These curricular options are available for 6th through 8th grade classes.
An imaginary town is experiencing pollution in some of its wells. Students collect data as they analyze the town's developments, predict the contamination source, consider cost factors, test the wells, and draw conclusions which are to be presented in written form to the town council. Importance of responsible care of natural resources and proper disposal of waste and their impact on our groundwater is discussed.
Two experiments enable students to better understand the concept of a by-product. One investigation examines the environmental impact of two packing foams: Styrofoam (made from petroleum) and Eco foam (made from corn). The next investigation involves students making plastic from corn and comparing it to plastic made from petroleum.
Students will learn about dominant and recessive genes and how genetics can determine the type of plant that is grown by creating models of corn DNA using different colored paper clips to signify genes. Applications of food biotechnology will be used.
Students act as egg inspectors after discovering and labeling the parts of an egg. Students make observations of the egg exterior to compare to quality labeling charts, then record data as the eggs are candled, inspected for freshness, weighed, and measured.
A discussion of insects leads to the knowledge of beneficial and harmful insects. Integrated Pest Management is explained and students apply its methods to an imaginary field sample in order to determine the course of action that should be taken by the farmer.
Students examine the absorbency of several household products, then investigate the water holding properties of a commercial agricultural product and a pure chemical. The results of this experiment are related to new developments in the agricultural industry and also served as a precursor to the development of disposable diapers.
Students learn about different vitamins found naturally within the foods they consume and the health benefits of the different vitamins. They then test for the presence and amount of Vitamin C in different fruit beverages. Students are encouraged to read nutritional labels to assist them in selecting healthy foods.
Dietary fiber is defined and the benefits of including foods containing fiber are explored. Students then explore food sources of fiber by testing 6 different foods in order to determine if fiber is present within the foods they eat.
As students conduct an experiment to determine if the water holding capacity of soil can be improved, they will recognize the important role the quality of the soil plays in crop growth. The impact of soil type on plant growth, as well as erosion and other environmental factors will be discussed.
Students delve into biotechnology as they conduct an experiment to extract DNA from a banana. Through the process, they will learn the basic cell parts, observe DNA, identify the role of DNA in plants, as well as discover the possibilities biotechnology can provide to us today and in the future.
**MUST have full 50 minutes**
Students become food scientists as they conduct various tests to develp an understanding of the properties of chocolate that are essential to chocolate production. The importance of everything in chocolate production from the melting point to ingredient ratios to interaction of ingredients to the viscosity of chocolate are examined.