BIG IDEAS, ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS and KEY CONCEPTS from OUR GARDEN to TABLE CURRICULUM courtesy of THE CENTER FOR ECOLITERACY Lower Elementary Food provides the energy and building materials our bodies need to grow, develop and thrive. Upper Elementary Individual bodies may have different specific requirements for health, but all people need good dietary habits, healthy personal behaviors, and a toxic-free environment for optimal health. Middle School A variety of factors influence health decisions both at the personal and the societal level; including marketing, media messages, scientific information, public policy, personal preferences and one’s friends. What is a healthy diet? What nutrients do we need to keep healthy? How do our nutritional needs change as we grow up? What effects do food choices have on body composition and optimal health? How do the amount and types of food and exercise needed for health vary among individuals? How have changes in the way that food is produced and processed affected the nutrient content of the food we eat? What behavior patterns and food choices affect the health of the human body and the health of the environment? Why doesn’t everyone practice health-enhancing behaviors – such as eating healthfully – all the time? How do public policies in our region or state promote human health? What conditions in our society diminish human health? Health How does exercise contribute to health? Food provides energy and materials for growth and repair of body parts. Vitamins and minerals, present in small amounts in foods, are essential to good health. As people grow up, the amounts and kinds of food and exercise needed by the body may change. Making healthy food choices includes basing decisions upon nutrient content. The amount of food energy (calories) a person requires varies with body weight, age, gender, activity level, and natural body efficiency. Toxic substances, some dietary habits, and some personal behavior may be bad for one’s health. Some effects show up right away and others years later. Avoiding toxic substances, such as tobacco, and changing dietary habits increase the chances of living longer. The environment may contain dangerous levels of substances that are harmful to human beings. Therefore, the good health of individuals requires monitoring the soil, air, and water, and taking steps to keep them safe. New medical techniques, efficient health care delivery systems, improved sanitation, and a fuller understanding of the nature of disease give today’s humans a better chance of staying healthy than their forebears had. Conditions now are very different from the conditions in which the species evolved. But some of the differences may not be good for human health. 99