A Study on Breakfast in Schools

Is it important? What do we do about it?

Background Info:

  • Breakfast means ‘break the fast’. Breakfast is important in re-fueling the body with energy and nutrients, kick-starting the day. If breakfast is skipped, the result can be feeling lethargic and tired and lead to difficulty concentrating and behavior difficulties in the school environment.
  • Breakfast provides children with energy and essential nutrients, including iron, calcium and vitamins B and C, which are necessary for growth, development and good health. Children who eat breakfast each day are much more likely to meet their daily nutritional requirements, as a good quality breakfast can provide a child with up to a third of their daily nutrient needs.
  • Eating breakfast can also reduce the risk of obesity, as breakfast is often replaced by mid-morning snacks that tend to be high in fat, sugar and salt. Skipping breakfast can also lead to over eating throughout the rest of the day, increasing the risk of becoming overweight or obese.
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Inquiry Lesson Plan

Identify the problem: Students will survey 10 of their peers and ask them if they ate breakfast and if they know what a healthy breakfast should look like. Student will come back together to make a simple graph representing the number of students who ate breakfast as well as the number of students who know what a healthy breakfast looks like. This is where we will identify the problem and lead to a discussion on how this is the norm in schools today.

Research the problem: Students will look into how breakfast affects their energy levels and school performances and decide if it is important to have breakfast especially before they start the school day. Students will also research what a healthy breakfast should look like. *Here we will answer our compelling question.

Examine Solutions: Students will decide what a healthy breakfast looks like according to their research. Students will look into possible solutions for children who don’t eat breakfast. Many schools implement a free breakfast program in the cafeteria before class starts. Some schools are now bringing breakfast into the classroom. *As a bonus field trip I would take the students to a cooking class to learn about healthy breakfast items and how to prepare them.* Here we will answer supporting question 1.

Communicate solutions: Students will create a plate that has a healthy breakfast. Students will write a letter to their school to either persuade them to have a breakfast program including the research they found or if their school does have one they will thank them for providing it so that they may have optimal brain function during class time. *Here we will answer supporting question 2.

Teaching Materials+Resources

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§113.15. Social Studies, Grade 4

17 (B) explain how individuals can participate voluntarily in civic affairs at state and local levels through activities such as holding public officials to their word, writing letters, and participating in historic preservation and service projects

§110.15. English Language Arts and Reading, Grade 4

18 (B) write letters whose language is tailored to the audience and purpose (e.g., a thank you note to a friend) and that use appropriate conventions (e.g., date, salutation, closing); and

§115.6. Health Education, Grade 4.

1 (A) identify the benefits of six major nutrients contained in foods; (F) identify the importance of taking personal responsibility for developing and maintaining a personal health plan such as fitness, nutrition, stress management, and personal safety.

§111.6. Mathematics, Grade 4

1 (B) use a problem-solving model that incorporates analyzing given information, formulating a plan or strategy, determining a solution, justifying the solution, and evaluating the problem-solving process and the reasonableness of the solution;

§112.15. Science, Grade 4

2 (A) plan and implement descriptive investigations, including asking well-defined questions, making inferences, and selecting and using appropriate equipment or technology to answer his/her questions;


Adolphus, K., Lawton, C. L., & Dye, L. (2013, August 8). The effects of breakfast on behavior and academic performance in children and adolescents. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3737458/

Balignat, M. (2016, April 6). With one change, this school doubled the number of kids eating school breakfast. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/with-one-change-this-school-doubled-the-number-of-kids-eating-school-breakfast/2016/04/05/561089cc-fb47-11e5-80e4-c381214de1a3_story.html

Bakies, K. (2014, October 20). The Breakfast Benefit: Why Schools Should Make Morning Meals a Priority. Retrieved from http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2014/10/20/the-breakfast-benefit-why-schools-should-make-morning-meals-a-priority

Heart-healthy breakfast. (2007). Department of Agriculture: Dental Abstracts, 52(5), 280.

Moser, L. (2016, March 18). It’s Not a Problem That Some Kids Eat a Second School Breakfast. It’s a Problem That Some Get None.