# Food Labels {Mental Math Activity}

Over a couple of weeks, have students collect food labels from 10 different packages of food they have had at home. Tell the students that they need to make a record of which food they took the label from. For example, if the food is a can of soup they need to record Tomato Soup and the size of the can in number of ounces.

To keep students organized, it’s a good idea to make up a simple worksheet for them where they can fill in the name of the food, the size in terms of ounces or other measurement, and a space for them to tape down the label from the food.

Once the class has brought in all their labels taped down on worksheets have them place them in a box. Then split the class into teams with four members each. Place this chart where students can use it for reference.

The goal of the activity is to have them plan a meal that meets but does not exceed the daily requirements on this chart. In order to create this meal they’ll need to use labels from the box. They can pull as few as 8 but as many as 12 labels to create their meals. They’ll need to use mental math to determine if their foods add up to or exceed the minerals allowed.

Students may end up with some interesting “meals” but no matter what finished meals they present, they’ll be practicing mental math and learning about mineral nutritional requirements at the same time. They may also notice how much sodium there is in processed foods!

Whichever team comes up with a meal that gets closest to the requirements, without exceeding them, for at least 3 of the minerals listed wins.