The comprehensive education program “Hands On” will be used in teaching middle school students key food safety concepts while meeting state-mandated standards for math, science, language, arts and social studies.
This program was originally called Food Safety in the Classroom, and is now referred to as Real World Lessons for the Middle School Classroom.
It was developed by the Department of Food Science and Technology at the University of Tennessee in conjunction with the UT Extension Office.
UT research assistant Dr. Jennifer Richards, program director Dr. Amy Beavers and graduate research assistant Jan Wager recently conducted training for the Ocoee Middle School teachers.
The curriculum contains research-based, highly effective instructional strategies organized into lesson plans, student labs and hands-on activities taught in all core subject areas (math, science, social studies and language arts). The training was held recently at the school.
Teachers from all four subject areas worked together to implement the new curriculum. This interdisciplinary approach allows students to build on food safety concepts from all subjects, thus improving knowledge and retention.
In addition, the lessons were aligned to common core standards and Tennessee state content standards. As such, they are designed to teach and reinforce basic skills and concepts that teachers are already covering to prepare students for mandated end-of-year assessments.
Sample science activities include a laboratory experiment in which students test various methods of hand-washing petri dishes, staining cells for microscope viewing, building edible cell models and creative writing. These science inquiry activities are considered ideal for meeting the newly adopted science standards, particularly the conceptual strand, and understanding about scientific inquiry to conduct inquiry which is essential for living in the 21st century.
Activities from other disciplines include: Analyzing science lab data using basic statistics and graphing, building scale models to correspond to the magnifications commonly found on school microscopes (with powers of 4x, 10x and 40x), writing press releases, researching outbreaks of food-borne illnesses around the world to consider the impact of living in another country, and creating outbreak maps.
The Hands On grant provides all the materials and supplies necessary to implement the curriculum in Ocoee Middle’s seventh-grade classrooms.
Teachers participated in a two-day training workshop (which includes a teacher stipend) at Lee University.
Project staff were also available at the school when the curriculum was implemented to provide an extra set of hands in the classroom during lab activities.
You can get additional information about the program, with references from teachers who have previously used the program, by contacting Dr. Richards, project director at 1-865-946-1089. Her email is email@example.com. You can also call Kaye Smith, Bradley County’s UT Extension agent at the local extension office at 728-7001.