This weeks post shares an update of a food label game that I created and blogged about in 2014. It’s a game that was very successful in my classroom at the time and I think many teachers will like it.
I played a game as a child called Top Trumps, a card game that was hugely popular in the UK and is now available in the USA. It’s based on the classic card game “War”, with each set of cards based on a theme. Current favorites in my household are the Dinosaur set, and the Predators set. Each card features a character/animal etc and lists a number of statistics. It’s played by choosing the ‘best stat’, trumping (beating) your opponent’s card, and winning the entire deck.Regular readers know that I see EVERYTHING through a health teachers lens and so it was obvious that I would want to create my own card game based on food labels.
Created in Canva, the card game includes 14 cards plus 4 ‘blanks’ that can be used to create your own cards based on the foods that your students eat. The cards are sized 5×3 so if you are savvy, you can print them out onto index cards.
Print, shuffle and deal the cards facedown to the players. Youngest person plays first. They look at their top card and choose the stat with the highest score. They state the score eg “Fiber – 6 grams”. The other player(s) compare that score on their card. The winner keeps both cards and replaces them to the bottom of their stack. Play until one player has all of the cards.
If appropriate with your students, ask them to create four more playing cards to add to a future game of ‘food war’.
Once you play this game, this is what you will notice. Students will start to recognize which foods will perform better in this game. They’ll read, and discuss food labels more frequently and the content of your class will jump beyond the four walls of your classroom. The short period of time that you spend discussing food labels will be dwarfed by the longevity of interest in this game. Don’t be surprised if weeks later a student declares that they just discovered the ultimate ‘Top Trump’ card.
Things to note:
It is important to frame nutrition content correctly. This game is fun and specifically encourages students to read food labels. It is important that we don’t judge students and the foods that they eat as they most likely don’t get to choose what is available at home. (NHES 2 Analyzing Influences)
We must also be mindful of the language used in class at all times. We aren’t suggesting that this food or this diet is unhealthy, but we can suggest that when choices are freely available it is important to consider if our choices are the ones that best promote our health. (NHES 5 Decision Making)
The foods chosen for my game represent my community and the foods that my students eat. This is one reason why the blank extension cards exist. Your students might like to comment on the foods I’ve chosen, and replace some cards with those that they feel best represent their lives. Please consider having conversations with your students about the foods available in different communities.
This blog is read by health educators across the globe. I wonder how the foods might differ between my American students and their peers in Saudi Arabia, China or New Zealand. I’d love to get feedback from my teacher friends in those countries.
Other games that I have converted into ideas for the health classroom include: