Fruit and Vegetable Classroom Challenge

May 2, 2009 at 5:00 am | Posted in Nutrition Focus: Fruit and Vegetable Challenges | Leave a comment
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At Norwich Elementary in Hilliard, Ohio teachers were given the option to have their classroom participate in a  3-day fruit and vegetable tracking challenge (to see the form we used, click here: clrmftvgchallengeformnorwich)    Each teacher that responded received a large laminated fruit and vegetable tracking poster, ordered in advance – free from the USDA mypyramid.gov.   Each class discussed the recommended servings per day (5 a day) and set a goal for how many they thought they could eat as a classroom for 3 days.  Some classes used this as a math exercise.  Classroom activities and posters that relate to fruits and vegetables were placed in the staff lounge for teachers to use if they have classroom time. 

Parents and the wellness committeVeggie tasting with parents volunteers helpinge organized a fruit and vegetable tasting during the last day of the challenge during lunch, and information was sent home to parents to let them know about the sampling and the classroom challenge.  Since this was the last monthly “Take A Taste Thursday”, the event was billed as “Come try a Mystery Fruit!”   They were told it was originally from China and is used in making pies.    Students wrote their guesses of what it was on a big poster next to the table.  The
MMM!  Student samples a kumquat - front teeth not required!

MMM! Student samples a kumquat - front teeth not required!

principal announced the name of the fruit at the end of the day, and the poster of guesses along with the name of the fruit was written and spelled out for all to see: KUMQUATS!   This “mystery” fruit idea led to alot of discussion and excitement.

Classrooms that met their goal (all 18 classrooms that participated met their goal) were awarded a $20 gift card from Walmart to spend as they wish, thanks to a grant from Ohio Action for Healthy Kids.   Some bought strawberries for their snacks, some purchased supplies for smoothies.   Some classrooms bought extra art supplies like fruit smelling markers, and some saved it to add to their end of the year class party snacks.  Many parents were so thrilled with this challenge that they donated a fruit or vegetable snack for the whole classroom to help them meet their classroom goal.

Teachers reported some great questions being asked by parents and students, such as “what is  a serving?”, “do vegetables have to be cooked to count?”,  “do fruit snacks count?”, etc.   Teachers were also surveyed and asked for ideas on how to improve this activity.  All teachers who responded said they would be interested in doing a similar classroom activity to track dairy servings, and that tracking servings for 3 days was the optimal length of time.   Teacher’s ideas for incentives (if gift cards are not possible)  that were mentioned were extra recess time, classroom dance party,  or story time with a local “celebrity” or “athlete”.

Sign made by 4-5th grade students to encourage younger students to take a taste!

Sign made by 4-5th grade students to encourage younger students to take a taste during free sampling!

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