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Exploring the scary science of food

Chino Champion - 12/6/2017

Having a healthy curiosity about germs seems to be the driving force behind a popular food science program that started this year at Townsend Junior High.

Middle school students like to grow bacteria on cooked hamburger patties, and study bacteria that cause food borne illnesses, said science teacher Larry Casias.

He and other educators believe food science is an effective way to engage students in inquiry based learning.

Mr. Casias teaches science classes from inside a home economics kitchen at Townsend Junior High.

The kitchen classroom has stoves. sinks and refrigerators, which are not available at many district school sites.

It is a natural environment for many types of food experiments, including those that involve bacteria.

Mr. Casias offered to teach the program to teachers in the Chino Valley school district.

Last month he taught two workshops after school hours as a volunteer.

The teachers who attended were also not paid.

At the workshops they were instructed in ways to teach food safety and pasteurization. Much of the learning is through hands on activities.

The teaching curriculum was created through a partnership of the National Science Teachers Association and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Mr. Casias said he spent two weeks last summer inside an FDA lab kitchen in Washington DC, learning about food science through a University of Maryland program.


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