These lesson plans have been developed so that your pupil’s will have the opportunity to learn about the Food Pyramid, healthy eating, the importance of partaking in regular physical activity, dental hygiene, dairy and the environment and the story of milk ‘from grass to your glass’.

Lesson Plans


To develop pupils’ understanding of dairy products as an important food for promoting growth, providing energy and for keeping us healthy as part of a balanced diet.

Duration: 30 minutes (approximately)



Myself Taking care of my body Food and nutrition



Milk and food made from milk, such as cheese and yogurt.

Food Pyramid

A pyramid which helps us to know which types of food belong together. The Food Pyramid has shelves with the same types of food placed together on a shelf.

Balanced Diet

Eating the correct amount of food and different types of food.


Display the Department of Health’s Food Pyramid and indicate the ‘milk, yogurt and cheese’ shelf. Ask pupils to name some foods from this shelf. Then, using the Food Pyramid poster, discuss the following ideas about the shelf and record discussion points on the board.

Simple Food Pyramid Download

  • Recommended servings – it is recommended to have 3 servings from the ‘milk, yogurt and cheese’ food group each day. An example of one serving includes 200ml of milk, 125g of yogurt or 25g of hard cheese. Reduced-fat and low-fat varieties are recommended.
  • Milk, yogurt and cheese are important as part of a healthy balanced diet – they are all excellent sources of calcium, as well as other important things we need to keep our body working, like vitamins. We need calcium to keep our bones and teeth healthy.
  • Bone health:
  • The type of foods we eat and our physical activity levels can affect our bones.
  • It is important to look after our bones when we are young.
  • Vitamin D is important for looking after our bone health. We can get vitamin D from fish, egg yolk, and vitamin D fortified dairy.
  • It is also important to do regular physical activities which put the weight of our body on our feet and legs. Activities like dancing, running, gymnastics and tennis are good activities for our bone health.


Ask pupils to chat in groups about their favourite foods from the ‘milk, yogurt and cheese’ group. Then ask them, as a group, to draw how they include dairy in their diet throughout the day.

For example:

  • Starting the day with a bowl of warm porridge made with milk.
  • Drinking a carton or bottle of School Milk each day.
  • Including cheese cubes with chopped apple for small break.
  • Including natural yogurt served with chopped berries for school lunch.
  • Having milk in soups or sauces at dinner time.
  • Making a snack of melted cheese on wholegrain toast.
  • Including milk in scrambled egg or omelettes for dinner.
  • Having a cup of warm milk before bed.

Personal Activity

Photocopy the ‘5 A Day the Dairy Way’ activity sheet. Ask pupils to think of new ways they can incorporate the ‘milk, yogurt and cheese’ food group into their diets, drawing / writing their ideas on the activity sheet.


  1. Ask pupils to design a poster with their 5 Top Tips for enjoying dairy. Display around the classroom.
  2. Carry out a survey as a class to find out favourite foods from the ‘milk, yogurt and cheese’ food group, for example, which is the most popular food? How many pupils like milk / cheese / yogurt?
  3. Using newspapers and magazines, cut out examples of different types of food that make up the dairy shelf of the Food Pyramid to create a dairy shelf poster.


Encourage your pupils to take home the message of the importance of dairy as part of a balanced diet. As a homework activity, you can ask your pupils to:

  1. Draw / list the milk, yogurt and cheese products in their fridge.
  2. Ask an adult to help make a healthy snack for lunch, using food from the dairy shelf of the Food Pyramid.


To develop pupils’ awareness of the importance of physical activity to their health.

Duration: 30 minutes (approximately)



Myself Taking care of my body Food and nutrition / Knowing about my body



Milk and food made from milk, such as cheese and yogurt.


Calcium is important for our growth. It helps to keep our muscles, bones and teeth healthy. Milk, yogurt and cheese are sources of calcium.


Muscles cover our bones and help us to move.


Our bones make up our skeleton.

Class Discussion

Begin by asking pupils to recall how dairy contributes to maintaining a healthy diet from Lesson 1 (Dairy in my Diet).

Inform pupils that:

  • Physical activity is also important to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
  • An active lifestyle* is important for healthy bones and muscles.
  • Particular exercises (‘weight-bearing’ exercises) are important for helping to keep bones healthy.

