In this lesson, students will begin by assessing what they know about the topic of sugar by completing a 3-2-1 Bridge visible thinking routine.
In order to learn about sugar and the effect it has on the human body, students will watch and summarise the information from two clips made by the people behind That Sugar Film. In a jigsaw classroom activity, students will dig deeper into the different forms that sugar can take. They will then consider the nutritional information of a food or drink in order to understand if it contains added sugar. The lesson concludes with students reflecting on their learning by revisiting the 3-2-1 Bridge visible thinking routine.
- understand the (physiological) impact of sugar on our bodies
- understand that sugar can take many different forms and be known as many different things
- understand how to find out about the amount of added sugar a food or drink contains
- describe the effect that sugar has on our bodies
- identify sugar in a list of ingredients
- calculate how much added sugar is in a food/drink that they consume on a regular basis
Lesson guides and printables
- Device capable of presenting a video to the class
- Device capable of creating audiovisual recordings, such as an iPad or camera
- ‘Different names for sugar‘ information sheets – for jigsaw classroom activity
- ‘61 Names for Sugar’ poster – printed, one per student
- Students to bring in packaging of a food/drink that they consume on a regular basis OR web-enabled devices for students to research the nutrition information of a food/drink
These lessons were developed in partnership with SugarByHalf and the Australian Dental Association. Guardians of the Gums was written by Bee Healthy Stories; if you would like to see more of their stories, head to beehealthystories.com.au.
SugarByHalf (https://www.sugarbyhalf.com/) promotes action to reduce sugar-related diseases so that we can live better, stronger and healthier lives.
Their message is simple: to reduce added sugar consumption by half. Eating too much added sugar is a key driver of serious health problems including obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, tooth decay, dementia and mental health conditions. A poor diet also puts children behind their peers, affecting brain development, sleep and ability to learn. Poor diet choices ultimately mean that this generation of children could be the first in modern history to live shorter lives than their parents.
Much of the added sugar in our diet comes from the processed foods and drinks we consume. On average, we consume 14-16 teaspoons of added sugar per day. Teenagers consume more than 20 teaspoons per day. The World Health Organisation says we should limit our daily added sugar intake to 6 teaspoons for good health. To put that in perspective, there are 4 grams of sugar in one teaspoon. If something has 20 grams of sugar, that's 5 teaspoons of sugar.
This English lesson focuses on developing the skills and knowledge students need to critically consider messages about food and drink they are exposed to, thereby equipping them to be able to make healthy choices.
Talking about health
- Be mindful of students who may experience weight stigma. Some students may be sensitive to conversations around weight, body size or shape. Terms including obesity, weight issues, weight-problem and fat can be stigmatising for some people because they assign blame. It is important to note individual preferences around language vary. Research has shown using the terms ‘weight’, ‘weight gain’, ‘healthy weight’, ‘unhealthy weight’, and ‘high BMI’ are preferred as better alternatives.
- Be mindful about how you use the word ‘diet’. We recommend focussing students on the positive impacts of healthy nutrition and healthy lifestyles which help us to have stronger bodies and minds, feel good and sleep well.
- Steer students away from any focus on appearances by communicating that appearance does not determine your worth. We recommend the fact sheets from the Butterfly Foundation on body image tips at
- Avoid using labels such as obese or diabetic. Refer to people living with diabetes, people living with cancer, people with high BMI etc.