Knoch High School to debut food science curriculum
This year, test tubes and Petri dishes will be on the counter alongside the pots and pans in Knoch High School's family consumer science class.
A new curriculum that blends science concepts with food preparation means students won't just be making tacos from ground meat. They'll be growing bacteria from various stages of undercooked burger.
Teacher Melissa Grantz spent a week during July in Washington, D.C., for a food science training program and toured Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture facilities in Maryland.
She was one of 32 teachers nationwide — and the only one from Pennsylvania — chosen for the program. There were more than 200 applicants.
Grantz plans to implement the “Science and Our Food Supply” curriculum this year. It is designed to educate students about food safety, food-borne illnesses and what's needed to get food from farms to stores.
“I actually had the curriculum before I went there, but, not being a science teacher or having that background, I didn't feel prepared to teach it to my students,” she said. “We worked through all the experiments, so I feel more capable of teaching it to my students.”
Consumer science is an elective at South Butler and one that students like because they get to eat during class, Grantz said. But she thinks students are going to like the new aspects of the course.
“The experiments are pretty cool; I think they'll be excited to do them,” Grantz said. “I think they'll like it because it's all hands-on.”
Among the experiments is “mystery juices,” in which students judge the benefits of pasteurization by identifying and testing processed and unprocessed juices.
Grantz had to apply for the training program and said she did so because of the growing emphasis on incorporating STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) into more subjects.
“Cooking is science-based, but explaining the science background to the students I usually didn't do,” she said.
High school Assistant Principal Tyler Vargo, who wrote a letter to support Grantz's application, said he thinks it's important for students to understand the kind of behind-the-scenes science of food.
“When most people hear consumer science, you think you're making cookies or doing child development things,” he said. “In trying to fulfill a need and help out with other curriculums, (Grantz) came across an opportunity that would incorporate the science of what goes into large-scale agriculture.”
The training is part of an FDA and National Science Teachers Association professional development program in food science. As part of the program, Grantz will travel to Long Beach, Calif., in December for follow-up training. She'll also need to train at least 15 other teachers in the district on the curriculum.
Vargo said he's hopeful that the new lessons can be taught district-wide.
Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4702 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Police: Ex-boyfriend beat himself with hatchet in Tarentum home
- Apollo fountain to return
- Engineer advises Springdale Borough that other water plant options cost ‘significantly’ less
- New Kensington-Arnold School District officials to discuss anti-bullying proposals
- Union leader: ATI health care intact
- Changes coming to The Clarion Hotel in New Kensington
- Washington Township burglary suspect skips hearing
- New Kensington physician fought for social justice
- Third, Sixth avenues, Morgan Street to be repaved in Brackenridge
- Fox Chapel, Franklin Regional rank top schools on Niche.com website
- Springdale’s top cop kept out of his office