Introducing 9th Grade Students to the Biology of Food

Author: Sue George


John Bartram High School

Year: 2014

Seminar: The Biology of Food

Grade Level: 9-12

Keywords: bioogy, breakfast, DNA, Food, Health, My plate, nutrition

School Subject(s): Science, Biology, Health

Teaching health to ninth graders continues to reinforce my commitment to try to influence and help change the eating patterns of our students. The daily ritual of watching them enter the building with black plastic bags overflowing with bags of EMPTY CALORIES is very disheartening!! They walk right by the breakfast cart where the cafeteria is offering a government “balanced” school breakfast, which to them is not worthy of a second look. I understand that warm, not hot waffles or pancakes are not enticing to eat, but the breakfast parfaits of yogurt and fruit at least looks appealing even though I have gotten mixed reviews on how they taste! Attention needs to be focused not only on what they are eating but also on what they are eating at home. Students need to evaluate the method of choosing food and meal planning at home and understand the impact or lack of impact that it has on their food choices and eating patterns throughout the day

As educators, we need to continually reinforce the positive results of eating nutritiously. Students have an understanding of MyPlate and the categories that meats, fruits, vegetables and fats are put in. They know that they should eat certain amounts of each type daily in order to have the nutrients necessary for growth and development. I have found that students do not have knowledge of the basics of the biology of food. This unit will provide the topics that will assist them in understanding what the biology of food is and the impact it has on what we consume.

DNA of animals will be compared to plant DNA. Students will learn that DNA is the same in plants and animals. They will see DNA has the same purpose and functions in both species. From there, they will be introduced to genetically modified plants and animals. Students will analyze the foods that they eat and understand the effects of the modifications as well as the purpose for the modification. This unit can be extended to allow research on the purpose and effects of genetically modified plants and animals for world consumption, challenges in marketing the products, laws that prohibit use as well as positive and negative aspects of modifying plants and animals.

Download Unit: George-Sue-unit.pdf

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