Needham Middle School Students Learned About Food Marketing

Framingham State University Coordinated Program in Dietetics student Nicole Minnelli and Rebecca Drown partnered up with 7th grade health classes at Pollard Middle School in Needham, Massachusetts. As stated in Needham’s wellness policy and in the health education curriculum, the goal of the program is to promote healthy behaviors and a dedication to wellness. Needham Nutrition Services supports nutrition education by offering unlimited fruits and vegetables with a meal.

Nicole taught the 7th grade students about food marketing through a lesson called “Design a Cereal.” The lesson included an overview of how people are influenced, or deceived, by marketing on food products. Using cereal boxes, students worked in groups to discuss which marketing strategies such as colors, slogans or health claims were used to entice the buyer to purchase that specific cereal. The students were also asked, just by looking at the box, if they thought this was a healthy cereal choice.

“Fruit Cubes,” a colorful cereal box designed by some of the students, who also used Rob Gronkowski as their sponsor!

“Fruit Cubes,” a colorful cereal box designed by some of the students, who also used Rob Gronkowski as their sponsor!

Students learned what to look for when purchasing a cereal and how to read a nutrition facts label to detect a healthy cereal even when the outside of the box might disagree. Students discussed protein, fiber and sugar in relation to healthy cereals.

Each group then created a healthy cereal on their iPads using marketing strategies discussed. The creativity from these students made for a fun, interactive lesson while they used key nutrition information learned earlier in their lesson to design a healthy cereal.

Students stated they had fun during this lesson and felt like they learned something as well.

To find lesson plans and ways to incorporate nutrition education in the classroom, visit The John Stalker Institute Resource Center for ideas.

Submitted by: Nicole Minnelli, Food and Nutrition Student in the Coordinated Program in Dietetics.

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