Linking Lessons for Schools

Michigan Fitness Foundation


Linking Lessons for Schools (LL-S) is a direct education resource designed to improve food behaviors with a focus on increasing fruit and vegetable consumption of youth in grades 7-12 delivered by classroom teachers, guest nutrition educators, or teacher/educator teams. This resource was created to meet the need for short, interactive lessons for secondary level students that could be integrated into core subjects (it “links” nutrition to other subjects).

To provide a connection to policy, systems, and environmental changes, five Community Connections are currently being piloted in seven urban high schools and will be added to the LL-S program in 2020. These activities (which can be used as homework) promote engagement and discussions intended to help students carry their classroom learning to out-of-school situations where they make food choices such as at home, stores/markets, fast food restaurants, and corner stores.

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating, Physical Activity and Reducing Screen Time, Other: Local Foods

Intervention Type: Direct Education

Intervention Reach and Adoption

Linking Lessons for Schools targets students in middle and high school. The intervention was field-tested in 278 classrooms across 14 middle and high schools in Michigan during the development phase of the intervention materials. The revised intervention was then piloted with 599 classrooms in 24 schools. Additionally, LL-S has been used by several SNAP-Ed funded organizations in Michigan reaching thousands of students in hundreds of schools. NOTE: Two other versions of Linking Lessons are currently being piloted. Linking Lessons – Community Settings is being implemented in community settings such as congregate meal sites, recreation centers, senior centers, public housing sites, and food pantries. Linking Lessons for People with Cognitive Disabilities is being piloted in Adult Foster Homes, skill training sites, and special education classes in high schools. These interventions will be completed by the end of FY20. 

Setting: School (Learn)

Target Audience: Middle School, High School (Future: Teens and adults in community settings, places where people with cognitive disabilities learn or work)

Race/Ethnicity: All

Intervention Components

Linking Lessons for Schools has four core components: lesson guides, posters, Ensuring Success User Guide, and a food tasting experience. These components are essential to expect the positive outcomes achieved to date; however, the foods included in the tasting experience could be modified.  Another important feature is that behavior change is targeted in all five sections of the lesson: Engaging Students, Talking Points, Check for Understanding, Moving Toward Behavior Change, and Healthy Homework allowing for discussion and practice. Generally, partners provide LL-S lessons on a weekly basis so that the series can be completed within the semester time frame.

Intervention Materials

The Linking Lessons for Schools materials include:

  • Ensuring Success (User Guide) and Program Overview
  • Posters (13): Large, appealing posters are used as a visual to engage students and reinforce the message beyond the lesson
  • Lesson Guides (10): One-page, laminated lesson guides minimize prep time and make the program easy for teachers/educators to use.
  • Process Evaluation to use as is or customize if desired.
  • Community Connections (for 2020): Topics for the Community Connection supplements extend learning in the areas of budget, food access, food waste, food marketing, and seasonality.

Intervention Costs

The intervention is packaged to include 13 laminated posters, an overview and User Guide, process evaluation template, and 10 lesson guides that are all provided in a carry bag. The cost is $400 plus shipping.

Evidence Summary

Use of Linking Lessons for Schools has resulted in an increase in cups of fruits (35% of participants) and vegetables (38%) which aligns with MT1l and MT1m. Behavior change was evaluated using Michigan Fitness Foundation’s pre-post  Fruit and Vegetable Screener for Youth (available from MFF), derived from the valid and reliable Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System Questionnaire, which asks students to self-report the number of times they consumed fruits and vegetables during the previous week.

Process evaluations completed by teachers indicated that being involved in the lessons resulted in positive changes to their personal food choices. Teachers also reported that the lessons prompted classroom discussions related to healthy eating and barriers faced by students to improve their food choices or eating pattern.

Evidence-based Approach: Practice-tested

Evaluation Indicators

Based on the SNAP-Ed Evaluation Framework, the following outcome indicators can be used to evaluate intervention progress and success.

Readiness and Capacity – Short Term (ST) Changes – Medium Term (MT) Effectiveness and Maintenance – Long Term (LT) Population Results (R)
Individual MT1 LT1
Environmental Settings
Sectors of Influence

Evaluation Materials

A process evaluation is included in the Linking Lesson – School kit. The pre/post fruit and vegetable screener used to access MT1 is available from the Michigan Fitness Foundation.

Additional Information

Website: The Michigan Fitness Foundation’s website can be found by following this link. For more information about this resource, go to the resources page.

Contact Person (Content):

Annie Murphy

Contact to Order:

Sarah Trofatter