Program Evaluation: Third Grade Students Learn About Nutrition and Healthy Eating

Third-Grade Shaping Up My Choices

Refining How Third-Grade Students Learn About Nutrition and Healthy Eating

Developmental evaluation results of third-grade students participating in a nutrition education program.


In 2018, Dairy Council of California updated its third-grade Shaping Up My Choices nutrition education program. Changes included condensing the nutrition lessons into five topics that can each be taught in one or two class blocks; aligning the lessons with Common Core State Standards, in part by providing more collaboration opportunities; and adding online components to the lessons. The initial Shaping Up My Choices evaluation report includes a description of the full evaluation from 2011.

A sample of third-grade teachers around the state implemented the updated lessons in their classrooms. This report provides a summary of the evaluation findings for the updated third-grade Shaping Up My Choices program.

Evaluation Design


Twelve California teachers from San Diego to north of Sacramento volunteered to teach the updated five lessons with their students. The evaluation consisted of the following methods:


  • Third-Grade Surveys: Pre- and post-program surveys were used to gauge student knowledge of healthy eating and the MyPlate food groups. A total of 285 pre-assessments and 295 post-assessments were submitted electronically and 253 pre- and post-program surveys were successfully linked.
  • Teacher Satisfaction Surveys: At the end of program implementation, teachers received an online survey to complete, which asked about implementation of the Shaping Up My Choices program as well as recommendations for improving the program. All 12 teachers completed the survey.
  • Teacher Interviews: At the end of the Shaping Up My Choices implementation, Dairy Council of CA staff conducted a one-on-one interview with each teacher to get a deeper understanding of how the lessons were implemented, what worked and what could be improved.



Student Results

The third-grade Shaping Up My Choices pre- and post-program surveys were made up of 25 questions each. There was a statistically significant improvement in the percentage of children who correctly answered the questions between the pre- and post-program surveys for all the questions except one (identifying the food group of grapes, which improved from 93 percent to 95 percent).

Teacher Results

Lessons 1 and 3 received the highest overall satisfaction rating by the teachers and were considered the easiest to teach. For approval of lesson length, teachers rated Lesson 3 (Breakfast Blast) the highest.

In addition, teachers found the updated lessons:

  • Easy for students to learn using the color charts and resource pages in the student workbooks.
  • An effective and engaging way of promoting healthy eating using the simplified teacher guide.
  • Strongly connected with Common Core State Standards, with excellent collaborative group work in each lesson.


Teachers reported that the updated Shaping Up My Choices program was effective in teaching students about nutrition and that the lessons were successful in achieving student learning objectives. The program was successful as evidenced by the significant improvement between pre- and post-program surveys of student knowledge on healthy eating. With the results of this pilot, updates were made to the program prior to its 2019 release.

View Shaping Up My Choices program materials, including online resources for educators.

Read further evaluation results here.

For program information and how to access resources and teaching materials or to order this program.

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Children working in SUMC workbook

Teacher Comments

Best parts of the program were the hands on activities, interaction with the food group visuals, and that lessons were clear and easy to understand.
Group activity was awesome and engaging.
Students and I enjoyed the lesson in which students create a balanced breakfast. I like that they explain the food groups involved in the meal.
I like learning about nutrition, I think there is nothing that would make it better because it is so fun. —Student

SMC Hidden Valley - Direct Instruction 2