CUPS (Cross-curricular Unit on Portion Size)
Why was the CUPS program developed?
In schools, time is very precious and teachers have to juggle with covering all the major subjects of the curriculum. With the curriculum becoming overly crowded, nutrition education is not taught often and sometimes not even at all. This lack of time is one of the largest barriers to teaching about nutrition. The challenge to incorporate nutritional subjects into the curriculum with just limited time available can be made easier.
The CUPS program targets this barrier by integrating nutrition with mathematics and thereby supporting the learning of both subjects. It involves an experiential approach using mathematics cubes and food models to engage students. In particular, students will be able to learn about portion size, food groups, volume and measurement.
This teaching unit is one out of many possible connections between nutrition and other core subjects in primary schools. With this teaching strategy, all teachers might be able to overcome this time-limiting factor and support their students in developing a healthy lifestyle without it affecting their usual teaching.
Who has developed it?
The development of this teaching unit including 5 lessons is still ongoing and involves the cooperation of professionals in the field of Nutrition research, Educational research and Teaching. This multidisciplinary team has been working together closely to integrate portion size and mathematics education into one teaching unit. Using experts with both a background in teaching and research will create a solid basis to implement the lessons in the school setting and further develop the program by collecting and analysing data on teachers’ and students’ perspectives. As the CUPS program is part of Berit Follong’s PhD at the University of Newcastle, she is the leading researcher on the project. She will be responsible for the development and execution of the program in primary schools.
USING AN INTEGRATED APPROACH TO IMPROVE THE LEARNING OF BOTH NUTRITION AND MATHEMATICS IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS
For who is it?
The learning outcomes targeted by the CUPS program are from the “Personal Development, Health and Physical Education” and Mathematics NSW syllabus. We designed the program for teachers and students in Stage 2 (Year 3 and/or 4). The effectiveness of the teaching unit will be assessed in this age group. However, the lesson content and learning outcomes can easily be adjusted to suit other school levels as well. Be aware that this means that results from our intervention study might not be applicable to other Stages.
Development so far...
The effectiveness of the CUPS program regarding several student and teacher related outcomes will be explored in a future trial. We are currently seeking Year 3 and/or 4 teachers and their students from Catholic schools to run the program and take measurements.