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Getting Rid of Sodas In School?


  • Health
    --Our Bodies
  • Social Studies
    --Current Events


Grades 2-up

News Content

A new agreement will eliminate soda and other sugary drinks from most schools.

Anticipation Guide

Before reading, ask students to agree or disagree with each of the statements below. This will set a purpose for reading; as they read, they will confirm their assumptions or learn something new.

  • Bottled water is a healthier drink than soda is.
  • Soda companies have agreed to stop selling sugary sodas in school.
  • Soda has some healthful nutrients in it.
  • Most U.S. kids burn more calories than they take in from the foods they eat.

News Words

Introduce the words below that are found in the News Word box on the students' printable page. Ask students to define the words.

  • absent -- not present, missing
  • vending machine -- a machine that provides goods when coins or dollar bills are inserted
  • sugary -- containing or tasting like sugar
  • statistics -- an item of numerical data, often determined by surveying groups of people
  • calories -- a scientific unit for measuring the amount of energy in food

Read the News

Click for a printable version of this week's news story Soda To Be Absent from Schools.

Reading the News

You might use a variety of approaches to reading the news:

* Read aloud the news story to students as they follow along.

* Students might first read the news story to themselves; then call on individual students to read the news aloud for the class.

* Arrange students into small groups. Each student in the group will read a paragraph of the story. As that student reads, others might underline important information or write a note in the margin of the story. After each student finishes reading, others in the group might say something -- a comment, a question, a clarification -- about the text.

More Facts to Share

You might share these additional facts with students after they have read this week's news story.

  • Major beverage distributors Cadbury Schweppes PLC, Coca-Cola Co., PepsiCo Inc, and the American Beverage Association have partnered in this agreement to stop selling non-diet soda in public schools. The agreement was spearheaded by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, the American Heart Association, and the William J. Clinton Foundation.
  • As a result of the agreement, elementary and middle school students will be able to buy unsweetened juices, low-fat milk, and water. High school students' choices will include diet sodas, unsweetened teas, low-calorie sports beverages, and seltzer.
  • Whole milk will no longer be offered to any schools because of its calorie content.
  • The new soft drink policy does not apply to school-related events such as interscholastic sporting events, school plays, and band concerts where parents and other adults comprise a significant portion of the audience.
  • The Alliance for a Healthier Generation recognizes that this agreement will not solve the problem of childhood obesity. That is a complex problem, and there is no one solution to it. According to a statement from the Clinton Foundation, however, "the policy announced today provides clear science-based guidelines to schools to provide lower calorie and more nutritious beverage options for children. These guidelines are one piece of the Alliance's strategy to help students to reduce calories consumed and to increase calories burned at school."
  • The Alliance for A Healthier Generation is a partnership between the American Heart Association and The William J. Clinton Foundation, with funding from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The Alliance is collaborating with a network of organizations and individuals concerned with childhood obesity and physical inactivity among America's youth. The Healthy Schools Program is an Alliance initiative that was launched February 2006.

Comprehension Check

Revisit the Anticipation Guide at the top of this lesson; ask students to respond again to the statements in it.

  • Bottled water is a healthier drink than soda is. (true)
  • Soda companies have agreed to stop selling sugary sodas in school. (true)
  • Soda has some healthful nutrients in it. (false, soda has nothing healthful at all in it)
  • Kids in the United States burn more calories than they take in from the foods they eat. (false, while some kids do, many take in more calories than they burn; that's why one of every three U.S. kids is overweight)

You might follow-up that activity by asking some of these questions:

Recalling Detail

  • How many soda makers have agreed to stop selling soda in schools? (three)
  • What are some of the drinks that the new agreement will allow to be sold in schools? (water, low-fat milk, juices with no sugar added)
  • How many calories can be found in a typical can of sugary soda? (150 calories)
  • When will the new rules about soda in schools take affect? (by the start of the school year 2008; note -- the rules will take affect earlier than that in many schools)

Think About the News
Discuss the Think About the News question that appears on the students' news page.

Follow-Up Activities

Health/Nutrition. Write the list of ten foods below on a board or chart. Ask students to organize the list in order from the food they believe has the fewest calories to the one that has the most. Students might do this activity on their own, or they might work with a partner to complete the task. Then you can go over the activity as a class. (If you teach younger students, you might divide this list of ten foods into two lists of five.) The placement on the list (#) and the number of calories for each food item is shown after the dashes.

  • apple pie (1 slice) -- #9, 405 calories
  • apples (raw, unpeeled) -- #2, 80 calories
  • bagels (plain, 1 bagel) -- #5, 200 calories
  • cheerios cereal (a 1-ounce serving) -- #3, 110 calories
  • cheese pizza (1 slice) -- #8, 290 calories
  • corn chips (1-ounce serving) -- #4, 155 calories
  • doughnuts (1 donut, plain) -- #6, 210 calories
  • macaroni and cheese (1 cup) -- #10, 430 calories
  • oranges (raw, 1 orange) -- #1, 60 calories
  • vanilla ice cream (1 cup) -- #7, 270 calories

Were there any findings that students were especially surprised by? Following are some additional common foods and their calories. You might challenge students to guess-timate the number of calories for each.

  • bananas (1 banana) -- 105 calories
  • celery (raw, 1 stalk) -- 5 calories
  • chicken noodle soup (canned, 1 cup) -- 75 calories
  • chocolate cake w/frosting (1 piece) -- 235 calories
  • eggs (1 egg, scrambled) -- 100 calories
  • macaroni and cheese (1 cup) -- 430 calories
  • pancakes (3 pancakes) -- 180 calories
  • peanuts (oil roasted and salted, 1 cup) -- 840 calories
  • rice (cooked white, 1 cup) -- 225 calories
  • strawberries (raw, 1 cup) -- 45 calories
  • toaster pastries (1 pastry) -- 210 calories


Physical Education. Just as you did with the list above, pose this list of physical activities to see if students can arrange them in order from the one that burns the fewest calories to the one that burns the most. The calories burned below represent the results of performing each activity for one hour.

  • Bicycling, 6 mph -- #2, 240 calories
  • Cross-country skiing -- #6, 700 calories
  • Jogging, 5 mph -- #7, 740 calories
  • Jumping rope -- #1, 50 calories
  • Swimming, 25 yds./min. -- #3, 275 calories
  • Tennis, singles -- #5, 400 calories
  • Walking, 3 mph -- #4, 320 calories

SOURCE: HealthGoods
Note: The numbers above are estimates. The number of actual calories burned depends on a variety of factors including the briskness of the activity and the weight of the individual. If you are interested in more accurate information, you might introduce students to an online physical activity calculator.


Use the Comprehension Check (above) as an assessment. Or have students work on their own (in their journals) or in their small groups to respond to the Think About the News question on the news story page.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

National Standards

National Standards

NL-ENG.K-12.1 Reading for Perspective
NL-ENG.K-12.2 Reading for Understanding
NL-ENG.K-12.6 Applying Knowledge
NL-ENG.K-12.12 Applying Language Skills

NPH.K-12.3 Physical Activity
NPH.K-12.4 Physical Fitness

NPH-H.K-4.3 Reducing Health Risks
NPH-H.K-4.4 Health Influences
GRADES 5 - 8
NPH-H.5-8.3 Reducing Health Risks
NPH-H.5-8.4 Health Influences
GRADES 9 - 12
NPH-H.9-12.3 Reducing Health Risks
NPH-H.9-12.4 Health Influences

See recent news stories in Education World's News Story of the Week Archive.

Article by Gary Hopkins
Education World®
Copyright © 2006 Education World