Science KS2: Discovering the work of Elsie Widdowson

Dick, Dom and Fran Scott explore the life and work of Elsie Widdowson.

She was born in 1906, a time in which people did not know much about the content of the food they ate.

She published a book called ‘The Composition of Foods’ which contained details of the energy, protein and other nutritional values of many foods.

Dick and Dom recreate one of her experiments to determine that there are 421 calories in 100 grams of mealworms.

They then combine lemonade and mints to release energy in a demonstration of how we get energy from food.

The key scientific points are made in a fun and student-friendly way.

This short film is from the CBBC series, Absolute Genius with Dick & Dom.

In this entertaining series Dick and Dom learn about the geniuses whose ideas, creations and discoveries have shaped our world.

Teacher Notes

After watching this short film, pupils could discuss the impact that Widdowson’s scientific method had on everyday life and the idea of healthy living.

Pupils could be shown the recommended levels of nutrition during World War Two, and also for today. How have they changed?

Pupils could be tasked with creating a shopping list for a day’s worth of food which meets Widdowson’s recommendation.

Pupils could look at various food products online, researching the nutritional information for each item.

When they have finished, they could compare shopping lists.

Alternatively, pupils could undertake this task as a homework activity, and be encouraged to take pictures of each food item they purchase from the supermarket.

To provide greater challenge, students could prepare shopping lists for individuals with specific nutritional needs such as vegetarians, or an individual with coeliac disease who must eat gluten-free food.

They could extend the shopping list to a full weekly food plan.

Curriculum Notes

This short film is suitable for teaching science at Key Stage 2 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and Second Level in Scotland.

More from Absolute Genius with Dick & Dom

Discovering the work of Archimedes
Discovering the work of Delia Derbyshire
Discovering the work of Isambard Kingdom Brunel
Discovering the work of James Watt
Discovering the work of Joseph Bazalgette
Discovering the work of Leonardo da Vinci
Discovering the work of Michael Faraday
Discovering the work of Sir Isaac Newton
Discovering the work of Wernher von Braun