What captures the interest of students? FOOD! Using the food they eat to bring life science, chemistry, nutrition, and biology concepts to middle level and high school students is the basis of a collaborative program between NSTA and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Begun in 1999, NSTA and FDA used inquiry-based science to develop a supplementary curriculum called Science and Our Food Supply, for middle and high school science teachers. The program provides challenging hands-on activities that link food science and food safety to students’ everyday lives. The teacher-friendly modular format covers food science from the farm to the table linked to the National Science Education standards (NSES). Also included is an Emmy Award–winning video called Dr. X and the Quest for Food Safety, which gives students the inside scoop on emerging microbes: how they live, grow, and spread.
An annual weeklong Professional Development Program in Food Science, held in Washington, DC, provides an in-depth orientation to the curriculum. Participating teachers tour FDA laboratories and meet the scientists, explore food safety on the farm at government research sites, and learn the science behind safe food production while they visit a seafood processing plant.
Teachers who are interested in the in-person Professional Development Program in Food Science summer workshop, as well as the free Science and Our Food Supply curriculum kit can click here for more information (this will take you away from the NSTA website).
Acknowledging that it is difficult for teachers to attend a weeklong seminar, in 2006, NSTA provided a platform for FDA to provide workshops and other in-person professional development experiences at NSTA regional and national conferences, which are classified as NSTA Symposia. Symposia include FDA scientists covering emerging food safety and/or nutrition topics.
- How FDA Investigates a Forborne Illness Outbreak
- How bacteria can grow in food and how to avoid it
- About DNA Micro-array Technology and how it is used to promote Food Safety
- The Nutrition Science in the foods they eat
- Energy Balance and how the Food Label can help their students make healthier food choices
Ensuring that the power of the internet is utilized, online lesson plans and resources, called SciGuides, and free subject-matter teacher tutorials, called Science Objects and SciPacks, are available in food science, microbiology, and nutrition.