Life Science
Material Type:
High School
Creative Commons Attribution

Education Standards

Carbohydrate vs. Protein Inquiry Task

Carbohydrate vs. Protein Inquiry Task


Students will use food labels from "health foods" to determine how proteins and carbohydrates are used by the body. 

Student Task

You will need to provide several food labels and packaging for this activity.  I use real labels, but you can you some from the internet as well. You will at least need: 

  • one protein powder (make sure the protein is higher than the energy bar/powder:)
  • a "health food" marketed for energy (I use an energy bar- make sure the carbohydrate content is high compared to the protein powder)
  • energy gel (used by athletes/runners for energy)


    Biological Molecules


    Model #1 Food Labels

    Look at the food labels found at your table.  Notice the things listed on the labels.  

    1.  List some of the things found on the food labels.




    2. Brainstorm with your partner.  Why do you think some of these things are listed? (Name 3 things.  Ex. You need to know how many calories are in a serving)



    Model #2 Energy vs. Protein bars/powder

    Look at the different types of health food found at your desk.  

    1.List the name of the three foods and ratio of protein to carbohydrates in the chart below:

    NameAmount of proteinAmount of carbohydrates



    2. Which food/s had the most carbohydrates?


    3.Look at the labeling of the food/s with the most amounts of carbohydrates.  What do you think they market these for?


    4. Which food/s had the most protein?



    5.Look at the labeling of the food/s with the most amount of protein.  What do you think these are marketed for?



    6.Think about your answers to questions 1-5 above.  What role do you think carbohydrates play in our bodies?  What role do you think proteins play in our bodies?






    Creative Commons License

    This work, by Leslie Carriker,  is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License