Skip to main content
Curriculum Level: 6-8

By Yusupha Auber from East Cary Magnet Middle School: Center for Global Studies & World Languages

OVERVIEW OF LESSON: In the early morning, my students regularly consume Takis, Doritos, various sweets, and caffeinated energy drinks with more than the recommended daily serving of sugar. Often, when they ask for something to eat, their preference is candy and chips over healthy nutritious fruits. My students’ preferences mirror the nations’ preferences as a whole. As a result of this tendency to consume such items, the United States has one of the highest incidences of childhood obesity and in the adult population, cancer, heart disease and other diet-related illnesses.

In general, it is understood that one of the main contributors to ill health is the tendency to consume foods that are high in sugar, salt and artificial flavors and dyes. To address students’ unhealthy choices, this lesson connects to Sustainable Development Goal 2 (SDG 2): Zero Hunger (end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture) and SDG 3: Good Health and Well-Being (ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages). Students will be tasked to conduct research on the food production and distribution systems to increase their awareness of the link between diet and health.

The lesson should to be taught after comparing relationships with equations. In the first activity, students will analyze a list of ingredients and find the errors in a scaled version of a popular Gambian dish, which, due to its health benefits, was featured on The Doctors talk show. In the second activity, they will analyze the food labels of their favorite snacks or drinks to determine the amount of salt, sugar, and other ingredients they consume based on the number of servings. In the third activity, they will analyze two seating arrangements to write equations and determine whether the equations represent a proportional relationship. Lastly, for the extension, they will research initiatives in North Carolina to improve health and nutrition, explain their mission and vision for our health as well as what they can do to support efforts to improve nutrition in their community and their individual health.


SUBJECT: Mathematics


NCSCOS Mathematics: Standards:

Analyze proportional relationships and use them to solve real-world and mathematical problems. 

NC.7.RP.2: Recognize and represent proportional relationships between quantities.

a. Understand that a proportion is a relationship of equality between ratios.

  •  Represent proportional relationships using tables and graphs.
  •  Recognize whether ratios are in a proportional relationship using tables and graphs.
  •  Compare two different proportional relationships using tables, graphs, equations, and verbal descriptions. 

b. Identify the unit rate (constant of proportionality) within two quantities in a proportional relationship using tables, graphs, equations, and verbal descriptions. 

c. Create equations and graphs to represent proportional relationships. d. Use a graphical representation of a proportional relationship in context to: o Explain the meaning of any point (x, y).

  • Explain the meaning of (0, 0) and why it is included.
  • Understand that the y-coordinate of the ordered pair (1, r) corresponds to the unit rate and explain its meaning.


  • How is scaling a recipe an example of proportional thinking? 
  • Are all straight lines examples of proportional relationships? 
  • How can we use the concept of scaling to make better choices when consuming our favorite snack?  
  • How is scaling represented on nutritional information on food and drink products?
  • How can farming cooperatives use scaling to meet the nutritional needs of communities?


  1. By the end of the lesson, students will be able to scale the nutritional information of a favorite snack or drink based on total servings by analyzing the packaging information so that they can make better choices.
  2. By the end of the lesson, students will be able to write an equation representing a proportional relationship by analyzing a table of values and a graph. 
  3. By the end of the lesson, students will be able to research local farming cooperatives and write a summary with evidence found in their research, explaining their mission and how it will benefit their communities, including specific actions that they will take to support the mission and improve their own health. 


OpenUpResource: Open Up Resources 6–8 Mathematics | Curriculum Access

Fast Food: Fast food effects: Short-term, long-term, physical, mental, and more (

Non-profit: ABOUT | Carolina Cares NC Raleigh Durham Community Assistance Outreach

Fertile Ground (Southeast Raleigh Cooperative): Fertile Ground Coop 


Day 1

Activity 1: (30 minutes)

a. Launch: show the video Gambian Tomato Peanut Stew Medical Course – YouTube (7 mins) 

b. The teacher will partner students in pairs. (3 mins) 

c.  The teacher will distribute Handout 1: Scaling Ingredients (3 mins) 

d. Students will work collaboratively in pairs to rectify the ingredients’ list.  (10 mins) 

e. Teacher will review the answers with the students. (5 mins) 

Activity 2: Scaling Nutrition Labels (30 mins)

a. The teacher will ask students to access this site: Read the Label Youth Outreach Materials | FDA and complete the following:  

1. The teacher will play this video for the class: Making Healthy Choices Using the Nutrition Facts Label – YouTube (5 mins)

2. The students will discuss with their partner what their favorite snack or drink is and how much of it they consume each week. They will show the container to their partner and share what they like about it. (3 mins)

3. Each student will read the label of their favorite snack or drink and scale the nutrition label based on consuming the entire bag or bottle or consuming multiple servings. (10-15 minutes)

4. Students will share with their partner what they discovered about their consumption and how they can make better choices to improve or safeguard their health. (3 mins)

b. Collaboration with ELA teacher (optional):    

1. The teacher will provide students with the nutrition label word search available here. 

2. Students will read “Cool Tips for Kids: Use the Nutrition Facts Label to Make Smart Food Choices” from the FDA and type a one-page long response on how they will make better choices at home, school, restaurants, or the supermarket based on what they learn. 

Day 2

Activity 3:  

a. The teacher will distribute Handout 2: Seating a Party and ask students to complete it. (3 mins)

b. The students will work collaboratively to complete the 2 tables of values and use them to graph the data showing a proportional relationship and a no-proportional relationship. (15-20 mins)

c. The students will write the equations for the relationship of the tables to the chairs based on the way the tables are arranged. (5 mins)

d. The students will collaborate and answer the questions. (5 mins) (The teacher will choose and assign the additional practice questions as extra work for early finishers.) 

e. The teacher will give students Handout 3: Cool Down: Writing an Equation. (5 minutes)

f.  The teacher will ask students to complete additional practice as homework due the next class meeting. 

ASSESSMENT: Handout 3: Cool Down: Writing an Equation

LEARNING EXTENSIONS: Community Food Strategies Research
Students will visit the website: Food Youth Initiative – Center for Environmental Farming Systems ( and access the Food System Initiative tab to conduct research. Students will write a one-page response to the following questions explaining the mission of the food systems initiative and how it seeks to improve human or environmental health, or both. 

1. What is the mission and vision of the initiative? 

2. How will it impact the health and wellbeing of the communities it serves? 

3. Based on what you have learned, what will you do to improve your own health and what actions will you take to support the mission of this initiative? 


Food Labels: Prior to the start of the lesson, students will be asked to bring empty packets of several favorite snacks or drinks they consume on a regular basis and those will be set aside. It is best to have snacks which have multiple servings. 


Handout 1: Scaling Ingredients

Handout 2: Seating a Party

Handout 3: Cool Down: Writing an Equation

Illustrative Mathematics. (n.d.). Unit 2: Introducing Proportional Relationships. Retrieved from: