The Evolution of Diet

Common Core Standards


Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 6-8 texts and topics.

Next Generation Science Standards:


Obtain and combine information about ways individual communities use science ideas to protect the Earth’s resources and environment.

Target audience:

Grades 6-8


  • Describe the range of eating lifestyles that exist.
  • Link food choice with animal ethics, personal health, and environmentalism.

Key words:

Diet; Vegan; Vegetarian; Flexitarian; Pescetarian; Pollotarian; Paleolithic/Paleo

(Using Key words: Students can create a glossary, in books or on wall in classroom. Students are encouraged to practice using vocab in written or verbal sentences – perhaps writing example sentences and displaying them. Students could earn points for using the vocab in novel sentences each week)


  • PowerPoint – The Evolution of Diet
  • Food ingredients OR Food pictures



Class Discussion

Q: How would you define the word ‘diet’? Think of ways diet is interpreted by your family, friends, social media, magazines, TV, etc.

Q: Some people think the word ‘diet’ has a negative connotation. Are there other words we can use instead? (e.g., nutrition plan, nutrition therapy, eating philosophy, meal plan, eating lifestyle)

Q: What are some examples of diets?

Q: Are all diets healthy?

Go through Powerpoint slides.

Group Activity (after Powerpoint slides): To Eat, Or Not To Eat

Note: For this activity, either ingredients or pictures of ingredients may be used. The class will break up into teams of 4-5 students, and each team needs at least 1 ingredient from each food group listed below. Therefore, the total number of ingredients needed depends on the size of the class (e.g., if a class of size 20 breaks up into 5 teams of 4 students, then 5 ingredients from each food group are needed so that each team gets 1 ingredient from each food group).

Examples of possible ingredients to buy are listed below after each group name:

Grains: e.g., bread, oats, rice, pasta
Legumes: e.g., beans, lentils, chickpeas
Vegetables: e.g., broccoli, carrot
Fruits: e.g., apple, banana
Nuts/seeds: e.g., peanuts, cashews, almonds
Meat: e.g., bacon, jerky, chicken
Egg products: e.g., eggs, mayonnaise, quiche
Dairy products: e.g., milk, yoghurt, cheese

Break up into teams. Give each team at least 1 ingredient from each food group. Write the name of one eating lifestyle on the board (e.g., ‘VEGETARIAN’). On the count of three, have students group together all the ingredients that can be eaten within that diet as fast as they can. Teams will raise their hands when they are done. Check answers for each team that finishes (starting with the fastest team and ending with the slowest) and distribute points accordingly (e.g., 5 points for fastest correct team, 4 points for next fastest correct team).

Go through the rest of the eating lifestyles one by one, following this same procedure. After going through all eating lifestyles, tally up each team’s total points.

Further Activities/Homework:

Pick an eating lifestyle we learned about today and create a recipe that meets the conditions of this lifestyle. Try to make a balanced diet that incorporates as many food groups from My Plate as possible: Vegetables, Fruits, Grains, Protein, Dairy.

Are there food groups that are hard to include (e.g., dairy for vegans)? Research substitute foods that you can use instead (e.g., soy milk as a dairy alternative for vegans).

Cook up your meal to bring in for a classroom potluck!


Quality of predictions

Contributions to class discussion

Contributions to group work

Language Arts (writing, creative thinking)


Lesson Plan: The Evolution of Diet

PowerPoint: The Evolution of Diet

PowerPoint Outline: The Evolution of Diet