Skip Navigation

Family Life Cycle - Older Adult Lab

Main Core Tie

Food And Nutrition 2
Strand 2 Standard 1

Time Frame

1 class periods of 90 minutes each

Group Size

Small Groups


Cindy Tegge


A hands-on experience for the student to pretend to be old by simulating some of the struggles older people face every day with arthritis in their hands, hearing impaired, and normal loss of up close vision as they experience preparing a recipe.



Older Adult Lab

Ingredients needed for each lab to prepare cake:

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/2 cup hot water


3 tbs. butter
2 - 2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
2 tbs. evaporated milk or milk
3/4 tsp. vanilla
dash salt
2 to 3 tbs. cocoa (optional)

Additional materials per person:

2 8-inch strips of duct tape to wrap knuckles on each hand
1 cotton ball cut in two pieces, one for each ear
1 pair glasses

Additional material for class:

1 package of Kool-aid per unit
assorted salt-free crackers

Background for Teachers

This is a most rewarding lab experience for the students and very eye opening too.

The teacher needs to have everything out and organized for the lab and for the students to carry out the struggles they will face.

The teacher needs to know and share with the students the struggles all older people experience. The teacher may choose to dress up as an older person for extra special effects.

Student Prior Knowledge

The student needs to be aware that as a person gets older, the body begins to run down and fall apart. Some times young people do not have any sympathy for old people and hopefully through this experience they will learn some empathy.

Intended Learning Outcomes

The student will identify that as a person gets older, their nutritional needs change; but because of some physical limitations that will occur, it could have a drastic effect on their diet.

Instructional Procedures

Hand out the paper for the Older Adult Lab to the students. Read through the assignment for them out loud and explain what will take place for the lab. While the students are reading through the recipe, you need to pass out the following to each of the students:

Two 8-inch pieces of duct tape. (I rip it off and tape it to the table's edge by each person until they are ready to put it on.)

Hand out a cotton ball per person. (Tell the students to get a pair of scissors to cut the cotton ball in half.)

Pass out a pair of glasses for each student. (I purchased an assortment of reading glasses from All-A-Dollar. After the students get their glasses, pass out a bottle of Vaseline and have each of the students put a very small amount of Vaseline on the inside of the lens.)

Make sure that once you begin the lab that everything stays on and cannot be removed until the lab is over or the teacher permits it. They may begin by washing their hands. Then place a strip of duct tape tightly around at least two or more knuckles of their choice, per hand. Cut the cotton ball in half and place it in each ear. Place the Vaseline in the glasses and put the glasses on. We will now begin the lab.

Make sure all of the ingredients are out on the supply table for the students to use. They will prepare the chocolate cake. While it is baking, they may prepare the frosting.

When the cake is out of the oven and cooled, the students may want to sample some salt-free crackers as a snack. Do not tell them they are salt-free. Arrange them nicely on a plate or tray.

Prepare some Kool-aid that has been diluted or let each unit prepare their own.

The students will set their tables and frost and eat their cake. They will clean up their units.

The assignment due at the start of class next time is to write a one-page paper about today's experience preparing and eating the chocolate cake as an older adult.


Aging lab originated from Kristi Belliston (American Fork High School) and Rebecca Cox (Lone Peak High School).

Created: 07/24/2003
Updated: 02/05/2018