*Inform pupils that it is recommended that children and young people (aged 2–18 years) should be active for at least 1 hour every day.

The National Guidelines On Physical Activity For Ireland Download

Now ask pupils to think about ways in which we can help to look after our bones. Discuss the following points:

  • Our bones grow and get stronger during childhood, so it is important to look after them. We can help build strong and healthy bones by eating the right foods and by being active.
  • Calcium is important for the growth of our bones. Milk, yogurt and cheese are great sources of calcium.
  • Three servings a day are recommended from the ‘milk, yogurt and cheese’ food group for children aged 5–8 years.
  • A serving includes a 200ml glass of milk, a 125g pot of yogurt, or a 25g piece of hard cheese, e.g. Cheddar cheese. If possible, show the pupils an example of each measurement of food.
  • Vitamin D is also very important for bone health.

Group Activity

Explain that exercises which put all your weight on your feet and legs, like jumping and running, are good for your bones. Ask your pupils in groups to think of, and draw, examples of these types of exercises. Ask each group to share their ideas with the class.

Class Activity

As a class, ask pupils to think of ways in which they can enjoy being active every day and create a class poster.

We can…

  • Walk / cycle to school (or part of the way).
  • Play games outside with our friends.
  • Create new outdoor games with our friends.
  • Take part in after-school activities.
  • Agree a time limit for ‘screen time’ (TV, computer, phone, tablet etc.) with Mum / Dad / adult at home.
  • Check our school is signed up for the Active School Flag –

Remind your pupils that most of their time in school is spent sitting at a desk, so it’s important to get up and stretch their muscles when they can!

Encourage pupils to make the connection between food and energy needs. Explain that they need to eat to help them to be active during the day.


  1. In the hall or playground, set up a circuit of simple and fun weight-bearing exercises (running on the spot, jumping jacks, skipping etc.) and ask pupils to do each exercise for 30 seconds. Explain to your pupils how these simple and fun exercises can be done quickly and easily anywhere by almost everyone.
  2. Ask pupils to draw a picture of themselves doing their favourite weight-bearing exercise.

Bring it Home

Encourage your pupils to take home the message of the importance of physical activity as part of a healthy lifestyle. As a homework activity, you can ask your pupils to:

  1. Organise a family walk.
  2. Walk their own dog or a neighbour’s dog (with an adult).
  3. Play a team sport with their family.


To develop pupils’ understanding of dental care and the importance of a healthy balanced diet for good dental health.

Duration: 30 minutes (approximately)



Myself Taking care of my body Knowing about my body / Food and nutrition



Hard and bony structures in the jaw which help us to eat and talk.


Gums protect the bone and roots of your teeth.


Enamel is the hard outer layer of the tooth which covers and protects your teeth.

Tooth Decay

When we eat or drink something that contains sugar, the enamel on our teeth begins to break down. This causes tooth decay.

Class Discussion

Inform pupils that you will be learning about taking care of teeth and gums.

Ask pupils to:

  • Point to their teeth and gums.
  • Explain what they understand by the words ‘teeth’ and ‘gums’ (refer to Words of the Day section).
  • Discuss why they think taking care of teeth is important, for example:
  • Not looking after our teeth can give us toothache, tooth decay and sore gums.
  • Looking after your teeth when you are young is a great start to having good strong teeth when you are older.
  • Teeth are important for eating, talking and smiling.

Explain tooth decay (see words of the day for definition). Luckily, the mouth has its own in-built defence against tooth decay. About 20 minutes after eating or drinking something sugary, if no more sugar is taken, the acid begins to neutralise and the tooth surface is restored to normal. This is why it is important not to eat sugary drinks or snacks between meals.

Ask pupils to think about ways they can look after their teeth and gums. Draw a spider diagram on the board of pupils’ ideas.

Prompts for discussion:

  • Eat healthy meals and snacks.
  • Include foods that are sources of calcium, which helps to keep teeth healthy, e.g. products like milk, natural yogurt and cheese (low-fat varieties recommended).
  • Try not to eat sugary snacks such as sweets, chocolate, biscuits and sugary drinks. Snacking on foods which have lots of sugar can lead to tooth decay.
  • Clean your gums and teeth properly.
  • Brush your teeth twice daily.

