Become a Member
Support the programming and educational initiatives of Idaho Public Television by joining today.
home ready to learn k-12 adult education

Overnight Schedule

Ed. Rights

Learn Cable


Teacher Toolbox

IdahoPTV Learning Services



The Magical Ingredient
by Shannon Kelly Smith
University of Idaho

Grade: 9-12
Time Allotment: One 50 minute Class
Subject Matter: Family Consumer Sciences Foods and Nutrition

The American population is the most overweight nation in the world. What are the reasons causing us to become overweight? In this lesson students will explore healthy lifestyle choices. How to reduce the amount of fat in their own diets and looks at alternative ways of eating. Students will be exposed to the idea of introducing exercise into their lifestyle, not only for now but for their lifetime. After the introductory questions about how many students have been on a diet, or who may be on a diet at the present time, students will view a clip from the PBS FRONTLINE series. The series segment that the students will be watching is fitted FAT. "Despite the appeals of the multi billion dollar diet and exercise industries, the United States is getting fatter. The media bombards us with images of thin models exuding the message that to be thin is to be beautiful. But for many of us, being thin is a difficult, if not impossible, achievement. This program examines how the diet industry is contributing to our frustration over unwanted pounds and asks if one can be healthy, fit, beautiful and fat."

Learning Objectives:
Students will be able to:

  • Identify the part fat plays in their diets
  • To determine if they live in a food toxic environment.
  • Develop a plan to implement exercise into their diets.

National Standard for Family and Consumer Sciences
Nutrition and Wellness
Comprehensive Standard

  • 14.0 Demonstrate nutrition and wellness practices that enhance individual and family well being
  • 14.1 Analyze factors that influence nutrition and wellness practices across the life span
  • 14.2 Evaluate the nutritional needs of individuals and families in relation to health and wellness across the life span
  • 14.3 Demonstrate ability of acquire, handle and use foods to met nutrition and wellness needs of individuals and families across the life span. nd immigration of people in the development of the United States.

Media Components :

1 Video Work Sheet Per Student

Prep For Teachers
Prior to teaching this lesson teachers would need to review the videotape and become familiar with the worksheet. Instructors may want to think about some of the answers they may get to the questions that are posed.

Introductory Activities
Step 1:
Pose the following questions to your students.
How many of you have ever been on a diet?
How many of you are currently on a diet?
Why are you on a diet?
Are you on a diet because you feel you are not thin enough?
Are you comfortable with your bodies?
Have they ever thought that some people will never be able to achieve the ultra thinness that we see on models?

Step 2:
Open up discussion with each question. Some students maybe uncomfortable with the questions you are posing. Try to find out what motives students to be on a diet. Some of the answers that you get may shock you. Children as young as 7 8 years old have started dieting, so when they get older they will be thin. Try to work into the conversation that most people will never be as thin as the models we see on TV. Helping students realize that they can be comfortable with their bodies is something that they may not of hear before. Helping students acquire healthy eating habits that includes exercise is the goal of this lesson

Step 3:
Pre introduction to the video.

Learning Activities
Step 1:

Step 2:
Hand out the video worksheet. Explain again to students that you want them to put some thought into their answers.

Step 3:
Give the students ample time to complete the worksheet. After the students have completed the worksheet open up discussion of the questions.

Step 4:
Discussion of the questions on the worksheet.
Discuss each question with your students. Look for answers to the questions where students have put higher thinking skills into play. Use the questions as a springboard for other questions, or ways to implement more information into the topic.

Culminating Activity
Close the lesson by having the students think about the food choices they have made over the last 24 hours. Are they living in a Food Toxic Environment, or are the students making healthy choices in their diets? Are the students planning regular exercise into their daily activities? Have students record for a week what they consume and graph according to FDA guidelines for a healthy diet.


Science: Have students put together a Power Point presentation on the effects of large amounts of Fat in the American Diet, and what steps can be taking to live a healthy lifestyle.


  • Invite a Registered Dietitian in to the classroom to speak on the American Diet, and what steps can be taken to live a healthier live style.
  • Visit a local restaurant to see if they are taking steps to have lower fat items on the menu.
  • Invite a Personal Trainer, or an Exercise Expert in to the classroom to speak on how to exercise to stay fit.

Search more than 3,000 free lessons and activities on PBS TeacherSource!

Type in a keyword or words, then click go.

Utilization Strategies

Lesson Plans




The National Teacher
Training Institute
is made
possible through the
generous support of

Cisco Foundation Logo

GE Fund Logo

Thirteen WNET New York Logo


Idaho Public Television Homepage