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Review of:

Nutrition Voyage: The Quest To Be Our Best

Image courtesy of:
USDA Team Nutrition
Producer:USDA Team Nutrition
Date Produced:July 2012
  • Booklet
  • Middle School (9-12 yrs)
  • General Nutrition
  • Physical Activity
  • Eating Patterns
  • Portion Sizes
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Calories
Description:Nutrition Voyage: The Quest To Be Our Best includes three lessons (treks) for each grade that are filled with: 1) Engaging ways for students to learn about making healthy food and physical activity choices. 2) Standards-aligned activities for Math, Science, and English Language Arts. 3)Opportunities for students to investigate, participate in a challenge, evaluate, and reflect. Don't worry; you don't need a lot of time or fancy supplies for these treks. Nutrition Voyage's lessons are ready to go and simple to use. Lesson activities require few supplies and include reproducible handouts. The lessons are designed to be easy for Math, Science, and English teachers to integrate the activities into their course curricula. Whether your school is embarking on the challenge to reach "Produce Peak," investigating nutritious snack choices to fuel their trek, or conducting a school survey, it's sure to be an exciting adventure. We wish you and your school a happy nutrition voyage! Trek on!
Cost:Free for Team Nutrition Schools
Ordering Info:http://tn.ntis.gov/
Web Site:http://healthymeals.nal.usda.gov/hsmrs/nutrition_voyage.html


A. Use of MyPlate/MyPlate or the Dietary Guidelines for Americans
Material based substantially on MyPlate or 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

MyPlate is not shown or referenced directly, but there are referrals to the website.
B. Scope
Scope of information appropriate for target audience and essential topics discussed in appropriate detail.
C. Purpose
Purpose of material clearly stated in title or introduction.
D. Organization
Material well-organized and major points presented clearly.
E. Accuracy
Information contains minor inaccuracies.

Grade 7 materials emphasize that solid fats are extra calories. They provide calories, but so do liquid fats. Both can be extra calories. Not until Grade 8 Trek 2 is there a minor note that the main problem with solid fats as different from liquid fats is the solid's effect on heart health. Another inaccuracy is a statement in Grade 7, Trek 1 is that 'Proteins also provide energy.' They may, but don't usually in normal nutritional status. There is also potential to misinterpret a statement regarding popcorn is listed as a whole grain, but with no mention of the added fats that usually come with it in purchased for microwave or ready to eat.
F. Learner Background
Material assumes that reader has some background information.

Materials assume the teacher has enough background information to expand on the basics in the materials to work with the students effectively.
G. Learning Objectives
Learning objectives identifiable and met.
H. Learning Activities, Projects, or Interactive Learning Tools
Material includes a variety of stimulating and interesting learning experiences, questions, projects, or suggestions for further action that will involve the reader.

If carried out as directed, the students will do a variety of activities. This is written for the teacher to guide the class through the steps.
I. Objectivity/Sponsor Bias
Subject matter presented objectively and fairly. No brand name promotion or obvious sponsor bias.
J. Inclusion of learning objectives, learner activities, instructional aids, lesson plans, evaluation component, identification of required instructional materials, web site with additional materials.
Material includes five or more of the above.

The teacher needs to be able to direct students in making the graphs, blogs, posters, videos, slideshows etc. These are all suggested, but no directions are given for how to do them, so if the teacher or students don't know how to do these activities, this material won't be much help.
K. Recipes (if included)
No recipes are included.
L. Recipes (if included)
No recipes are included.
M. Instructional Resources
Instructor resources included with suggestions for enhancing the teaching process. Suggestions for follow-up learning activities/discussion questions included.

Lots of suggestions for other activities, involving other classes, activities, and projects that would require materials, other persons, time, resources, and possibly more expertise.
N. Credits, References and Resources (Including dates, publisher, etc.)
Current and complete credits, references, and resources listed.
O. Summary
All major ideas summarized or reviewed to reinforce key concepts; summaries easily identified.

Print Materials
A. Writing Style
Main ideas are clear and flow smoothly.
B. Writing Approach
Writing approach is positive and personal. Active voice is used most of the time.
C. Vocabulary
Vocabulary used is appropriate for intended audience. Minimizes use of technical terms and if used, are defined.

Vocabulary is for teachers, not students, especially in the sections relating to the educational standards.
D. Supportive Illustrations

The only illustrations, other than header graphics, are the printable handout/activity sheets for the students. Some of them are very full of small print words, with what I would consider not enough space for students to write in their responses. Putting the information on one handout and leaving more space for the students to fill in their information on the other would be preferable.
E. Layout and Design
Color, design, and layout are distracting; too much print on the page.

Most of the materials are for the teachers, not the students. Most are adequate for the teachers, but the handouts for the students are very busy, small print, not enough space to write their answers, and directions are not always clear at first reading.
F. Visual Quality
Paper weight used is heavy enough so that print from one side cannot be seen on the other side. Text is written in a font size that is easy to read, and the main body is not written in capital letters.
G. Headings/Cueing Devices
Clear headings are provided for each topic area. Cueing devices (shading, boxes, arrows, etc.) are used to direct attention to key points.
H. Approximate Reading Level
Reading level is at 9th grade level or above.

Web Sites
A. Currentness of Information
Web site information is current; there are no broken hyperlinks.

All referrals are to ChooseMyPlate.gov. It's a great site, but can be overwhelming if you're looking for something specific.
B. Readability
Text size is adequate for viewing. Some portions of text difficult to read.

These print materials are for the teachers, but the handout pages for the students are crammed with small print and not much space for them to write their answers.
C. Navigation
Navigation through the web site is logical and aided by navigation buttons and a site map or search tool.

Only navigation is through ChooseMyPlate.

Overall Comments on Resource Reviewed

A. Positive Points of the Reviewed Resource:
The 'trek' theme is a good idea. It's good that educational standards are listed for each section. There are lots of suggested additional activities. They would help guide the students through self-reflection of their eating patterns, and could help them become more aware of what they eat, as well as what's available in the school.
B. Points that Could Be Improved:
There are a few points of nutritional accuracy that could be improved. The font size and spaces for writing on the student handouts, survey, etc could definitely be larger to allow more space for answers, and easier legibility. And the teacher has to know or have access to help for all the math techniques, the graphing and charting, the blog, video and powerpoint slide techniques to guide the students through all the suggested activities.
C. General Comments
This is not a self-contained set of lessons. There are a lot of activities that require outside resources, participation by other classes, probably assistance from other teachers or resources, materials for posters and videos, field trips that require buses, chaperons, etc. Some schools will manage that, others will not. Also, there are suggestions that the students try to initiate changes in the foods available at the school if they find deficiencies. I don't know about other districts, but that would be pretty futile in some, especially the larger districts that have contracts for supplies a year or more in advance. It could be very frustrating and time consuming for the students.
D. Overall Summary
The investment in getting the set of lesson plans is minimal. They are available in print or on line. It would be worth it for teachers to review the materials carefully and assess their resources before deciding to start the series. These are good ideas and activities, but they require a lot more than just the lesson plans to accomplish. They might find some ideas they could use whether they use the whole set of lessons or not.

Reviewer Rating
Any opinions expressed about any resource in this web site (either expressly or implied) are solely and completely the responsibility of the reviewer and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior.


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