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Lesson objective:

 This lesson is designed to encourage students to explore how sample ingredients in our food affect the basic needs of living things.

Year Level: Year 1 | Duration: 45 minutes – 1 hour | Revised: 24 March 2014

Subject area: SCIENCE

Learning areas (ACARA National Curriculum):

  • ACSSU211 – Living things live in different places where their needs are met.
  • ACSHE022 – People use science in their daily lives, including when caring for their environment and living things.
  • ACSIS024 – Resond to and pose questions, and make predictions about familiar objects and events.
  • ACSIS027 – Uses a range of methods to sort information, including drawings and provided tables.
  • ACSIS213 – Compare observations with those of others.

Brief lesson outline:

Students will get into groups and be given a sample lunch box containing a list of food items. Each group will complete the Paddock to Plate work sheet, linking each food item to the animal they derive from. Each group will discuss to the rest of the class which animals are used to provide their ingredients.

As a class, students will brainstorm on the board the basic needs (e.g. habitat, food, social needs, freedom from pain and stress) of all the animals they discussed earlier. Students will be asked to think about the kindest way to raise animals for food so that their basic needs can be met.

Optional: Students will be asked to write a letter to Old MacDonald suggesting ways he could make his animals happier on his farm. Students can write about raising chickens, pigs or cows.



  • Writing materials

Prior Knowledge:


Humane education objectives:

  • Students will consider the physical and emotional needs of food animals, devising ways in which these needs can be met
  • Students will question the way in which food animals are raised and treated on factory farms today
  • Students will make the important link between the food they eat and the animals that provide it
  • Optional: Students will learn how to peacefully take active steps towards change (writing a letter to Old MacDonald)


1. INTRODUCTION (10 minutes)

1.1 Ask students what they have eaten for breakfast this morning, dinner the day before, lunch the day before, morning the day before and so on

1.2 Ask student where they think their food comes from. Allow an open discussion and focus on food ingredients that derive from animals

1.3 Discuss with students the natural characteristic of chickens, cows and pigs (refer to Paddock to Plate Resource sheet)

2. BODY (10 minutes)

2.1 Divide students into four groups and assign each to a sample lunchbox provided in the Paddock to Plate Resource Kit

2.2. Ask each group to look at the ingredients in their sample lunchboxes and link it to the animal it comes from in their work sheet

3. CONCLUSION (5 minutes)

3.1 Ask each group to read out which ingredients were contained in their sample lunchbox and what animals those ingredients derived from

4. REFLECTION (20 minutes)

4.1 Brainstorm on the board the basic needs of each food animal discussed by each group. Prompt questions like: Where do chickens like to live? What food do calves like to eat? Do pigs like to live alone or with their families?

4.2 Ask students how they think is the kindest way to raise animals for food, so that their basic needs can be met (e.g. with lots of space to move in, with their friends and families, free from cages or crates, outside in the sun and fresh air etc.)


Ask each student to write a letter to Old MacDonald suggesting ways he could raise his animals to live happily on his farm. Students can choose from chickens, pigs and cows. Allow students to illustrate their ideas through drawings if desired.

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