Design Thinking for Nutrition Month

It’s been a few (!) years since I was in elementary school but one of my clearest memories from my early days as a student is my teachers asking us to celebrate National Nutrition Month by joining poster-making contests, decorating our classrooms with plastic fruits and vegetables–sometimes even dressing up like fruits and vegetables! These days, as I scroll through Facebook, I chuckle at how these age-old traditions have managed to evolve with the times (and the kind of humor that gets traction on social media) but I also wonder if this is really the best way to ensure that our learners are aware of the issues that inspire such month-long observations. 

Just a few Nutrition Month related things I saw on Facebook: Using Drake’s Hotline Bling meme to illustrate the importance of healthy eating, some Nutrition Month-themed costumes, and some hugot quotes turned slogans for healthy eating.

What I’ve learned from my interactions with Gen-Z is that while many of them are passionate about social issues they often don’t know what to do beyond sharing informative posts on social media. While tasks like poster-making and classroom decoration may be good ways to get our learners to flex their artistic and creative abilities, as teachers we can lead them to a more authentic understanding of issues that inspire month-long observations and help them develop the skills needed to come up with ideas to address such issues within their communities.

Use tools and mindsets from Design Thinking to help students learn empathy, collaboration, prototyping, giving and receiving feedback.

Here are some ideas that you can try with your students to observe Nutrition Month!

  • Use the Empathy Map to gain a deeper understanding of the people behind our food – We often use statements like pinag-hirapan yang kanin na ‘yan! to discourage people from wasting food. Take it a step further by asking learners to fill in an Empathy Map for farmers, people who work at the palengke, and the like. This would be a good opportunity to bring to light any possible assumptions they may have about them. Download the Empathy Map worksheet here!
  • Guide a brainstorming session using Bukas, Daloy, Sarado to promote healthy eating – Bukas, Daloy, Sarado are three phases of a brainstorming session. Start by remaining open to all ideas regardless of how silly or impractical. Expound on each other’s ideas, adding processes and use cases. Close the brainstorming through a vote!
  • Prototype their ideas on the school community and use I Like, I Wish, What If for feedback – Before rolling out a school-wide version of their ideas, create quick and simple prototypes and get feedback from their classmates. Using this structure helps students have a more positive attitude towards giving and receiving clear feedback. Download the I Like, I Wish, What If worksheet here!

Let us know if you have other ideas by leaving a comment below!