To develop pupils’ understanding of dairy products as one of the main food groups and as part of a healthy balanced diet.

Duration: 30 minutes (approximately)



Myself Taking care of my body Food and nutrition



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



Substances we get from our food which help to keep our bodies healthy e.g. vitamins and minerals.


Food Pyramid

A pyramid shaped display where foods containing the same type of nutrients are grouped together on the same shelf.

Balanced Diet

 Eating the recommended servings of food from a variety of different food groups.

  • Bone health:
  • Looking after our bones when we are younger benefits our bone health for life.
  • The type of foods we eat and our physical activity levels can affect our bone health.
  • As well as calcium, vitamin D is a key nutrient for bone health. It is found in oily fish such as salmon, egg (yolk), vitamin D fortified dairy products and sunshine.
  • Regular physical activities, which put the weight of our body on our feet and legs, are also really important for bone health. Some of these activities include dancing, running, gymnastics, tennis and basketball.

Healthy Eating


Ask pupils to chat in groups about their favourite foods from the ‘milk, yogurt and cheese’ group and to discuss how they include them in their diet throughout the day. Ask pupils, as a group, to write a list of ways they include dairy in their diets. 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.

Individual Activity

Ask pupils to think of new ways they can incorporate the ‘milk, yogurt and cheese’ food group into their diets, recording their ideas on the activity sheet.


  1. Ask pupils to design a poster in groups with their 5 Top Tips for enjoying dairy. Display around the classroom or school.
  2. Carry out a class survey of favourite foods from the ‘milk, yogurt and cheese’ food group. Which is the most popular food? Create a pictogram to represent this information.


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. List the milk, yogurt and cheese products in their fridge.
  2. Ask an adult to help them design and prepare a meal for their family using the ‘milk, yogurt and cheese’ food group.
  3. Conduct a simple family interview – has their family been getting their recommended servings from the ‘milk, yogurt and cheese’ food group every day? What are their family’s favourite kinds of dairy food – milk, yogurt or cheese? What is their favourite dairy recipe?


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 / Health and well-being



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


Weight Bearing Exercise

Any exercise which puts the full weight of our body on our feet and legs, for example, running, skipping and most team sports.



Hard tissue in our body which makes up the human skeleton.



A mineral (a type of nutrient) which is important for our growth. It helps our muscles and bones to develop and is important for our teeth. Milk, yogurt and cheese are sources of calcium.

Class Discussion

Now ask pupils to think about ways in which we can 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. However, over one third of Irish children are not getting enough calcium in their diets.
  • The ‘milk, yogurt and cheese’ food group can be easily enjoyed as part of a healthy diet. Three servings daily are recommended for children aged 5–8 years. Those aged 9–18 years are recommended to have five servings each day.
  • A serving includes a 200ml glass of milk, a 125g pot of yogurt, or a 25g piece of cheese, e.g. Cheddar cheese.
  • Vitamin D is also very important for bone health (see ‘Dairy in My Diet’ to find out more about Vitamin D).

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.

Group Activity

In small groups, ask pupils to design a game based around weight-bearing exercises which are good for their bone health (running, skipping, jumping, ball-games).

For example – design their own hopscotch, invent a new skipping game, create a game which combines jumping and throwing etc.

Extension Activities

  1. Ask groups to teach the new game that they have created to their classmates.
  2. Hold a class sports day using the pupils’ own games as part of the activities.
  3. Do a History project about traditional schoolyard weight-bearing games and display in the school.

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.
  4. Keep a physical activity diary, recording the activities that they and their family do each week.


To develop pupils’ understanding of dental hygiene 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




A sticky substance that is made of up of the bacteria that cause tooth decay.


Tooth Decay

When we eat or drink something that contains sugar, acids are
produced in the mouth. These acids are produced by bacteria living in the dental plaque
on the surface of the teeth. The acids start to break down the enamel surface of the tooth
causing decay



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


Fluoride helps to make your teeth healthy and strong and helps prevent tooth decay.

Class Discussion

Inform pupils that you will be learning about dental care. Ask pupils what they understand by this term. Explain that it means looking after the mouth, teeth and gums. Ask pupils to indicate their gums.

As a class, discuss 1) why dental care is important and 2) how to have good dental hygiene. For example:

  1. Why is dental hygiene important?
  • Poor dental hygiene can cause toothache, tooth decay or sore gums.
  • Poor dental hygiene can cause bad breath.
  • Good dental hygiene when you’re young is a great start to having good strong teeth when you’re 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.

