Design Challenge: The Ideal Meal
Jan 05 2012
Tina Kacandes's picture
Source: Tina Kacandes
Summary Information


sustainability, food production, fossil fuels, organic agriculture, nutrition, consumer economics, the design process


Earth Science

Workplace Skills: 

Raising Questions
Secondary Research
Use of Data
Independent Thinking

Estimated Time Required:

2-3 hours

Target Grade (Ages):

Grade 7 (Ages 12-13)
Grade 8 (Ages 13-14)
Grade 9 (Ages 14-15)
Grade 10 (Ages 15-16)
Grade 11 (Ages 16-17)
Grade 12 (Ages 17-18)

Diversity Indicators:

Anyone who likes to eat and talk about food can play the game. Students who enjoy friendly competition and lively discussion in big and small groups will enjoy it. Students who like to pose their own questions and talk about what they already know will be rewarded. Students who are becoming self-reflective thinkers will appreciate the opportunity to study their decisions and those of their classmates. It is good practice for students who need to be encouraged to revise their work.

Watch this Lesson in Practice

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Your Rating: 

Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (4 votes)


Calorie Counter

sheshah23's picture

This lesson was great... I love how hands on it is. I teach elementary school students so I definitely would not be able to do this project at this level but I would love to one day try this out on a smaller scale. Did you see a difference in your students diet when they say what they were consuming? Did they understand that energy ratio and how important that is? I'm sure when they first selected their meal they went for the favorite meals and quickly saw that that wasn't the best option.

Math and Science

penteckma's picture

I really like this challenge because it will get the students thinking about what they eat and where it comes from. There is entirely to much waste in this country and children, in my opinion take to much for granted. This will get their creative juices flowing and give them great insight. I also think that this will spark some great discussions. Besides I watched a child spend 5 dollars on garbage the other day just so he could have the chips and candy that was being sold.


Marti's picture

This is an amazing lesson. I have been trying to get my 18-21 year old GED students to understand the importance of good nutrition and healthy food choices. It is very difficult for them to understand that a McDonald's meal "costs" them so much more than money.
I love the energy componant, and the competition between the students to design a healthy meal is an excellent way for them to "fight" for there good choices.

Empowers students with knowledge to make smart food choices!

kscolari's picture

This was such an engaging and empowering way for students to learn about how what they eat affects not only their own health, but also the world's. Giving them access to this information and giving them the power to decide what their "ideal" meal is - in addition to putting it into the context of a game - gives students so much ownership of their choices. Great job!

I tried this lesson in my

brookebourne's picture

I tried this lesson in my high school biology science and technology class. The students had a great time, they collaborated well and even thought of new strategies and angles to add to the game. For example, the game doesn't really take into account cultural differences in foods. Not to mention they have clearly seen Anthony Bourdains' TV show.

Great extension to the

petrossp's picture

Great extension to the traditional 'design a healthy meal' activity. You can see lots of thought and work went into this. Thank you for sharing.