At the moment I am like a busy squirrel collecting resources for the new Food Preparation and Nutrition GCSE specification. As a health promoter as well as a teacher I am delighted too that one of the main objectives of the specification is that :
“students must understand the relationship between diet, nutrition and health including the physiological and psychological effects of poor diet”
So with this is mind I have been searching for good quality resources. While googling I came across a game called the Food, Mood and Health Game by Focus Games Ltd.
So I gave it a try.
I used it with a group of year 10 Food Technology pupils. There were 9 in the group. The deputy head of pastoral care and the school nurse came to observe the lesson as they were interested to see if we could use the game throughout school as part of the well being programme.
The pupils’ knowledge of nutrition could be described as very good. They were excited when they saw the game out on the table and were curious and receptive.I randomly divided them into two groups; yellow and blue and give each group a pen and paper for writing down discussion points etc.I explained the symbols on the game and also wrote them on the white board so that pupils could refer to it if they forgot.
We started the game and the pupils were engaged from the outset. Some questions they knew immediately e.g. a portion of fruit is a handful. Others they discussed at length. The picture cards without doubt stimulated the most discussion and the pupils spoke with confidence and made great insightful thoughts about these cards particularly in relation to self – esteem and body image.
I loved the questions on body image and air brushing and the picture cards. These were excellent for generating discussion.
The cards and the board game itself were of a very high quality, robust, colourful and stimulating.
It was informative and fun.
A great basis for group work which can be pupil lead.
I believe that the game could be played twice with a group by perhaps picking out specific questions e.g.do factual answering questions in one session and then move on to discussion questions in another and incorporate the game into a lesson plan rather than spending and hour playing the whole game. Alternatively, teachers could include some exam style questions (thus linking it to exam specifications) within the game to make it even more relevant to the abilities of the pupils who are playing the game.
Points to note
Although I did point out to the pupils that the timer was used to time discussion questions we felt that it was basically “redundant” as pupils discussions seem to come to a natural ending.
Pupils did get confused between the pictures on the board which are surrounded in different colours; they assumed that when they landed on a square with a picture that they had to pick a picture card and answer it. I would recommend explaining instructions clearly from the outset.
I feel that the facilitator needs to read the questions in advance and be prepared for questions or reactions that the game might generate.
For secondary schools there is also the possibility that you could link exam style questions to the game e.g. Name two nutrients and explain the functions of each. Which vitamin is needed for the absorption of iron? Name a deficiency disease?
Comments and thoughts
Here is a comment from the school nurse who observed the pupils playing this game
“We watched this game played by 9 pupils in 2 teams. Their knowledge base was remarkable – awareness of recommended daily intake of fruit and vegetables, awareness of how food impacts on health etc. The game prompted intelligent comments and questions. The pupils seemed engaged and interested. As a health professional, I think this is a very useful tool for engaging young people in discussions around food and health. It was fun and informative”.
Thoughts from Deputy Head of Pastoral Care
“The pupils were very engaged in debate as the Food, Mood and Health Game progressed and it also tested the pupils’ subject knowledge as food pupils. This game has excellent potential for use in schools”
Thoughts from Head of Food and Nutrition
“I really like this game. It is colourful, imaginative and pupils were engaged in activities from the outset. As a food teacher, I was impressed by the broad range of topics covered throughout this game. As hoped there were many questions linked to nutrition and the role of food in promoting both positive physical and mental health. Questions were also linked to social, personal and ethical topics such as using Fairtrade produce, bullying, self – esteem and body image. As many young people struggle with body image issues I feel that the picture cards on airbrushing were particularly effective at engaging pupils and generated some very insightful discussions and questions. I would recommend this game to any teachers who wish to promote nutrition and health within their classrooms”.
Comments from pupils
“It was a really fun way of learning about food, mood and health”
“I really liked the questions on body image especially the one with the four different women where you had to discuss who was healthy and why. It was really interesting.”
So all in all I think this game is a valuable resource. I have used it with year 8 pupils who enjoyed it but were extremely competitive and determined to add up the scores correctly. I also used it with my year 13 pupils (many of who wish to go to university to study health and nutrition) and they really benefited from the discussion points raised. It has also been used positively across the PSHE curriculum within school and will feature in next year 9 scheme of work for the new curriculum. So if you are interested check it out at http://www.foodmoodandhealth.co.uk
If you are interested in other blogs clicks on well being click on the links below: