Vitamin D

vitamin dThis activity is designed to engage a wider range of students. Using the principles of ‘science capital’, it makes the issue of Vitamin D deficiency highly accessible and relevant to students’ everyday experience. Rickets and other bone diseases in young people have risen 400%,  Some scientists are recommending teenagers take vitamin D supplements, particularly in autumn and winter. The activity teaches students how to analyse patterns in data, so they can calculate their vitamin D intake from food and the sun and come to an informed decision.


This is a ‘sequence’ of activities designed to be fitted into one lesson. It teaches a ‘Working Scientifically’ skill – analysing patterns – through a quiz game, and then applies it to the context of nutrition. The activity also helps students apply their science knowledge.

Science objective

Digestion: describe health effects of vitamin D deficiency. (KS3 Science Syllabus)

Designed for the KS3 Science SyllabusEnquiry objective

Analyse patterns: interpret a line graph to suggest relationships between variables, and read values from the graph. (KS3 Science Syllabus)

Try the activity

Vitamin D presentation

Size: 7.75 MB

Vitamin D Teachers guide

Size: 35.42 KB

Running the activity

Engage The activity starts by relating Vitamin D to students lives, following the principles of Science Capital (see link below). It stimulates students to think whether they are at risk of bone disease.
Play Students develop their skills in analysing patterns by playing Data Doctor’s on-screen game.
Review Students estimate their own vitamin D intakes by analysing data on sunlight and diet.
Decide Students decide whether they need a daily vitamin D pill.

For detailed running notes, download the teachers guide.


BBC – Vitamin D

Everyone should consider taking vitamin D supplements in autumn and winter, public health advice for the UK recommends.

Science Capital made clear

An accessible summary of the concept of science capital and how it influences students’ attitudes towards science and scientific careers.

Q&A: Vitamin D

An overview of the new UK guidance on vitamin D supplements in question and answer form, accessible to fluent readers.

Rickets makes a comeback

News article about the return of rickets.

Vitamins and minerals – Vitamin D

Advice on vitamin D from the NHS, accessible to fluent readers.

Recent official vitamin D guidance

Report from the NHS about a recent article questioning government advice on vitamin D supplements.