Thursday, September 24, 2009

Product Review: Nutrition 101

Each week we spend Monday afternoons with my mom (Nohnie) and complete school at her house. I set aside this time for us to do educational activities with her, like music lessons or field trips, so that we can enjoy the blessings of a multi-generational study. When I told my mom about the latest product I received to review, Nutrition 101: Choose Life from Growing Healthy Homes, she requested to be included in the study. Nutrition 101 was a perfect fit for our multi-gen time as it is written for students of all ages, moms and grandmas included.

It teaches nutrition by integrating health studies into the teaching of the systems of the human body. For instance, in the first unit, Nutrition 101 students read about the brain and the nervous system. Then they are taught about Omega Fatty Acids and B-vitamins. Both of these impact the healthy performance of the nervous system and are taught within the context of the anatomy/biology lessons.

There are six units, each of which covers a different body system, and each unit is broken into chapters that contain well-written, informative content, full-color pictures, discussion questions, activities, additional resources, and "power recipes". Questions and activities are provided for younger and for older students, and the power recipes contain ingredients that promote the optimal function of the matching body system. The integration of health/nutrition into the study of biology/anatomy made both more interesting, probably because both areas of study seemed more applicable when presented together. The activities were all very fun and high interest, and the recipes were simple to fix and very tasty (though some ingredients were a little pricey).

A five-day schedule is suggested. Since Nohnie could not participate with us five days per week, we tweaked it a little to fit our needs. During our Monday meeting, we read one chapter together. I received the e-book version and did not want to print it. Nohnie presented a great solution which I am now using for all e-books. We connected my laptop to a projector and displayed the book on the living room wall.

I projected pictures with the full-screen option.

The text could be read very clearly off the full-screen display.

We were able to see the pages easily without crowding around the computer and were able to take turns reading. The pictures looked fabulous, too. The boys thought they were watching a movie and forgot that they were reading their lessons!

After we read, we chose an activity or two from the suggestions within the curriculum. The next Monday, we discussed the activities we were able to complete on our own during the week (like brushing our teeth with our dominate and non-dominate hand) or completed others that needed to be done as a group (like playing a 20-question game). These were all enjoyable and added to the study.

I would have liked Nutrition 101 a little more had more of the instructional ideas and activities focused more directly on the biology/anatomy concepts. To be fair, the main purpose of Nutrition 101 is to teach about healthy eating, and it hits the mark there. However, so much good information on the function of the systems of the human body is presented that I wanted to take the learning further in that direction and had to supplement with additional resources, games, and worksheets geared more directly toward biology.

The last thing we did each Monday was prepare the power recipe and have a tasty and healthy afternoon snack. As we ate, I used this time to review the content and discuss the nutrients contained within each food and which parts of our body we were positively impacting. The boys were often times hesitant about eating certain foods. They are picky eaters, but the program offers many suggestions on working through this. The boys were challenged each week to try new foods and found that they liked more than they thought they did or would.

Nutrition 101 also contains over 30 appendices that are chock full of related and helpful information, such as the nutritional value of particular foods and how to select produce. We used the produce-selection appendix often as the boys selected all the produce we needed for the recipes. There are also full-color charts and pictures within the appendices that made it very easy to use with young children.

I give Nutrition 101: Choose Life two thumbs up. We are all, mom and grandma included, learning so much and changing the way we think about food in the process. You can order the Nutrition 101: Choose Life CD-ROM for $79.95. A printed version is available for $99.95, or you can by the CD-ROM and printed version combo for $129.95.

1 comment:

Christy said...

Love the projector idea! ...Maybe someday. :)