Pair Discussion

Read aloud the following questions about dental care and ask pupils to discuss each question briefly with a partner, then discuss as a class (answers in brackets below)

  1. How often do you think you should brush your teeth every day? (Twice a day)
  2. How should you brush your teeth? (Procedure outlined below)
  3. How long should you brush your teeth for? (2-3 minutes)

Outline procedure for brushing teeth:

  • Get help to brush your teeth.
  • Brush two teeth at a time (width of the toothbrush head).
  • Count to ten for every two teeth you brush.
  • Brush gums and teeth with a toothbrush and toothpaste in a gentle circular motion. (see pictures)
  • Brush top and bottom teeth.
  • Brush outside of teeth and gums, inside of teeth and gums and biting surface.
  • Spit out after brushing – no rinsing.

Personal Activity

Give each pupil a copy of the ‘Top Tooth Tips’ activity sheet. Discuss each of the illustrated 8 tips. Ask pupils to listen as you discuss each tip and to put the correct number (from 1 to 8) in the answer box.

Then ask pupils to illustrate their favourite tip.

Top Tooth Tips

  1. Always brush your teeth twice a day, at bedtime and one other time during the day.
  2. Use a toothbrush and toothpaste to brush your teeth. Clean every tooth.
  3. Brushing your teeth properly should take 2-3 minutes (about the length of a song). Spit, don’t rinse.
  4. Never eat or swallow toothpaste.
  5. Change your toothbrush when the bristles are worn.
  6. Get help with brushing. You will need help brushing your teeth just like you need help tying your shoes or washing your hair.
  7. When brushing it is important to clean every tooth.

Extension Activities

  1. Ask pupils, working in groups, to draw up a list of food which is good for keeping teeth healthy.
  2. Ask pupils to draw in their copies three ways they will look after their teeth.

Bring it Home

Encourage your pupils to take home the message of the importance of a healthy balanced diet for good dental health. As a homework activity, you can ask your pupils to:

  1. Draw the food they have at home which is good for teeth.
  2. For a week, ask pupils to record how often they brush their teeth every day.


To develop pupils’ understanding of the relationship between weather, the environment and farming.

Duration: 30 minutes (approximately)

Curricular Links


Myself and the wider world Developing citizenship Environmental care


Natural Environments Weather Environmental awareness and care Caring for my locality

Words of the Day


Everything living and non-living around you, including the air.


The weather tells us how hot or cold and how wet or dry it is in a place each day.


The climate tells us what the weather is like in a place over a long time.


 A drought is when the weather is dry for a very long time and there is no rain or very little rain.


A flood is water that covers land which is normally dry.

Class Discussion

  • Ask pupils to discuss what they understand by the word ‘weather’.
  • Ask pupils to describe the weather yesterday and today. Compare.
  • Explain the term ‘weather’ (see Words of the Day).
  • Now ask pupils to discuss the weather they may have experienced in another country, for example, France or Spain.
  • Explain the term ‘climate’, highlighting that while the weather in Ireland changes every day, that normally our climate is never too hot or too cold.

Pair Discussion

  1. Begin by asking pupils to think of any signs of unusual weather they have experienced locally, for example, a really hot summer in Ireland, lots of snow, very wet weather or really stormy weather. Discuss as a class.
  2. Draw a sun, snow cloud, storm cloud and rain cloud on the board. Ask pupils, working in pairs, to look at each of the four images and to chat about how hot, snowy, stormy and wet weather can affect themselves, their families or people in their locality.
  3. Inform pupils that extreme unusual weather is caused by changes in the climate. Highlight the importance of us all looking after our planet so that we don’t have this unusual weather happening more often.

Personal Activity

Ask pupils to recall what dairy is and explain the function of a dairy farm. Give each pupil a copy of the ‘Dairy and the Environment’ activity sheet. Ask pupils to look at the four images which highlight how life on the dairy farm is affected by extreme unusual weather (climate change). Read out the following sentences and ask pupils to identify the correct image, numbering 1 to 5. Discuss as a class.

