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New York Agriculture in the Classroom

Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix

Companion Resource


The Healthy Hop 'n Shop

In this activity students categorize foods into food groups and describe the USDA MyPlate icon by participating in an activity where students act out the role of a grocery store worker and stock the "shelves" with food from each food group. 

Time to Complete
40 minutes
  • MyPlate icon (attached)
  • Empty, clean food containers (1 per student)
    • Examples include boxes, bags, or cans without sharp edges or fruit and vegetable samples from the garden. Students can bring these from home.
  • 5 paper grocery sacks and markers (label one bag for each food group: Grain, Vegetables, Fruits, Milk, Meat/Beans)
  • Masking tape, ball of yarn, or colored chalk to mark the floor


Select a place with enough open space for students to make a large MyPlate circle on the floor. Divide the circle into four sections: one each for fruit, vegetable, grain, and protein. Also add a smaller circle for dairy; refer to the MyPlate diagram for placement and size of sections. The MyPlate circle will become the Healthy Hop ‘n Shop grocery store and each food group will be a section of the store. Label five grocery store sacks with "Fruit," "Grains," "Vegetables," "Protein," and "Dairy." Place the labeled paper bags in the corresponding section of the MyPlate diagram. Go through the food containers and garden produce to make sure there is one package or item for each student and each of the food groups are represented. Display the MyPlate icon in a place where everyone can see it.


  1. Instruct students to move to the space prepared with the MyPlate diagram.
  2. Have students stand in a large circle holding hands with arms outstretched.
  3. Explain to your students that they are surrounding a grocery store called, The Healthy Hop ‘n Shop and that each of the food groups are the sections of the grocery store. Inform your students that they are the grocery store employees.
  4. Ask the students to sit on the floor around the yarn/tape circle.
  5. Distribute the empty food containers (or food samples) until each student has one food container.
  6. Go around the circle and ask the student to identify the food they have and which food group it belongs to. Offer support if a student is not able to identify his/her food and its group.
  7. After the food is identified, have each student place their item in the correct section of the Healthy Hop ‘n Shop grocery store. If the student has a grain product container, they will go to the grain section, and say, “I’m stocking cereal (or whatever your grain product is),” hop to the grain sack, place their food container in the grocery sack, and then walk back to where they were sitting.
  8. Continue this process until every student has had a turn. 
File, Map, or Graphic

Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom


Adapted from Growing in the Garden Elementary Curriculum that Grows with the Child written by the Iowa 4-H Development Program and revised in June 2012. The curriculum can be purchased from the Iowa State Extension Office:

Lessons Associated with this Resource