The Fabulous Five Food Groups

9 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


Students will be able to classify foods according to group by completing a sort.

Big Idea

Identifying and classifying foods is an important foundational concept for understanding good nutrition. The students will practice their classification skills in this interactive lesson.


10 minutes

To begin this lesson, you will need the Five Food Groups Sort included as a PDF with this lesson.  I print four sets of cards on a colored printer, so I have one set for each table group.  I laminate the cards for durability. Take out the food group "label" cards and set them aside.  They will be used later in this lesson. 

This lesson begins in a "constructivist" style.  I give each table a set of cards.  I say to them, There is a set of cards at your table.  I want you to work together as a team to figure out a way to sort these cards.  I want you to put the cards in groups so the cards in each group are alike in each way.  There is not a right or wrong way to organize the cards right now.  Right now, I am interested in seeing how you group the cards.

This is challenging for the students because they generally have been instructed in what way they are to sort things.   I circulate around the room and observe how they are sorting, asking questions about their progress.  The students look for very tangible ways of sorting, like color or shape.  When the students are done, I have each group explain to me how they sorted their items.  I instruct them to leave the cards on their table and join me at the SmartBoard for the next part of our lesson. 

Direct Instruction

15 minutes

For this portion of the lesson, I use my SmartBoard.  If you have a SmartBoard, the file Fabulous Five Food Groups can easily be downloaded and opened.  If you have a different type of interactive whiteboard, you can still use this lesson by opening the file in Smart Notebook Express.  Click here to download. There is also a PDF of the slides so you can recreate this part of the lesson.  Click here to access them:  Fabulous Five Food Groups PDF of Slides.

I gather my students in front of the Smartboard.  I have cards with each student's name printed on.  These cards are used for selecting who will come up to the Smartboard.  This helps me spread response opportunities across my entire classroom and eliminates any unintentional bias.

I open the first slide (SmartBoard Slide 1) with the lesson objective written in "student friendly" terms.  There is a content objective and a language objective to help focus on vocabulary expansion for my English Learners (ELs) to be congruent with SIOP instructional techniques (Click here to learn more about SIOP). I read these objectives aloud for my students.

Content Objective
I can identify the five food groups and name foods that belong in each group.

Language Objective
I can tell a friend what food group a food belong to.

Slide 2:  Most of the foods we eat can be sorted in 5 food groups.  I name each group and point to them on the SmartBoard. 

Slide 3:  The Meat, Fish and Protein group includes things like hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken and fish.  Beans and eggs are also included in this group.

Slide 4:  The Bread and Grain Group includes anything that is made from grains like wheat, rice or oats.  This includes bread, cereal, muffins, rice and pasta.

Slide 5: The Vegetable Group includes the vegetables that we find in our garden including things like carrots, lettuce, celery and peppers.

Slide 6: The Fruit Group includes things that grow on trees or vines like strawberries, bananas, apples, watermelon and pears. 

Slide 7: The Milk and Dairy Group includes milk and anything that is made from milk like yogurt, cheese and ice cream. 

Slide 8:  Food from all of these groups make up a balanced diet.  We will talk more about that in our next lesson.  Right now, let's see if we can decide what group different foods belong to.

Slide 9:    Which group does yogurt belong to?  Why?  I invite a student to come up to the board and circle the correct food group.  We discuss how we know that this food belongs to the group the student circled.  

Slide 10-13:  Continue as above.  

Slide 14:  It is now Turn and Talk Time.  Turn and Talk gives the students the opportunity to practice their academic language while building important conversational skills.

I ask them to hold hands with their assigned Turn and Talk partners and raise their hands in the air.  This allows me to check that everyone has a partner.    I then say to them, What food group does cheese pizza belong to.  Of course, this is a bit of a trick question since cheese pizza belongs to multiple groups.  I want to see if they can identify at least one of the groups cheese pizza belongs to and hopefully, some of them will figure out that it belongs to multiple groups.    I give them time to talk to their partner and when it is obvious that they have completed their discussion, I call on student to share their response. We then discuss how food can belong to more than one food group.  After our discussion has ended, we then move to our seats for guided practice.

Guided Practice

10 minutes

For guided practice, you will be revisiting the Five Food Groups sort that was used in the opening portion of this lesson.  This time, the students will need the header cards that are included in the file.  I distribute these cards to each group of students and then I give them directions:  Now, you remember our sort that we did earlier.  We are going to sort the cards again.  This time, we will sort the cards into each of the food groups.  I want you to put the food group headings out on your tables.  You will take turns picking a card and placing it under the correct food group.  Make sure you say why you are placing that food in that food group.

The students begin working as I circulate around the room and assist them in sorting the cards.  Sometimes students are not familiar with the food item because it is not something they eat in their culture.  In these cases, I lend further explanation of what the food is.  After the students are done sorting the cards, I check and discuss their work with them.  We then clean up and prepare for independent practice.

Independent Practice and Informal Assessment

10 minutes

For independent practice, you will need copies of Five Food Groups Sorting Activity included as a PDF with this lesson. The second page can be cut apart, so you will only need one copy of this page for every two students.

I distribute the activity sheet to the students and have them write their name on the paper.  I then explain, Now, you will be completing a sorting activity of your own.  I want you to cut apart the foods that are on the small sheet of paper.  I then want you to sort the foods into the correct food groups.  Use the pictures in each square to help you know what group goes in each square.  If you are not sure what a food is, just raise your hand and I will help you.  Do not glue the foods down until I have a chance to check your work and help you correct any mistakes.

The students begin working (see Video) and I circulate around the room to answer questions as needed.  When they are done with their sort, I help them correct any errors. 

To wrap up the lesson, I have the students partner up and work together to come up with one other food that would be in each food group.