This activity is one of many great pre-planned lessons for our free Keep ‘Em Rolling Program at the National Museum of World War II Aviation. At the museum, students will be exposed to the food rationing efforts of Americans on the home front during WWII, and STEM concepts related to nutrition and health.

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Begin by asking students to think about the Essential Question:

  • What does it mean to be healthy?

Accept all answers and list them on the board. Explain to students that to be healthy one should eat healthy and be physically active each day.


Play the song “Alive With 5 Food Groups” for the class. Ask students to listen carefully to the lyrics of the song. The lyrics introduce the five food groups. Invite students to share what they learned from the song. Can anyone identify the five food groups? (Fruits, Vegetables, Protein, Grains, Dairy). Note: You may want to play the song more than once. Older students who might find the song “goofy” may just choose to discuss food groups.

Alive With 5 Food Groups

Display the Healthy Plate poster. Ask students to share what they notice about the MyPlate icon. Explain that MyPlate illustrates the five food groups a person should eat each day, and that the colors red, green, orange, blue, and purple represent the five food groups. Before they eat, people should think about what goes on their plate or in their cup. Foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and lean protein help them eat healthy and be healthy.

List the names of all five food groups on the board. Explain that foods are put into groups to help us understand how to create a balanced meal. Ask the class why they think eating foods from each food group is important. Putting food from each food group on our plate helps us eat smart to play hard.

Invite students to share a food. Encourage them to think about foods they have eaten at home or in the cafeteria, or seen their parents purchase in the supermarket. Prompt them by asking them to think of foods they’ve seen that grow in the ground or on trees or plants, are found in the sea, or come from an animal. Write down their answers on the board.

Work together as a class to determine what food group each belongs to. If students suggest a combination food or dish (for example: pizza, sandwich, curry, or tacos), help students to break the meal down by asking them to think about its specific main food ingredients. For example: Tacos — tortilla (Grain Group), tomatoes and lettuce; (Vegetable Group), cheese (Dairy Group), ground turkey or beef (Protein Foods Group).

Next, supply each student with art supplies and the My Food Card handout. Note: If you have more time, ask students to create five Food Cards, one from each group. Give students 15 minutes to complete their Food Cards — each with a drawing or collage of a favorite food from a different food group. Ask students to draw one specific food, such as a fruit or a dairy product, as opposed to combination foods, such as pizza or tacos. Prompt students to think of foods they like to eat by asking what they ate at lunch that day, or dinner the night before. They will also need to complete the sentences on the card according to what food they chose.

Invite students to share and read their Food Cards aloud with the class and explain why they like each food item. Collect everyone’s cards.