.

Activity 3

a) (Closed books) Draw on the board a picture of a typical house of the area, and ask what you should draw around it to show all the plants and animals produced at home. Better still, do it as a poster and stick the children’s drawings on it. If possible, make it funny.

b) Open books and look at the picture. What is different from their houses? What is the same? N.B. The picture deliberately includes plants and animals which do NOT give food.

c) Ask the questions under the picture: Which animals around the house give food? (e.g. chickens-eggs). Which plants give food? (e.g. cassava-nshima).

d) (Game) Giving Food. Say "I am a cassava plant. I give nshima and cassava leaves. (Pointing to a pupil) What are you? What do you give?" Individual pupils continue the chain, choosing a plant or animal, saying what they give and then asking another child.

e) Produce (or mention) some other familiar foods which most families normally buy in the shop or market. Ask Does it come from an animal? Does it come from a plant? Ask pupils to think of other foods not yet mentioned and say where they come from.


Call out the names of the foods in the Reading in any order and ask children to find them in the Reading text (include a few food names which are NOT in the Reading). Ask which ones are from plants? Which are from animals? Children read the text to each other in pairs.

Ask yourself

Explain that we should eat both plant foods and animal foods every day.

Demonstrate asking yourself the questions and answering them (e.g. Did I eat plant food yesterday? - Yes, I ate.... Did I eat animal food yesterday? Yes, I had.... at lunch). Say "Now you ask yourselves the same questions. Did you eat plant food yesterday? Think! (Pause). Did you eat animal food yesterday? Think! (Pause). Good. Now copy the table in your book and put in some of the foods you ate. If you finish you can tell your neighbour about it."

While they write, go round and look at the answers. Don’t try to change the content but comment on anything interesting and make children feel rewarded.


Ask for a volunteer to write the Remember message in big letters on a piece of paper/cardboard, display it and read it out. Other pupils should call out examples. On the opposite side write the title of the lesson. Children take the message home, read it to their families, and ask for more examples.


The homework emphasizes the classification[1] not the behaviour message. The third question is for children who want to be clever, but is also important for revealing to the teacher if there are any misconceptions.

Ask children to draw a picture of a food (any food) for the next lesson.


Background information for teachers

The main food groups are:

  • Cereals or grains (e.g. maize, millet, wheat, rice)
  • Roots and tubers (e.g. cassava, sweet potatoes)
  • Meat, chicken and fish (also eggs, caterpillars, flying ants, grasshoppers)
  • Legumes/pulses (e.g. peas, beans, groundnuts)
  • Vegetables (e.g. tomato, cabbage, pumpkin leaves, bean leaves, spinach)
  • Fruits (e.g. mango, lemon, paw-paw)
  • Oils/fats (e.g. red palm oil, margarine, oil seeds such as sunflower seeds)
  • Sugars (e.g. in sugarcane and honey)
  • Milk and dairy products (e.g. cheese, butter)
  • Condiments (e.g. salt, pepper)[2]

Some categories (e.g. cereals, roots) may be new to children. The message is that ALL these kinds of food are important.

Objectives Pupils should be able to

Time 30 minutes

Teaching and learning aids


Revise the last lesson. Go back to the pictures in Lesson 1 and ask children to say which foods are from plants and which are from animals OR

Hold up or recall the Remember message from the last lesson. Ask - Did you eat a plant food yesterday? What? Did you eat an animal food? What? How many different foods did you eat? Count them on your fingers and hold up the fingers! Who ate the most different foods? Is that good?

Feedback from homework

Feed back from homework briefly by getting children to name the plant and animal foods at home. Listen carefully to the answers to the third question (Which foods are NOT from plants or animals?). Right answers might be salt and water (both minerals) but in fact wrong answers are more useful (e.g. tea, chocolate, powdered milk) so the class can discuss where these foods do come from.


a) Present the foods you have brought and ask what kind of food they are. Give an example - e.g. This is a mango. It’s a fruit. This is a piece of cassava. What kind of food is it? As children identify the types of food, stick up the labels in different parts of the classroom (or give them to children to hold up) and put the foods next to the labels, or in the labelled boxes. Help children to recognize roots (e.g. carrots, cassava) and cereals which have grains (e.g. rice, millet).

b) When all the labels are in place, ask children to show their own pictures of foods which they did for homework. For each one, the class discusses what kind of food it is and the child goes to stand next to the appropriate label.

Activity 4

Children look at the picture from the previous lesson (Lesson 2) and answer the questions in the book for this lesson (What fruits can you see? etc.).

Activity 5 (this extends Activity 4)

Children look at the pictures and identify them. Read out the questions and discuss the answers.

N.B. There are a few points to keep the clever children awake - e.g.


Ask: Which kinds of food are the best? Which kinds do you really need to eat? Allow pupils to speculate freely, then ask them to read the Reading in pairs and tell you the answer. Emphasize that ALL these kinds of food are very important.

Ask yourself

Demonstrate asking and answering this question, emphasizing the kinds of food. E.g. Well, I had maize porridge for breakfast - that’s a cereal-and some roast cassava for a snack - that’s a root. And some guavas - that’s a fruit. What about you? This is quite a difficult activity and it’s not necessary to make it confidential, so have children call out the kinds of foods they’ve eaten before they copy the box in their books and try to complete it. One or two foods in the right groups are all you are hoping for.