  1. During snowy weather animals need to be kept inside.
  2. In bad weather, roads can become dangerous. This can affect milk being collected from farms and being delivered to schools and homes.
  3. In bad weather, like on stormy days, cows can’t go outside on the grass, so farmers have to give them extra food.
  4. When it is very dry and there is less rain, this affects the amount of grass for animals to eat.
  5. Droughts and floods can destroy a farmer’s crop.

Extension Activities

  1. Divide pupils into five groups, assigning each group one of the ways (opposite) in which the dairy farm can be affected by climate change and asking them to illustrate this.
  2. Ask pupils to draw two pictures, one illustrating a dairy farm on a day with normal weather and the other illustrating a dairy farm on a day of extreme unusual weather.
  3. Encourage pupils to bring their School Milk cartons or bottles home to recycle.

Bring it Home

Encourage your pupils to take home the message of the impact climate change has on the environment. As a homework activity, you can ask your pupils to:

  1. Record the weather for a week and draw a picture of how the weather affected their family activities. For example, did a wet day prevent the family doing an activity they would normally do?


To develop pupils’ awareness of the importance of dairy farming and their understanding of everyday life on a farm.

Duration: 30 minutes (approximately)

Curricular Links


Human environments Living in the local community People at work

Words of the Day

Dairy Farm

A type of farm where dairy products are produced.


Animals, like cows, feeding on growing grass.

Milking Parlour

A building on a dairy farm which is used for milking cows.

Class Discussion

Pass the Beanbag – Ask pupils to share their prior knowledge / experience of dairy farming by passing a beanbag around the class. Pupils who have the beanbag share with the class.

Prompt Questions:

  1. What is dairy? (It is food like milk, yogurt and cheese).
  2. What is dairy farming? (It is the type of farming which gives us dairy products like milk, yogurt and cheese).
  3. What animals do you think you would see on a dairy farm? (Cows).
  4. Have you been to a dairy farm? Describe what you might see on a dairy farm. (e.g. cows, a milking parlour, milking machines, hay).

Pair Discussion

Ask pupils to think about how farmers might take care of the cows on their farm. Ask pupils to discuss their ideas with a partner and then to share with the class.

Prompts for discussion:

  • Farmers have bedding for cows to sleep on.
  • Farmers can leave cows grazing on fresh grass outdoors for around 300 days a year!
  • Farmers move cows from field to field so that they have enough grass to eat.
  • Farmers bring cows indoors during the cold weather in winter.
  • Farmers make sure cows have food to eat.
  • Farmers keep the cow sheds and milking parlours clean.
  • Farmers make sure that a vet visits the farm to keep the cows healthy

Personal Activity

Begin by asking pupils as a class to think about how milk gets from a farm to a glass on the kitchen table. Then give each pupil a copy of the ‘From Grass to your Glass’ activity sheet. Ask them to look at the images for the 6 stages of milk production ‘From Grass to your Glass’ and to sequence them in the correct order from 1 to 6. Then discuss as a class, talking through each of the stages in the milk production process. *(Correct sequence outlined on page 21).

Extension Activities

  1. Ask pupils to design the cover of a milk carton.
  2. Ask pupils in groups to create their own class / school ‘From Grass to your Glass’ wall frieze.

From Grass to your Glass – The 6 stages of milk production

Stage 1 – Cows are fed on fresh grass.

Stage 2 – Cows are milked twice a day in the milking parlour. The milk is kept cool in a milk tank. It is collected from the farm by tankers every 2-3 days.

Stage 3 – At the dairy, the driver pumps the milk out of his tanker into big cool tanks.

Stage 4 – At the dairy, the milk is tested to make sure it is good and that it has no germs in it.

Stage 5 – The milk is then filled into containers. Lorries deliver milk to homes and schools.

Stage 6 – So the next time you enjoy a delicious glass of milk remember you’re drinking a natural and healthy drink.

Bring it Home

Encourage your pupils to take home the message of the importance of dairy farming.

As a homework activity, you can ask your pupils to:

  1. Look at dairy products in the fridge and identify where they were sourced from. For example, was anything sourced from a local farm?
  2. Does milk in their fridge carry the NDC ‘Farmed in the Republic of Ireland’ guarantee?
  3. Do they know a local dairy farmer?
  4. Ask them to find out how many litres of milk each family member has for a week. Compare.

Classroom Activites


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