Weekly Reader Connections

Teacher Guide: Lesson 21.5

The Weekly Reader Connections feature of Kids' Place Houghton Mifflin Math provides your students with additional information about the topics that appear in the Curriculum Connection feature in their student books.

The article “How Much Soda Pop Do You Drink?” discusses the amount of carbonated drinks that Americans consume and the amount of sugar the drinks represent. It suggests that a high intake of liquid sugar may be responsible for greater weight gain than an equivalent intake of solid sugar. Many scientists believe that liquid corn sweeteners seem to be retained in the body, acting more like fat than refined sugars. If time allows, you may wish to discuss the following information with your class.

  • The biggest consumers of soft drinks are young people between the ages of 12 and 25.
  • Sucrose, or sugar-bowl sugar, comes from sugar cane or sugar beets.
  • The majority of soft drinks are sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup and other corn-based sweeteners.
  • Corn sweeteners are sweeter than refined cane sugar or beet sugar.
  • In liquid form, corn syrup is easier to blend into foods, and it costs manufacturers a lot less than cane or beet sugar.

The Word Wise activity asks students to alphabetize words and phrases that represent various forms of sugar. Encourage students to check the ingredients labels printed on food and drink cans and boxes. Point out that if any of the following ingredients appear at or near the top of an ingredients list, students can be sure that the packaged product has a high sugar content. In alphabetical order, the “sugar” words are:

  • brown sugar
  • corn sweetener
  • corn syrup
  • dextrose
  • fructose
  • glucose
  • high-fructose corn syrup
  • honey
  • malt syrup
  • molasses
  • sucrose
  • sugar

As they complete the Data Hunt activity, students find out the average annual amounts of sugars that people consumed in 1966 and in 2001. They learn about the World Health Organization's recommended maximum daily amount of sugars per daily caloric intake. Then students answer these questions.

  1. How many more pounds of sweeteners did a person consume on average in 2001 than in 1966? 34 lbs
  2. On average, how many pounds of sugars did a person consume per month in 2001? 121/4 lbs per month
  3. Suppose a person was consuming 2,000 calories per day in 2001. What is the greatest number of calories from sugars that the World Health Organization recommends? 200 calories
  4. Suppose a person was consuming 2,500 calories per day in 2001. What is the greatest number of calories from sugars that the World Health Organization recommends? 250 calories

If possible, bring a 5- or 10-lb bag of sugar to class. After students have done the activity, have them relate their Question 2 responses to the amount of sugar in the bag(s). With the packaged sugar as a point of reference, students will gain a good sense of how much 121/4 lbs of sugar really is!


Houghton Mifflin Math Grade 5