2. How to have good dental care:

  • Eat healthy meals and snacks.
  • The best drinks for teeth are water and milk.
  • Eat dairy products like milk, natural yogurt and cheese (low-fat varieties recommended) as they are great sources of calcium, which helps to keep teeth healthy.
  • Avoid 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 hygiene and ask pupils to confer in pairs, then come together as a class and discuss (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 pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste (at least 1,000 ppm) 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.

Group Activity

Ask pupils to work in groups. Give each group a copy of the ‘Top Tooth Tips’ activity sheet, asking them to match the sentences from A and B, completing the 8 sentences. After some time, discuss as a class.

Top Tooth Tips – Solution

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

Extension Activities

  1. Ask pupils in groups to design a poster with a checklist for taking care of their teeth.
  2. Ask pupils to write instructions for brushing teeth using a comic book style.
  3. Play a game of Dental Bingo in the classroom: www.dentalhealth.ie/assets/files/pdf/dental_bingo_new_final_090617.pdf

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. List the food they have at home which is good for teeth.
  2. For a week, record how often they brush their teeth and check how well they did.
  3. Explore the Dental Health Foundation website for more fun and factual tooth tips! www.dentalhealth.ie/resources/educational


To develop pupils’ understanding of how food and dairy production impacts climate change, the importance of eating sustainably and to raise awareness of sustainable food choices.

Duration: 30 minutes (approximately)

Curricular Links


Myself and the wider world Developing citizenship Environmental care


Environmental awareness and care Caring for my locality

Words of the Day

Greenhouse Gases

Gases, like CO2, gathering in our Earth’s atmosphere.


Climate Change

Humans have been doing a lot of activities that make greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases act like a blanket, causing the earth to slowly heat up. This means that climates are changing around the world.

Food Production

How our food is grown, processed and packaged before it arrives in our supermarkets.

Food miles

The distance food travels from the farm to our plates. The further your food has to travel, the higher its food miles will be.

Grass-based Dairy Production

Ireland’s climate (or weather) is mild and wet. This means we have rich grasslands which is great for grass-based dairy farming. Grass-fed animals are those whose diet consists almost entirely of grass.


Sustainable Eating

This means choosing foods that are good for our bodies, while limiting impact on the environment. To eat more sustainably, we can: Look to the Department of Health’s Food Pyramid for healthy choices; choose less packaging; reduce food waste; choose local and seasonal foods.

Group Discussion

Inform pupils that they will be learning about food and dairy production and eating sustainably. Ask pupils, working in groups, to use the ‘words of the day’ section and discuss some of the following points, noting their ideas on a mind map:

  1. What do you know about food production?
  2. What is grass-based dairy production?
  3. Why do you think Ireland’s milk production system is one of the best in the world for sustainable milk production?
  4. How can we tell if milk is farmed in the Republic of Ireland?
  5. What are some food choices we can make to eat sustainably?
  6. What is the connection between our food choices and climate change?

Ask each group to discuss their mind map with the class. Using the diagram above on page 15, expand on the ideas already explored in groups, touching on the following points:

  • Food production uses natural resources such as land and water, and includes activities that can increase greenhouse gases, such as agriculture, transport and waste.
  • Irish dairy farms release some of the lowest amounts of greenhouse gases in the EU.

Discuss some of the following points on balancing nutritional and safe dietary choices to minimise the impact on climate change

  • Milk, yogurt and cheese, certain types of fish (like salmon and mackerel), potatoes, carrots and strawberries can all be produced in Ireland but many of these items are imported too. This is especially true for when we buy foods that may not be in season or that are not frozen.
  • We have access to a large variety of Irish milk and dairy products. Remember that you can look for the Farmed in the Republic of Ireland guarantee. For other items, we may need to carefully read their labels. Look for Irish brands of cheese and yogurts when shopping. If possible, buy fish fresh and from your local fish monger. You can also look out for the ‘Responsibly Sourced Seafood’ logo. Always read the labels on the foods you choose.
  • Grass-based dairy production is more sustainable for the environment than other dairy production methods. Due to our mild, wet climate, our cows graze outdoors on lush green grass for an average of 240 days a year!
  • Approximately 99% of water used in Irish dairy farms is supplied naturally by rainfall, which leads to almost zero impact on water stress.
  • Grasslands soak up carbon from the atmosphere, helping to partly offset some of the carbon emissions produced by agriculture farming.·Using locally grown or locally sourced seasonal food uses fewer food miles.
  • Using food with little or no packaging, or biodegradable packaging helps to reduce waste.
  • The Farmed in the Republic of Ireland guarantee indicates that milk is sourced and processed in the Republic of Ireland and supports local jobs on dairy farms.

