In this installation of our mini-series on incorporating nutrition into STEM classrooms, we’ve put together an array of science lessons and lab experiments that satisfy Common Core science standards and provide students with lifelong food for thought.

It’s a proven fact: healthier students are better learners. Science lessons on nutrition can empower students to make healthy food choices, supporting their success inside and outside of the classroom. The below science lab experiments and problem sets challenge students’ understanding of nutrition as a branch of science.

Antibacterial effects of honey — Lab experiment

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Students are tasked with comparing the antibacterial activity of various honey types. Through this lab experiment, students increase their scientific understanding of nutrition and gain practical skills. Download lab worksheet here.

Follow up readings

 

DNA Extraction — Lab experiment

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The scientific properties of food are brought to life in this experiment. Without using specialized equipment like electron microscopes, students extract and isolate DNA from strawberries. Consult this resource to draft directions for this lab experiment.

Lesson add-ons

Caffeine Memory Test— Hypothesis Testing Problem

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This test problem was pulled from Varsity Math’s publicly available problem set.

A student experiment investigating the potential impact of caffeine on studying for a test involved 30 subjects, randomly divided into two groups. Each group took a memory test. The subjects then each drank two cups of regular (caffeinated) cola or caffeine-free cola. Thirty minutes later they each took another version of the memory test, and the changes in their scores were noted.

Among the 15 subjects who drank caffeine, scores fell an average of – 0.933 points, with a standard deviation of 2.988 points. Among the no-caffeine group, scores went up an average of 1.429 points with a standard deviation of 2.441 points.

Assumptions of Normality were deemed reasonable based on histograms of differences

  1. Did scores change significantly for the group who drank caffeine? Test an appropriate hypothesis and state your conclusion.
  2. Did scores change significantly for the no-caffeine group? Test an appropriate hypothesis and state your
  3. Does this indicate that some mystery substance in non-caffeinated soda may aid memory? What other explanation is plausible?

Comparing Calories— Hypothesis Testing Problem

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This test problem was pulled from Varsity Math’s publicly available problem set.

Do these data suggest that there is a significant difference in calories between servings of strawberry and vanilla yogurt? Test an appropriate hypothesis and state your conclusion. Don’t forget to check assumptions and conditions!

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Hot Chili Peppers — Scientific Inquiry Lab Experiment

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Students’ scientific analysis and hypothesis development skills are put to the test in this lab experiment. In this exercise, students conduct a lab experiment measuring and comparing the spiciness and physical properties of chili peppers. Download lab worksheet here.

 

Which of these lessons do you plan on using? How will you adapt them to your classroom? Share your feedback in the comments!

 

 

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