Focus: Food and Food Chains
Growing, preparing and cooking food, as well as shopping for it, provide excellent opportunities for building math and science skills. You will find ideas here that call for simple, readily available materials. Authors suggest interdisciplinary approaches for many grade levels that are creative and manageable both in the classroom and outside.
With every living thing involved in an ecosystem and food chains, students need immediate, personal ways to see both the small and large scale implications of natural systems and modern agriculture.
Online articles from this issue:
- Food Chains "Link" Science Concepts
- The adult concept of a food chain is quite different from that of a child. When I asked my third and fourth graders what they thought a food chain was, their answers almost invariably included some sort of actual chain. Because that was where their thinking was at the time, I decided that we should indeed make food chains.
- Food and the Environment
- In the fifth grade, we teach an eight-week environmental unit. Below are a couple of the activities we include.
- Elementary My Dear Watson
- Organizing "hands-on" investigation by children is not difficult, provided you are willing to experiment yourself. For instance, the topic "fruits" is ideal because, in Pakistan, it is relatively easy to provide children with samples of real fruit with which to begin their investigation.
- Food Wrappers for Thought
- According to what is printed on the package, the bag of carrots in my refrigerator, for example, weighs one pound. On thinking about this piece of information I realized that I probably isn't true. There are eight carrots in the bag, so if the bagful weighs exactly a pound it means either that we know how to grow carrots which weigh exactly two ounces apiece, or that someone must have spent quite a bit of time choosing and weighing carrots to find a combination that weighs exactly 16 ounces. This leads me to wonder how much the weight of the bag differs from a pound, how much each carrot weighs, and how much variation there is in their weight.
- A Teachable Moment
- Using wildflower keys.
- Enjoying the Fruits of "Hands-On" Labor
- If you can't interest youngsters in eating vegetables, try having your students plan and grow a salad garden.
- Debunking Myths: Studying the food Chain
- Why study the wolf? After all, the wolf is just like any predator, only worse, or so it seems in all those fairy tales. And that is exactly the point.
- An Interpretive Lunch
- The challenge to my students has always been simple:
Use food to illustrate and interpret an environmental concept. Your dish must be edible and must explain or give us insight into some natural phenomenon or pattern. Bring your contribution to class next week and after all the explanations are complete, we will have a potluck interpretive lunch.