Healthy Halloween: Sugar Stacks!

This week, we learned how to find the information we need to make informed decisions about our sugar intake. This lesson was inspired by this ad:

This ad was a great reminder that we all love sweets and treats – we should just make an effort to enjoy sweets in moderation.

First, students examined the nutrition labels of some of our favorite candies to determine the serving size. Next, they identified the grams of sugar in each serving and modeled the grams of sugar using sugar cubes. (Note: Each sugar cube contains two grams of sugar, so students reviewed counting by twos and rounding up to the nearest even number while completing their model).


After each group shared the amount of sugar in each serving of candy, we made predictions of about how much sugar the American Heart Association says we can have each day and still be healthy. In fifth grade, guesses ranged from 4 – 300 grams. Students were surprised to discover that the American Heart Association recommends no more than 12 grams of sugar each day for children.


Given what we had learned about the American Heart Associations recommendations for sugar intake, we decide that one serving of any of these candies was too much so we used division strategies to find out how much sugar was in each piece of candy rather than a full serving. Students in the lower grades used informal division strategies by separating the groups (each individual candy) and distributing the sugar cubes evenly amongst the groups. Students in upper grades used long division to solve the problem.


Once students discovered about how much sugar was in each individual candy, they were able to use addition strategies to make informed decisions on about how much candy they should eat each day.

20131102-101347.jpgWe also talked about other ways that sugar sneaks into our diet through breakfast cereals…



And sodas. Upper grades students were even able to use multiplication strategies to determine how many days worth of sugar is in each soda (almost a week’s worth!) 20131102-101335.jpg

At the conclusion of this lesson, I hope that students will have the tools and knowledge they need to make informed decisions about their sugar intake. They should know the American Heart Association’s recommendation for daily sugar intake and understand how to find information about sugar in the foods they eat by using the Nutrition Label.



2 thoughts on “Healthy Halloween: Sugar Stacks!

  1. Jenna, thank you for this excellent lesson – Lucas mentioned it at home – but managed to calculate that since he had no cereal for breakfast and no candy yet and we don’t drink sodas, he is allowed one candy because AHA says so ! I had no idea where he got it but now I do – it definitely stuck with him….love when the school reinforces some of the messaging in a fun way !

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