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National Agriculture in the Classroom

Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix

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Lesson Plans (32)

A Chilling Investigation

Students will observe the difference in bacterial count between a hamburger that’s left out at room temperature and a hamburger that’s kept refrigerated. The lab reinforces the concept that food must be properly chilled in order for it to remain safe to eat. This lab will be conducted as a teacher demonstration. Grades 6-8

Blue's the Clue: Souring Milk for Science

This lab introduces students to the effect temperature has on reducing and controlling the growth of bacteria. Students will use conventionally pasteurized and ultra-high-temperature (UHT) milk to observe how different temperatures (hot, room temperature, cool, and freezing) affect the growth of spoilage bacteria. They will also learn about the importance of pasteurization in keeping food safe. Grades 6-8

Chain of Food

Students will explore the path food takes along the Farm-to-Table Continuum. They will begin on the farm and investigate food safety issues during processing, transportation, at restaurants and supermarkets, and finally, in their own homes. Teams will identify how food can become contaminated along the continuum and develop and present strategies for preventing contamination at each step. Grades 6-8

Clothes on the Grow

Students will gain a broad understanding of the types and sources of different fibers, examining their origins and observing their differences. Activities in this lesson include examining clothing and clothing labels and observing how different types of fabrics burn. Grades 6-8

Cooking Right: The Science of Cooking a Hamburger

The teacher will demonstrate cooking hamburgers to different temperatures. Students will analyze Petri dishes inoculated with hamburger and observe the amount of bacteria at each temperature. They will also learn that cooking hamburgers to the recommended temperature of 160° F (71° C) will kill pathogenic bacteria. Hamburger is used for this cooking lab because it’s a food that students are familiar with and may be cooking at home. Grades 6-8

Crossed Up!

Students will discover that some items in their own kitchens may be contaminated by bacteria. They will be challenged to hypothesize about where bacteria might be found in kitchens and which items might have the most and the least bacteria. Students will develop awareness that bacteria can spread from surfaces to hands, and even to food, and will hypothesize how to control the spread of bacteria. Grades 6-8

Culinary Concepts

Through project-based learning, students will develop and manufacture a unique and nutritious food product that includes ingredients that have been sourced locally and can be served in retail outlets or the school cafeteria. Grades 6-8

Eggs on the Menu

Students will learn the versatility, function, and nutritional benefit of eggs in a healthy diet, identify the function and role of eggs in a recipe, identify forms of technology used on an egg farm, and understand how eggs are classified by size. Grades 6-8

Energy Bar Exploration

Through project-based learning, students will develop, market, and brand a healthy energy bar and packaging to be sold to a target audience. Grades 6-8

Food Safety Sleuths- Food Safety Specialist

In this lesson students will learn about foodborne illness, its prevention, and the people and organizations that are involved in food safety. Students will conduct an experiment to learn how hand-washing affects the presence of bacteria on their hands. Grades 6-8

FoodMASTER Middle: Food Safety

Students will understand water-based state changes that occur at varying temperatures, recognize the importance of the proper hand washing technique for general health and disease prevention, understand the factors that impact mold growth and their application to food safety, and explore ways to prevent foodborne illness. Grades 6-8

FoodMASTER Middle: Milk

Students will understand the nutritional components of milk (carbohydrates) as they test three types of milk for the sugar glucose before and after adding the digestive enzyme lactase to determine which milk(s) contain the sugar lactose. They will also explore the nutritional composition and health benefits of consuming milk, research food sources of calcium, vitamin D, and phosphorus and devise ways to add bone-strengthening food to their diet. Grades 6-8

FoodMASTER Middle: Protein

Students will examine dietary sources of protein and generally understand the relationship between protein synthesis and amino acids while completing an activity to use beads as a representation of amino acids to construct proteins (polypeptide chains). Students will identify complete and/or incomplete proteins found in both animal and plant food sources. Grades 6-8

FoodMASTER Middle: Sugar

Students will learn the concept of simple carbohydrates (sugar) in the diet and their role in providing energy to the body, compare saturated sugar solutions, and evaluate the sugar content of common beverages and sugar consumption within their own diet. Grades 6-8

FoodMASTER Middle: Vegetables

Students will learn the concept of pH, and the impact of acids and bases on plant pigments, explore the impact of acids and bases on plant cell structure, and discover the health benefits of consuming vegetables. Grades 6-8

FoodMASTER Middle: Weights and Measures

Students will use common household measurement tools and scientific measurement tools and various methods of measurement to compare for accuracy. Students will also calculate percent error by comparing their measurements to actual values and apply these principles to analyze and decipher the components of a food as indicated on the Nutrition Facts label. Grades 6-8

FoodMASTER Middle: Yogurt

Students will learn the role of bacterial fermentation and evaluate the effect of fat content, sugar content (lactose), and temperature in bacterial fermentation as they make yogurt. Grades 6-8 

From Cow to Carton: Milk's Journey to the Consumer

Students will explore milk production in the United States and explain the benefits of homogenization, pasteurization, and fortification of milk. Grades 6-8

Hands Off, Bacteria!

This lab challenges students to identify the variables involved in handwashing. They will design labs to discover the best method for washing their hands to reduce the spread of bacteria. Students will also analyze and present the data. Grades 6-8

Mastering Mindful Eating

Students will explore hunger, satiety, and mindful eating to discover how our eating habits are impacted by our awareness to physiological signals of hunger or fullness. Students will also practice mindful eating practices and explore portion sizes as they sort foods, create meals using portion-size food models, and track their food using mindful eating practices. Grades 6-8

Mystery Juice

Using an inquiry approach, students will develop an investigation to determine the difference between two juices. Food safety will be discussed in relation to the results of the investigations. Students will have the opportunity to discover how pasteurization reduces the number of microorganisms in a food such as juice. Grades 6-8

Nutrients to Get Less Of

This lesson introduces sodium and sugar as dietary nutrients we should consume less of. Students will identify the foods and beverages they should limit and recognize how to use the Nutrition Facts label to measure sodium and sugar intake. Grades 6-8

Outbreak Alert - Shigella

Students will analyze a real-life foodborne illness outbreak. They will assume the role of FBI (FoodBorne Illness) investigators to plot out the steps and identify the questions to ask in order to get to the source of the outbreak. Students will discuss and compare their investigative approaches to the actual public health investigation. Grades 6-8

Science You Can Eat

Students explore the scientific processes used to make the crops we grow and the livestock we raise (commodities) into some of the foods we eat every day. Students will discover how science and technology work together to create foods like pickles, bread, yogurt and more! To engage further in the topic, students will make their own cheese using enzymes produced through the fermentation of genetically engineered yeast.  Grades 6-8

The Geography of Thanksgiving Dinner

In this lesson students will identify common Thanksgiving foods and their farm source, determine if those foods can be produced locally, and locate the common origins of their Thanksgiving day dinner. Grades 6-8

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