Explanation of the activity:
The object of this game is to demonstrate that energy is taken into the body by eating foods, and that different foods provide different amounts of energy. Energy is either used up or stored. We want to stress the fact that storing food is not necessarily a bad thing. Although the energy unit values assigned to the different foods are loosely based on their caloric values, this fact should not be mentioned to the students. We want to ensure that the students do not get the message that they need to count calories and then expend the amount of calories they consume. Rather, we want them to realize that food contains energy which is used by the body to perform physical activities. Energy that is not used by physical activity is stored in the body.
You will need: 1 roll of tape per group (or per student, if playing individually), 1 ruler per group (or per student, if playing individually), scratch paper and pencils for the groups (or student), and 1 stack of Food Cards per group (or per student, if playing individually).
Prepare the “field” by marking the width of one end of the room or hallway with a long piece of tape. This is the starting line, so label it as such with a marker. Measure 8 feet (96 inches) from the starting line and mark the finish line, or “Energy Zone,” with another long piece of tape the width of the field. Label it as the “Energy Zone” with marker. Every 2 feet from the starting line to the energy zone, make a long mark the width of the field with tape, in order to give the students a better sense of the length of the field.
Mark on the tape the number of inches from the energy zone that it is. For instance, the first line of tape from the starting line will say “72 inches,” the second line will say “48 inches,” and the third line will say “24 inches.” This will allow the students to get a better sense of how many inches they still need to go to reach the Energy Zone.
The students know the EU values assigned to each food because the value is written on the backside of the food cards. They will try to plan mathematically which foods to “eat” by combining 6 different foods with EU values equaling 100, or nearly 100.
The students do not know the corresponding EU values assigned to the foods they choose to “eat.” The teacher has a list of the foods and their EU values. Once the groups decide which food they want to “eat” at at a particular down, the teacher tells them how many EUs the food contains and the students move the corresponding number of inches.