For this project, I chose to create a children’s board game that provides a simplified, interactive understanding of the three macronutrients essential for life and how they connect to observable interactions between wildlife and their environment. The objective chosen for this project was to describe the macronutrients essential for life and their uses (listed in Unit 4).
The game I created is named “Salmon and Berries” and asks players to help get Buddy the Grizzly Bear home after he got lost in the forest. Players must use the three life-essential macronutrients depicted on the playing cards to move toward “home” and win the game. Each individual macronutrient (carbohydrate, protein, and lipid) allows the player to move a certain number of spaces. Fact blurbs in the game’s direction sheet offer simplified information about the scientific concepts explored within the game. The first fact blurb provides short explanations of how each of the three macronutrients is used in the body. The second fact blurb provides a connection between the nutrients depicted on the cards to the salmon and berries found along the game path by explaining that all three nutrients are found in the salmon and berries and that Buddy needs them daily to stay healthy so he can find his way home.
Nutrients are components found in food that are essential for maintaining good health by supplying energy and raw materials necessary for all processes that occur in the body. Most important are macronutrients as they are needed daily in large quantities to provide immediate energy and the components for cellular growth, immune function, and repair. Macronutrients consist of carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids. Carbohydrates are converted into sugar molecules in the form of glucose that easily enters the bloodstream to be used as either immediate energy or stored for later use. Protein is broken down into amino acids that the body uses to build muscle and other important internal structures. Lipids (or fats) can be broken down as fatty acids or glycerol that are used for the storage of energy reserves and for insulating and protecting vital organs. The three macronutrients are essential for life and can be found in most foods with varying amounts between food types. The importance of all three macronutrients is why they were chosen to be the symbols for the playing cards.