Resource Image Nutrition: What is Food?
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Type of Resource: Science Object
Average Rating: Rating
 based on 10 reviews
Publication Title: None
Grade Level: Elementary School, High School, Middle School


Science Objects are two hour on-line interactive inquiry-based content modules that help teachers better understand the science content they teach. This Science Object, co-developed between FDA and NSTA, is the first of four Science Objects in the Nutrition SciPack. It demonstrates that all living organisms require food for functioning, renewal, and growth. Animals use both plants and other animals as food. Food provides the necessary energy for bodily movement and physiological processes. It also provides substances needed to repair and create bodily structures and regulate physiological processes such as cellular activity or immune responses. Nutrients, the substances and elements in food that the body requires, are classified according to their composition. For humans, these nutrients include carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water. Carbohydrates, fats, and protein are present in foods in larger amounts. Vitamins and minerals are present in only small amounts. Water, an essential nutrient, is part of every body cell and contributes to all physiological processes.

Ideas For Use


Posted in Life Science by Patricia Rourke on Mon May 09, 2011 7:14 PM

NSTA also has the great SciGuide and free SciObjects abailable to members. They are a wonderful resource for elementary...
Organic Molecules
Posted in Chemistry by Jennifer Rahn on Tue Nov 16, 2010 2:44 PM

The Nutrition SciPack contains a great deal of information about the chemistry and biology related to the food we eat. T...

Additional Info

Science Discipline: (mouse over for full classification)
Intended User Role:Elementary-Level Educator, High-School Educator, Middle-Level Educator
Educational Issues:Inquiry learning, Professional development, Teacher content knowledge


Resource Format:
Size: KB
Installation Remarks:

National Standards Correlation

This resource has 13 correlations with the National Standards.  

This resource has 13 correlations with the National Standards.  

  • Life Science
    • Structure and function in living systems
      • Cells carry on the many functions needed to sustain life. They grow and divide, thereby producing more cells. (5-8)
      • This requires that cells take in nutrients, which they use to provide energy for the work that cells do and to make the materials that a cell or an organism needs. (5-8)
    • The cell
      • The process of photosynthesis provides a vital connection between the sun and the energy needs of living systems. (9-12)
      • Food molecules taken into cells react to provide the chemical constituents needed to synthesize other molecules. (9-12)
      • Both breakdown and synthesis are made possible by a large set of protein catalysts, called enzymes. (9-12)
  • Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
    • Personal health
      • Nutrition is essential to health.
      • Students should understand how the body uses food and how various foods contribute to health.
      • Food provides energy and nutrients for growth and development (5-8)
      • Nutrition requirements vary with body weight, age, sex, activity, and body functioning. (5-8)
    • Personal and community health
      • Selection of foods and eating patterns determine nutritional balance. (9-12)
      • Nutritional balance has a direct effect on growth and development and personal well-being. (9-12)
  • Process Standards for Professional Development
    • Research-Based
      • Address teachers' needs as learners and build on their current knowledge of science content, teaching, and learning. (NSES)
    • Design
      • Introduce teachers to scientific literature, media, and technological resources that expand their science knowledge and their ability to access further knowledge. (NSES)

State Standards Correlation

Use the form below to view which of your state standards this resource addresses.

User Reviews

Food - Life and Chemical Science
  Robin Willig (Rye Brook, NY) on April 4, 2015
  This science object melds the information from the cell structure and function science objects and chemical reaction science objects. Great application of this information that students will find interesting.

Review for Nutrition
  Mariana Morales on October 29, 2014
  I find this resource beneficial for teachers who want to teach a nutrition unit. What I learned from this resource is that there are multiple science subjects you can incorporate with nutition. I also like that it answers questions one would not really think about such as "is it possible to live on air?". Overall I give this five stars because of the helpfulness and details.

I Love Science Objects!
  Naomi Beverly (Marietta, GA) on September 3, 2014
  I really enjoy Science Objects. In 1-3 hours, the Nutrition: What is Food? Science Object will help me re-learn, refresh, or learn for the first time some critical science concepts I will have to know to obtain my Science Educator credentials. I appreciate that I can complete them at my own pace, and that, if used as park of a SciPack, I have access to a content expert to go to for help. The NSTA Learning Center Science Objects are very beneficial! Not only will they enrich my teaching, the knowledge will enrich my life.

just right
  Laura on February 25, 2012
  This will be my second year teaching third grade students about nutrition and the digestive system. This module was perfect. It gave me the background to help me understand the complexities behind the simple topics that I will be teaching my students. I wish I had read this last year.

Great overview
  Katherine Jezidija-Kendall on January 16, 2012
  Just what is food? This definitely answers the question!

Living Things & Their Needs
  Alyce Dalzell (Peyton, CO) on September 8, 2011
  I am so glad that I took the time to review this free NSTA resource. I am currently presenting the unit, "Living / Not Living" to my 6th grade students and there are several images and facts concerning the needs of "Living Things" that includes proper nutrition. Through the "weaving" of content I was able to introduce and reinforce several of Colorado's state standards.

A (Slightly) Modern Experience in Nutrition
  Sarah A (Gallup, NM) on February 23, 2014
  This Object was highly interactive, and self-led, which I appreciated. It reviewed basic knowledge of the body systems and plant and animal systems before giving an overview of the components of good and what the body requires - and why. I appreciated learning more about the specific elements found in food and the function they play in bodies. This object is a modern version to the health classes I took while in middle and high school; it was interesting to see updates such as the greater varieties of grains and dairy. However, the biggest deficiency I found was in the explanation of fats. I found this less reader-friendly and less helpful in terms of good versus bad fats. I had hoped to read more about the issues surrounding hydrogenated fats versus the fats found in whole milk and other pure dairy products like cheese and butter. Overall, a good summation and a good review. I would like to learn more of the topic.

Good Review
  LeeAnne A on February 18, 2014
  This Sci Pack has a lot of great information for teachers to review before working with students on a nutrition unit. The pack goes through the building blocks of food, carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, their components and why the body needs them. I feel like I could actually use some of the animations and pictures with my students to help them understand the food cycle and why we need to eat healthy. Overall, it was useful.

  Barbara on June 18, 2012
  Great information, easily absorbed. Some technical glitches that cause your answers to be marked incorrectly. And some confusing/frustrating information-like the food pyramid categories are confusing with items in multiple categories now. Overall-informative and I really liked the interactive activities.

Bringing it all together
  Kathryn M on October 20, 2011
  I did this lesson at the end of my anatomy unit. This lesson really brought all the concepts together and bring in the real-life aspect for the students. My students had a great time with it and the interactive part was a really nice touch. Students came up to the Promethean board and on their laptops interactive with the material.