Thanksgiving Food Pyramid

Kathryn Gregory
Multiple Subject Teacher

Students will discuss the foods that are traditionally eaten at Thanksgiving in the United States and place them into food groups based on the food pyramid.

Grade Level: 1 - 3rd

Subject: Science

Length of Time: 30 - 40 Minutes

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Objectives & Outcomes

Students will analyze the nutritional value of the foods that will be eaten around Thanksgiving. Students will create a 3D pyramid.

Materials Needed

  • food pyramid overhead worksheet for the teacher (attached)
  • blank food pyramid worksheets for students (can be found online)
  • glue
  • colored pencils


Opening to Lesson

  • Teacher asks students what they ate for lunch today and writes the responses on the board.
    • Milk, chicken, broccoli, etc…
  • Tell students that all of these foods belong in their own group which they will learn about today.

Body of Lesson


  • Put a picture of the food guide pyramid on the board and explain the importance of eating a variety of foods and a balanced meal.
  • Leave the image projected for the class to use as a reference.
  • Discuss a balanced diet and healthy eating habits.

Guided Practice

  • Ask students what they normally eat for Thanksgiving.
  • Pair students with their partners and have them brainstorm all of the food that they eat.
  • Be culturally sensitive, especially to new students and if there are students that don’t or haven’t yet celebrated Thanksgiving Day. Explain or have a student partner explain the US tradition of eating with the family and being thankful.
  • Write the food groups on the board or on chart paper: Grains, Vegetables, Fruits, Meats and Protein, Dairy, Sweets.
  • After they have had time to work in partners, call on students to share and write the answers on the board under each listed food group.
  • This will act as a crutch for students in the next activity.

Independent Practice

  • Pass out the blank food pyramid worksheet.
  • Guide students in order to help them label each section of the food pyramid.
  • Make sure to walk around to check for accuracy and understanding.
  • Next, allow students time to sort through the traditional Thanksgiving Day foods.
  • Ask children to group each type of food into the correct location on the food pyramid.


  • Allow time for students to discuss their findings with groups or shoulder partners
  • The following should be addressed: Which group had the most food? Was this a well-balanced meal? What new information did you learn?
  • Students can then share their findings during a whole group discussion.
  • Send the students home with the pyramids to share with their family for Thanksgiving.

Read our guide to teaching about the many holidays throughout the year here.

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Assessment & Evaluation

Teacher can assess conceptual understanding by noting student responses during the group discussion at the end of the lesson. Teacher can also use the blank food pyramid worksheet to check for accuracy in grouping food items.

Modification & Differentiation

Some students may need help understanding the food groups. Teacher can provide a mini lesson to those students who need extra help. In addition, teacher can allow students to work with partners or small groups.

Learn more about becoming a Science Teacher.

Teaching about holidays can be tricky, learn more here.

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