Review the meaning and purpose of nutrients. Nutrients are substances that help nourish the body. Inform students that nutrients are responsible for helping hair, nails, teeth, and gums stronger and making skin clear and healthy. Nutrients give energy, help to speed up the healing process from illnesses and can help improve eyesight. Nutrients also aid in concentration and clarity in thinking.
Ask students to identify how humans get nutrients. Nutrients are available in fruits, vegetables, dairy products, meats and beans. By eating healthy foods that include fruits and vegetables, the body can utilize the nutrients to stay healthy and grow strong. Remind students of the importance of water. More than half of the human body consists of water and 3-5 glasses of water a day are needed to keep the body from dehydrating. Water serves to filter the body and rid the body of toxins through urination.
Inform students that in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle it is important to eat healthy food and drink plenty of water. The body can survive on one or the other, but the body is most productive if it has both water and nutrients from food. In order to grow strong and healthy, the body needs water and nutrients. Without healthy food and water, the body becomes more susceptible to disease. Also, without healthy food and water, the body does not function as well and may become sluggish. To emphasize this concept, students will conduct a scientific plant experiment and play an interactive game. The game will help students become more familiar with the definition of a nutrient. It will also serve as a way for students to identify the purpose and function of each nutrient.
Following, students will plant three plants and expose each to a different environment. Plants will receive water only, plant food only, or a combination of water and plant food. Although each plant will show some signs of growth, the plant that receives the water and plant food should have the most growth and appear the healthiest. From the experiment and the scientific report, students should learn that in order to be healthy the body needs water and nutrients, similar to the plant that was the healthiest because it received water and nutrients. After the children complete the worksheets, have each group present the results to the class.