This post originally appeared on the Scientix blog.
Food – could you find a more relevant topic for every age group? We must eat to provide our bodies with nutrients and energy. People enjoy eating. The way we eat, from early childhood, influences our health for all our life. The food topic can be investigated in pre-primary as well as in primary and secondary classrooms and it is a topic connected to real life, which can be very attractive for our students, if we find the appropriate resources for it.
The topic of food is good for integrating STEM subjects like Biology, Geography, Chemistry, Physics, Maths, Art, Technology, but even Language, Art and Counseling activities. It is also appropriate for understanding connections between environment, economy and society (People, Planet and Profit). This topic is perfect for inquiry-based learning, materials are cheap and easy to purchase and the experiments proposed are easy to run by students. Food is a great topic for interdisciplinary classes.
You can find various resources connected to food in the Scientix repository. All these resources listed below are in English, but you can find some more in other languages. The descriptions of projects are based on descriptions in the repository.
How clean is your kitchen? (Age 5-7)
This food hygiene lesson demonstrates to students how easily potentially harmful microbes on raw and undercooked food can transfer to humans. It can be a used when teaching about food and hygiene.
Food and food labels (Age 11-19)
Through guided inquiry activities, students learn to look at the composition of foods and the amounts on nutrients. This is a good resource for Health Science classes, for Science or Nutrition classes.
Chocolate choice challenge (Students of all ages)
This combination of an inquiry-oriented activity, experiment and lesson plan teaches about Fair Trade, organic produce and consumer power through tasting different types of chocolate.
Food and diet (Age 16-19)
What drives people to eat, what happens to food once it has been eaten and what impact humans’ dietary choices have on health and well-being?
Food preservation (Age 14-16)
Pupils explore why food needs to be preserved and the science behind different preservation techniques.
The meal deal (Age 11-14)
Why and how we cook food, the efficiency of cooking and the impact of cooking on health. The Meal Deal contains teacher’s notes, pupil worksheets and a range of support materials, including PowerPoints, technical briefs and videos.
Safe food activity (Age 8 – 11)
On this worksheet, pupils can draw or write how food is kept safe during all stages of production. Look for more resources (worksheets, videos) in CommNet project: Communicating the Bio-economy. It includes educational material on Bio-economy topics, for children aged 5-16.
This worksheet can be used for brainstorming, in the first part of the lesson or activity, when teaching students about the importance of food safety.
Chemistry at Home : Chemical substances in foods (Age 14-17)
The activity informs about some of the chemical substances in food. It includes two hands-on experiments and several shorter activities. This resource is valuable for experiments (for example, the baking soda experiment; or iodide in table salt). Also, many videos and books can be found and used in teaching chemistry related to food.
Food (Age 14-16)
Here you can learn about the flow of energy in the human body. Students explore the food they consume and the energy that they use in general day-to-day activity.
It is a documented step-to-step activity and it can be used in Science and Mathematics classes (it could also be a great resource for an extracurricular project). Check out the worksheets about calories and the links for resources on teaching about food and healthy lifestyle.
Food – Where does bread come from? (Age 5-8)
This is a longer project – practical tasks about all the steps needed to make bread (from the germinating of the wheat grains up to the final baking of the dough). It can be integrated into a STEM project and all these resources can be combined with field trips (visits to local bakeries) and practical activities.
Food Hygiene – Junior (Age 5-11)
With this activity pupils learn how easily potentially harmful microbes on raw and undercooked food can transfer to humans.
Food Hygiene – Senior (Age 11-15)
With this activity pupils learn how easily potentially harmful microbes on raw and under-cooked food can transfer to humans.
Proof of the pudding (Age 14-18)
Inquiry and assessment unit outlines a hands-on inquiry activity in which the students (plan to) prepare a “good” pudding. This can focus on biological aspects – nutrition, energy content of foods, quality of nutrients, healthy lifestyles – and chemical concepts – groups of organic compounds, colloidal systems and sol gels, but also on attitudes towards healthy nutrition and lifestyle.
The use of digital comics: Healthy Eating (Age 12-19)
With the help of this eTwinning kit pupils learn to use web based tools to create comics, and explore the theme of healthy eating and the consequences of poor dietary habits. Available in 22 languages.
Explore guide: a crisis of fat? (Age range: 14-18)
This is a collection of teaching methods, a valorification of the resources on the obesity theme (lesson plans, videos, games, virtual experiments), available on the Xplore Health site. It is a very useful teaching guide, with proposals for teaching sequences and activities, even evaluation tools.
COMMNET (Phase 1) – What’s changed? (Age: 5-8)
Multiple choice, learning about different foods and ingredients. It can be used in the introductory phase on a lesson about food processing, to find out what students know about the topic.
COMMNET (Phase 1) – Where does food come from? (Age: 5-8)
A comprehensive guide to agriculture, food preparation and distribution – for preschool children.
We consider these resources (lesson plans, videos, worksheets, experiment ideas and much more) useful and easy to integrate in your teaching. It is up to you whether you decide to use the whole lessons or just parts of them. Some more complex resources can be used for project days or science weeks. They are an excellent collection of good practice in teaching about food, especially because of their interdisciplinary and scientifically documented approach.
Authors: Aiki Jõgeva and Marika Emese Cîmpean