Food Labs for Middle School
Anyone got any great food labs to do with 6th graders?
I have got a food and nutrition unit that needs some zing.....We are not
equipped with the latest and greatest lab.
For a simple experiment, try putting a stalk of celery in a glass of water.
Add red or blue food coloring to the water. Soon the students can see how
celery is a plant and is taking up the water....the celery will turn
colors! Another example would be if you wanted to talk about acids and
bases. Take foods like egg whites, egg yolks, water, milk, oil, lemon juice,
bananas, pop, really anything liquid or anything you can mix into water to
be mostly liquid. Put each food/drink into a separate beaker or cup, then
have the students dip one piece of pH paper into each substance. Make sure
all the foods are labeled. If the pH paper turns blue, it is a base, if red,
it is a acid. I did this with my 7th grade class once and they loved the
Something interesting to do with food is a study of acids and bases with
respect to different foods. This can be done using litmus paper. You
can also work with different antacids commonly on the market and have a
lab to determine if one is better than the other using a standard acidic
Another fun lab is to gather different liquid foods like tomato juice,
vinegar, milk, etc. and have the students guess which one will make a
dull penny shiny. You can then conduct the experiment and see!
I have another lab where you can cook hot dogs using electricity.
E-Mail me directly for details if you are interested since it does
require supervision and I do not want to post details here.
Lots of possibilities,
Two types of activities.
Students can track everything they eat for a day or week. this means
everything they take in, when and about how much. Then at the end of a week,
the class has a chance to report all sorts of data on, types of foods eaten,
food groups, eating times...even whether the families ate meals together.
How many different foods did each child eat in a day or week...most Americans
eat an amazingly non-diverse diet. Soda should be carefully tracked and the
risks of phosphates in the soda that interrupt calcium intake made clear,
especially to girls. How much raw verses cooked verses packaged foods. The
possibilities are endless and very informative. On the experimental end, you
can have students weigh different foods before and after drying in an oven
to find how much of each. Food is made of water. Like the human body most
unprocessed food is made of water. I used to have a lot of fun with just
helping students figure out food labels...even having them find what
percentage of packaged foods in their homes had hydrogenated (trans fats).
The FDA has a whole unit on Food Science for Middle School.
The unit is free.
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Update: June 2012