Continued from yesterday
“This afternoon we are going to start our half-term project about health and nutrition. When you’ve finished this unit you will all understand how to eat a healthy, well- balanced diet.”
Mrs Tebbut was interrupted by Miss Shaw returning with the photocopies. She nodded at her assistant’s suggestion that she distribute them and then continued.
“Miss Shaw is putting before you a copy of the Government’s ‘Eatwell Guide’. Before we look at that, let’s find out what you already know. Can anybody tell me what type of animal the human is?”
“Yes Katia, good. Anyone else?”
“Yes Jonah, very good. What else can you tell me, specifically about the eating habits of the human?”
“Humans are omnivores,” said Simon Butler, “so they eat plants and animals.”
“Well done Simon, yes, that’s what I was looking for.”
“Pff,” Luke couldn’t suppress his derision.
“Something to add, Luke?”
“Well, I’m a human and I on’y eat plant food so that’s herbivore, not omnivore.”
“Yes, some people choose to be vegetarian Luke but most eat a varied diet of plant and animal food which gives them everything they need.”
“My food gives me everythin’ I need.”
“Stop being argumentative. You’re not the only person in this class and I refuse to let you monopolise the lesson.” Mrs Tebbut looked down at her notes to remind herself where she’d got to. “So, we know that humans are natural omnivores, in spite of the fact that some choose to eat only plant food. Now, to understand in more detail how much of each type of food we need to be healthy, it’s important to be aware of what nutrients we need and which foods contain them. Look at your sheets.”
“Foxes are omnivores,” said Luke.
“Carnivores,” Mrs Tebbut corrected him.
“They eat berries and other fruit when they can. Not on’y meat.”
“Fascinating. Now can we get back to the lesson please?”
“And badgers are omnivores,” said Luke, “and dogs, and rats. That’s why they ‘ave long pointy teeth and claws.”
Mrs Tebbut sighed.
“What is your point?”
“Humans don’t ‘ave long pointy teeth and claws. For killin’. Like omnivores do.”
Luke was really glad he’d read some of Amelia’s colouring books at the weekend. Mrs Tebbut took a deep breath.
“Luke Walker. I believe I said ‘don’t be argumentative’. I believe I also stated that you would not be permitted to monopolise this lesson. This lesson, by the way, was informed by the Government Luke. Do you know better than Government experts?”
“I’m on’y sayin’,” said Luke.
Mrs Tebbut fixed him with a hard stare before averting her eyes to address the class.
“Everyone look at your sheets please.”
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“The diagram shows all the elements that a healthy diet contains and in what proportions. The written chart lists specific vitamins and minerals and where to get them.
I want you all to study these sheets and think about your own diets. Where do you get your Vitamin C? Where do you get your Calcium? This week I want you to record in your exercise books what you have for every meal and then try to work out what nutrients your food has given you. You may take these sheets home with you. Hand in your exercise books next Monday.”
Luke looked at his sheets and the wheels of his defiant mind began to turn.
“Ok,” he thought, “I can do that.”
Mrs Tebbut noticed how engrossed he had become with the printouts.
“He’s finally paying attention,” she thought.
She looked across at Joe who was drawing skeletons all over his Eatwell Guide. She shrugged.
That evening Mum was pleasantly surprised to see Luke doing his homework in his room after dinner instead of rolling around in rough play with Dudley or staging Return of the Jedi with his action figures.
“Good boy Luke,” she said, “lights out at half past seven.”
Every evening that week was the same.
“I really think he’s changed,” she told her husband, “our little rebel is settling down.”
On Saturday morning, during breakfast, Luke proved her right.
“Mum, can I go to Auntie Joan’s? I wanna ask Amelia if I can borra one of ‘er colourin’ books.”
Everyone froze. Jared started coughing violently as a sharp intake of breath made some cornflakes go down the wrong way.
“Mum? Can I?”
“Er, yes if you like. I was planning to pop in anyway, Joan asked to borrow the sewing machine. Yes, you may come with me. That’ll be nice.”
“Thank you,” said Luke and left the table.
Mum looked at Dad.
All day Sunday Luke was shut away in his room, finishing his homework. Amelia’s book – Colour By Nutrients – was a great help. By tea time he was all done and was actually looking forward to Monday morning when he could hand in his exercise book full of long lists of the vitamins and minerals in his plant food meals.
But first on Monday came the school assembly. Luke was again reluctantly granted permission to go to the toilet. He slipped back into the classroom and opened the top drawer of Mrs Tebbut’s desk. She usually kept it locked but, since last Friday, she hadn’t been able to because she couldn’t find the key. Without difficulty Luke found the big yellow folder labelled Master Copies and removed it. Then he replaced the Eatwell Guide diagram and the Primary Nutrition Class chart with his own home-made versions of those documents.
“Perfect!” he thought, smiling with satisfaction, “by the time Mrs Tebbut gets ’em out for next year’s Class 4, she’ll ‘ave forgotten exactly what they look like and won’t notice they’re a bit diff’rent.”
He was confident the new ones looked similar enough to the originals to fool anyone who didn’t look too closely. He returned the yellow folder to the drawer and quietly slipped back into assembly.
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You can read the whole chapter here
Click here for the first eight chapters of Luke Walker’s adventures in paperback
Reflecto Girl #5 continues Monday 😀