Search for Resources

Labelling Literacy

Elementary, Middle


This document will provide teachers of grades 4-6 with activities that will help students understand information provided on food labels. The document is divided into three sections, each aimed at one of the three grades. Each section contains five or six activities that end in a performance assessment task. Each grade has a specific focus – nutrition and healthy eating for grade 4, language arts and nutrition in grade 5, and visual arts and nutrition in grade 6.

This review is only for the grade 6 portion of the resource.

Lesson 1 – Individually or in small groups, students take a look at cereal boxes to identify the common elements of the packaging. Students then draft several designs for their own cereal box.

Lesson 2 – Students discuss the impact of colour and the messages colour convey. They then choose one of their drafts from Lesson 1 to use for their final project.

Lesson 3 – Students discuss the impact of different lettering styles on labels and choose a lettering style for their final project.

Lesson 4 – Students will analyze their eating habits and choices, focusing on cereal. In partners, they then create and use a survey to analyze others food choices. Students compile and present their findings to the class.

Lesson 5 – Individually, students finish their final cereal box design and complete a self evaluation as part of the performance task.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • how to use line to direct the viewer’s attention
  • using colour and font to convey meaning in a two-dimensional format


  • contains interesting and motivating activities
  • easy to read lesson set-up
  • integrates a variety of subjects
  • provides a good introduction with nutritional background knowledge
  • provides direct links given to Ontario curriculum learning outcomes
  • provides clear criterion-based performance assessment template
  • provides extensive resource suggestions made for food labeling, advertising and healthy eating


  • the unit is integrated with art and requires artistic knowledge but no resource suggestions or templates are given and little background knowledge is provided
  • the performance checklist has no information on how the possible points are assigned or awarded
  • mo specifics on what nutritional information is specifically required for the cereal box, i.e. are the students creating their own information or just assigning percentages for the nutrients usually given on a cereal box?
  • no lesson to lesson assessments are provided, though it is suggested
  • the grade 6 unit is developed with the assumption that the students have completed the grades 4 and 5 units and have already learned the background knowledge
  • no background knowledge is given for teachers whose students did not do the previous units in prior grades

Relevant Curriculum Units

The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.

Themes Addressed

  • Citizenship (1)

    • Media
  • Human Health & Environment (1)

    • Health Promotion

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives GoodThe introduction outlines purposes for resource.
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
  • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
  • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
  • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Poor/Not consideredAlthough many of these dimensions could be easily integrated by the teacher, they are not the explicit purpose of the unit,
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity SatisfactoryThe problems are more complex than the activities allow.
Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Poor/Not consideredNo action skills are used in the unit.
Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Poor/Not consideredSome investigation is done into why students would choose particular food products based on colour, name, font, etc. of food packaging but much more in-depth exploration could be done.
Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Poor/Not consideredThere is no involvement with or discussions around any of these issues.
Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Poor/Not considered
Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
  • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning SatisfactoryThe unit offers the option of asking students to bring product labels from their own homes. More effort could be made to connect this lesson to the students' lives.
Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Poor/Not consideredNo statistics or information is given on how labeling has affected or continues to affect the population. There is a vision for the future: once students know how to read information on labels, they will make healthier food choices.
Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Very Good
Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Very GoodThe resource purposefully integrates a different subject area focus for each grade with the healthy living topic. A variety of subject areas are developed and practiced within each grade’s unit, i.e. Nutrition and Healthy Eating in grade 4, Language Arts and Nutrition in grade 5, and Visual Arts and Nutrition in grade 6.
Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Poor/Not considered
Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.


Differentiated Instruction Very GoodLearning styles that are addressed include: visual, auditory, written, artistic, individual and group activities. ESL and learning assistance students could easily be integrated into the delivery of this unit.
Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Poor/Not considered
Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
Cooperative Learning Very GoodExtensions are provided with each lesson.
Cooperative Learning:

Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.

  • Satisfactory:  students work in groups
  • Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation SatisfactoryExtensive assessment, including self-assessment and reflection, is given for the final project but very little is provided for specific lessons.
Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Poor/Not consideredStudents share their knowledge in group discussions and group work but their final products are not explicitly shared with the class, although they could be. Each student is learning the same materials.
Peer Teaching:

Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.

  • Satisfactory: incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good: an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Poor/Not consideredThe unit does study specific cereal boxes, possibly from students’ homes. However, no "cases" or references are provided.
Case Studies:

Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

Locus of Control SatisfactoryA few opportunities for choice are provided in the extensions and the medium can be flexible but none of this is provided specifically within the unit expectations or assessment suggestions.
Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.