Dairy Nutrition And Education
Dairy farmers work hard to bring fresh and wholesome milk products to the marketplace. Most farms are family-owned. As active members of their communities, farm families take pride in maintaining the environment. That means preserving the land where they live and work and protecting the quality of the air and water they share with neighbors. More importantly, it means providing the best care for their cows, which are the lifeblood of their business.
Take a virtual tour and learn about life on a modern dairy farm.
The following are lesson plans and resources to teach students about the importance of dairy.
Discover Dairy: Beyond the Refrigerator
This engaging, cross-curricular series of lessons teaches upper elementary students about where milk comes from and the many ways dairy farming contribute to our lives. Lesson topics include:
- Discover Dairy... And Animal Health
- Discover Dairy... And Milk Safety
- Discover Dairy... In the Environment
- Discover Dairy... In the Community
- Discover Dairy... And Nutrition
In addition to the lesson plans, Discover DAIRY includes video clips, assessment-based worksheets, reading pamphlets and interactive games. Lesson plans meet Pennsylvania Department of Education standards and assessment anchors for math, science, health education and reading.
Milk: It Does a Student Body Good!
For students in grades 1 to 3:
Cow, Cows and More Cows! lesson plan / Cow Outline activity sheet
This activity introduces cows as animals that make milk for people. Students learn about dairy cows and how milk is produced on a dairy farm.
Milk Made for You lesson plan / Rock-and-Roll Butter activity sheet / From Moo to You activity sheet
This activity outlines how milk is transported, processed and distributed. Students participated in a hands-on demonstration on how butter is made.
For students in grades 4 to 6:
Meet the Milk Makers lesson plan / A Dozen “Udderly Amazing” Facts about Dairy Cows activity sheet / Meet the Milk Makers word search
This activity introduces cows as the major milk producers in the U.S. Students learn about cows and how dairy farmers care for them, facts about dairy production, and the different breeds of dairy cows.
The Amazing Milk Machine lesson plan / Cow’s Digestive System fact sheet
This activity introduces students to the cow’s digestive system. Students learn about ruminant animals and the four-compartment stomach of the cow. Students learn about milk production and steps dairy farmers take to ensure the safety and wholesomeness of milk.
Moving Milk through the Dairy Plant lesson plan
This activity discusses milk processing. Students learn about pasteurization, homogenization and fortification, and steps taken by the dairy plant to ensure the wholesomeness of milk.
MILK: It Does a Student Body Good! was developed by Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association and Pennsylvania Dairy Promotion Program with funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
Cows, Calcium, and Cheese
Cows, Calcium, and Cheese is an udderly fun-filled school program to teach K to 9th grade students about life on the farm, explore careers in agriculture, and consider nutrition concepts such as how calcium is linked to health.
More Dairy Activities!
Schools are an ideal place for kids to learn and practice good nutrition, and the classroom is the best place to start.
Looking for fun and creative ways to help your students incorporate more physical activity and healthy eating into their lives in school and at home? Then check out the following tips from the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) and Fuel Up to Play 60.
Promoting milk at school
Did you know that students who eat or drink more dairy foods get more nutrients in their diets and have improved bone health? In addition to calcium, milk contains eight other essential nutrients that can help you fuel your day. Promote the great taste of milk and its nutritional benefits. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Work with school nutrition services to hold a “School Milk Around the World” day. Have students create posters for the cafeteria. Add travel posters, globes, maps, etc. Feature a special menu with popular, favorite international foods.
- Make it a Holstein event! Have students wear black and white clothing to school.
- Draw a silhouette of a child on a large sheet of paper. Cut it out and have students make a collage with photos of dairy products and other nutritious foods.
- Ask students to research dairy farming in different countries around the world, including the United States.
- Encourage children to drink milk at breakfast, lunch and snack time.
- Teach Discover Dairy lessons.
- Identify the word for milk in different languages. Have students create posters advertising milk in different languages to display in the cafeteria.
- Organize a mooing contest. Have judges select the top mooers in your classroom or school building.
- Create a mural using a picture of the world as the center point. Have students surround the earth with a collage of healthy foods, including milk products, as well as pictures of people.
- Host a Milk Mustache photo shoot. Take snapshots of students sporting their best milk moustaches and display in the hallway or cafeteria. Hold a contest to determine the best looking or most comical moustache.
- Organize a milk-bottle bowling tournament using empty 8 or 16-ounce bottles filled with sand or another material to weigh them down. Set up an alley or two and hold a competition for best bowler.
- Research milk-based beverages that children around the world drink. Examples include Mexican hot chocolate, an Italian frullato, or an Indian lassis. Partner with your foodservice director or family and consumer sciences teacher to prepare and taste test the beverages.
- Schedule a school-wide milk toast and invite everyone to raise a bottle or carton of milk to celebrate this special day.
Let us know what you are planning to do to celebrate this year’s event.
Eating the Rainbow
April spring showers decorate the sky with a rainbow of color. While a rainbow is a whole continuum of colors, most people associate seven colors with a rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet
Sorting foods by color is one way young children learn to group foods by specific characteristics. Shape, temperature and source (plant or animal) are others. This eventually leads to classifying foods by nutrient content. Have students do a “color search ”by finding pictures of nutritious foods in different colors of the rainbow. Create a rainbow of foods display.
For older students, use color to promote the benefits of a healthful diet. Teach your students how to include a colorful variety of low-fat and nonfat dairy foods, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins on their plates every day. Discuss why eating a rainbow of foods provides a variety of nutrients. In addition, each color of MyPlate illustrates one of the five food groups. Discuss how to build a healthy plate. Download and use the reproducible master Eating the Rainbow to start the discussion.
Nutritious foods come in every color of the rainbow! The good news is that we don’t have to search the end of the rainbow to find them!
Looking for a tasty hands-on activity? Have students build a “rainbow” parfait featuring yogurt, fruit and cereal. Vary the flavors of yogurt, add at least two different colors of fruit and select a whole grain cereal.
Fuel Up To Play 60 Tracker
Encourage students to practice what you teach with the Fuel Up to Play 60 Tracker.
Students can track their food choices each day to be sure they are getting enough servings from all MyPlate food groups. The tracker reflects the recent Dietary Guidelines and uses MyPlate as a guide for the recommended serving sizes. Student can also track their physical activity and minutes. Use the tracker to help students set goals and improve their food choices and increase their levels of physical activity.
In addition to the paper tracker, students can track their healthy eating and physical activity online. Visit FuelUptoPlay60.com for more information.
Fuel the Change at Your School
The school environment can have a major impact on the health habits of children. Encouraging your students to “fuel up” with nutrient-rich foods at school and “get up and play” for 60 minutes daily can be a challenge. If you are teaching nutrition, Fuel Up to Play 60 is the program to help your students to put their learning into action! Fuel Up to Play 60 encourages and empowers students to work collaboratively with adults to make sustainable changes in the school environment. Be an agent for change in your school; join the Fuel Up to Play 60 movement.