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New Zealand Science Teacher

Science Curriculum/Scientific Literacy

Food test dummies

BILL PEACOCK shares his practical lesson plan and tips for a stress-free food testing session with Year 9 and 10 students.

moleculesBill Peacock is Curriculum Leader: Science, Bridgepoint Foundation Studies, at Unitec in Auckland. He gave a presentation called ‘Food Test Dummies’ at SciCon 2014.

Bill shares his presentation here.

It is not easy to manage laboratory work with Year 9 and 10 students. Food testing sessions, in particular, are often very messy/chaotic affairs – also potentially dangerous! I have developed some simple practical procedures to take the angst out of this very important topic.

In Part One, students get to draw their own conclusions as to which test (Iodine, Benedict’s, or Biuret) is used for which food type (starch, glucose, or protein).

In Part Two, students get to use the three tests on a selected range of foodstuffs: for example green and ripe bananas are compared; also boiled and raw potatoes. These procedures require no Bunsen burners and a minimum of test tubes. There is very little mess to clean up afterwards – teacher nirvana!

The lab work can be completed in one one-hour session with students or 30 minutes with experienced professionals ...

You can print these off for the classroom:

Teacher's notes (pdf)

Students' notes (pdf)