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Name: Robin
Status: educator
Age: 6-8
Location: CO
Country: N/A
Date: 1/3/2005

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 activity.

Grace Fields


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 sample.

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.

Bob Hartwell

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).

Peter Faletra

The FDA has a whole unit on Food Science for Middle School.

Go to _ (

The unit is free.

Van Hoeck

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