Class Discussion

Display a list of the following foods on the board: milk, yogurt, cheese, fish, potatoes, bananas, strawberries, avocados, pineapples, oranges, carrots and chillies. Discuss some the following points:

  • Which items from this list do you think can be grown / made in Ireland? ·Do you see a lot of variety or different brands of these foods in the market?
  • Do you recognise Irish brands (e.g. milk, yogurt, cheese)?
  • When do you think these foods are ‘in-season’ (grown naturally and at their freshest)?
  • Can you guess where some of these foods are from? Where do you think we import avocados and pineapples from for example?
  • What types of transport might be used to get these foods to Ireland?
  • When you see these foods in the supermarket, how are they packaged? Do you look at the packaging/labels?
  • Do you and your family usually eat all of the food you buy? How much is thrown away? How can we reduce our food waste?
  • We can use Bord Bia’s ‘Best in Season’ calendar (https://www.bordbia.ie/whats-in-season/best-in-season/calendar/september) to discover which foods are in season. Apples for example, start coming into season in September and strawberries start in May.
  • Items may be transported to Ireland by plane, ship, and trucks. Imported foods can still be healthy foods that we may need as part of our diet; what’s important is that we try to choose local and in season when we can. By eating locally grown/produced food, we reduce our food miles and support Irish farmers.
  • Many foods in the market are packaged in plastic. We can avoid packaged foods by choosing loose fruits and vegetables and using reusable bags. This helps to reduce food waste.
  • One third of the world’s food is wasted every year by getting spoiled or uneaten. Considering the resources used to produce food, food waste is a major contributor to climate change.
  • Eating a balanced diet ensures that we consume the foods we need to grow healthy and strong; and that we consume the correct amount, so we do not overuse or waste resources. See Lesson Plan 1: Dairy in My Diet.

Pair Activity

Ask pupils to work in pairs and complete the Mindful in the Market activity sheet. Discuss the choices they made on their worksheet and if they were able to choose the most environmentally-friendly options.

Personal Activity

Design a poster for your local milk brand or your School Milk Scheme. Include the Farmed in the Republic of Ireland guarantee. Create a slogan (a short and catchy phrase) and a description about your milk that will convince people to buy local! Display your poster in the classroom.

Extension Activities

  1. Invite a farmer to speak to the class about the importance of buying local.
  2. Grow your own plants in the classroom! Plant some herbs or vegetables with your pupils.
  3. Encourage pupils to try and reduce their waste by making the most of what they have in their fridge. Milk and yogurt can be combined with some fast-ripening berries/banana to make a delicious fruit smoothie. Wilted broccoli or soft tomatoes that you might normally throw in the bin, can be used in a tasty vegetable soup! Send your pupils home with our recipe template on page 25!

Bring it Home

  1. On your next visit to the market, try to find 5 food items that are produced or grown in Ireland. Remember to look out for the Farmed in the Republic of Ireland guarantee on milk!
  2. Share your Mindful in the Market activity sheet with your family and test it further with some of the foods in your home. How far did these items travel? Make a family contract to shop local for more food items in your home.


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


Animals, like cows, feeding on growing grass.


The heating of milk to a high temperature for a short time (e.g. 72 degrees Celsius for 15 seconds) and then cooling it really quickly.


When the cream particles in milk are spread evenly throughout the milk so that the cream doesn’t rise to the top.

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 produces 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, silage, hay).

Pair Discussion

Ask pupils to think about how farmers take care of cows on a dairy farm, discuss their ideas with a partner and 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.

Pair Activity

Begin by asking pupils as a class to think about how milk gets from a farm to a glass on the kitchen table. Note initial discussion points on the board. Then give each pupil a copy of the ‘From Grass to your Glass’ activity sheet. Ask groups to look at the 8 stages of milk production ‘From Grass to your Glass’, to discuss and then number them, sequencing in the correct order. Discuss the correct sequence as a class, talking through each of the stages in the milk production process. *(Correct sequence outlined on page 23).

Personal Activity

Ask pupils to write about how milk gets ‘From Grass to your Glass’ in their own words.

Extension Activities

  1. Ask pupils to imagine they are dairy farmers and to design their own milk carton.
  2. Ask pupils in groups to create their own class / school ‘From Grass to your Glass’ poster.

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. Record how many litres of milk each family member has for a week. Compare.