Ask for a volunteer to write the Remember message in big letters on a piece of paper/cardboard, display it and read it out. Other pupils should call out examples. On the opposite side write the title of the lesson.


The children have to find examples of the different kinds of food at home.

Ask children (if possible) to bring a small sample of their favourite food to the next lesson.


Background information for teachers

Food preferences are important because they determine people’s choices. Many preferences are determined by taste. Individual tastes differ and it is important for children to recognize this, so that they build up a tolerant attitude to others’ diets and eating habits and recognize the possibility of expanding their own choices.

Food preferences also depend very much on habit. This is why it is so important for children to get the experience of a good varied diet early in their lives.

Another reason for preferring a food is because it is "good for you". This lesson tries to make children aware of what foods they like, what others like, and some of the reasons for their preferences. It also prepares for Chapter 2 by looking briefly at what food children think is "good".


Pupils should be able to:

Time: 30 minutes

Teaching and learning aids


Revise the last three lessons with the game Riddle. Give an example, mentioning physical appearance and origin and type - e.g. I’m thinking of a food which is dark green. It comes from a plant. It’s a vegetable. Children in pairs think of a similar riddle for another food, which the class has to guess.

OR go back to Lesson 1, Activity 2 and ask children to identify the kinds of food in the picture.

Feedback from homework

Briefly ask children to say what cereals they found at home - what fats and oils? - what roots? - what vegetables? - what fruits? - what meat & fish? etc.


Look at the picture in the book. Ask pupils if these are their favourite foods. Check if anyone has brought a sample.

Tell the pupils your own three favourite foods are on the desk in front of you (in your imagination).

Briefly describe each one by appearance and origin (as in Riddle) and ask pupils to guess what it is.

Mime tasting and enjoying each one and say why you like it (e.g. It’s sweet, it fills me up, it’s crunchy, it tastes rich, I know it’s good food).

Activity 6

Ask pupils to do the same. They should imagine ONE of their favourite foods on the desk in front of them. If they have brought a real food sample they don’t have to imagine it. In pairs they describe the food to their partners, "taste" it, "eat" it and "enjoy" it and say why they like it.

Ask pupils to call out their favourite foods and together decide which are the Top Ten. Write them up. Ask for the reasons and write up a few of the main reasons given.

Ask which of the Top Ten they think are "good" foods and why. N.B. This is not the main objective of the lesson. Use it to explore children’s concept of "good food" (which will be expanded in Chapters 2 and 3).

Ask if everyone likes the same food. The answer should be obvious. Ask for examples - e.g. Chalo likes pumpkin, but no-one else likes it. We all like chikanda.


a) Tell pupils you are going to read the text aloud and you want them to give real examples from their discussion. This will make the link between reading and reality.

b) Read the first sentence People like different food for different reasons and give an example from the previous activity - e.g. X pupil likes Y food because of Z. Ask for more examples.

c) Read the second sentence Different people like different foods. Give an example from the activity - e.g. X likes Y best, but A and B like Z.

d) Pupils read the Reading in pairs.

e) (If there is time) Ask pupils to copy the reading text into their exercise books and add their own examples.

Ask yourself

Demonstrate asking yourself the question What foods do I like most? and answering it. This should be quick, as you have already shown your favourite foods. Ask pupils to do the same, then ask them to copy the table and complete it with their own favourite foods. Those who finish first can also write a reason.


Ask for a volunteer to write the Remember message on a piece of paper, display it in the classroom and read it out. On the opposite side write the title of the lesson. Encourage individuals to illustrate it by standing up and saying I like........ best! I like........... best! Children take the message home.


Look at the homework instructions with the pupils. As an example, tell them the names of two members of your own family and what their favourite food is. Tell them to do the same at home with their family.

If you think the pupils can handle a simple table, draw the table below on the board and ask pupils to copy it. Give the examples from your own family in the same way (but make sure they don’t write these down in the table!).

Family Member

Favourite Food






At the end of the chapter ask for volunteers to read out all the four Remember messages to the class. After each message is read, ask pupils to call out the examples (as they have practised) and ask them why the message is so important.

Event track (optional)

You may wish to organize a final "event" to recycle and publicize the messages of the lessons. This can be a performance in class, or put on for families or other classes, or be part of an Open Day. Here are some ideas relating to this chapter.

  1. Children demonstrate their knowledge of kinds of food and their origins (Lessons 2 and 3) by playing the game Riddle, describing ten foods for the audience to guess. Rehearse them to make sure their descriptions are clear and accurate. As a follow-up they can challenge the audience to play the game in their turn.

  2. A poster showing the results of a survey of pupils’ top food preferences (with pictures by pupils) can be made for a final event (see Lesson 4). Train a group of pupils to present the poster, saying what they individually like best and why.

[1] The classifications are not always exact - e.g. tomatoes and pumpkins are technically fruits but are usually classified as vegetables in cooking; butter could be put into dairy products or classified as a fat; onions could be seen as a vegetable or as a condiment.
[2] The classifications are not always exact - e.g. tomatoes and pumpkins are technically fruits but are usually classified as vegetables in cooking; butter could be put into dairy products or classified as a fat; onions could be seen as a vegetable or as a condiment.

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