The purpose of this curriculum is to introduce nutrition, food safety and food science concepts using hands-on interactive activities. The structure, content and design of the lessons are intended to promote scientific thinking among youth while promoting healthy lifestyle behaviors. Lessons state objectives and provide background information on the topic for educators. Also, there is at least one activity for each lesson as well as optional related activities, followed by evaluation questions for all participants.
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A knowledge based assessment tool was developed with questions for each lesson. FSNE educators and trained public school teachers utilized the curriculum in a series and conducted pre/post testing with a total of 342 students. Results showed a 44% increase in overall test scores. When the questions were divided into topic areas, a 56% increase was observed in nutrition knowledge, a 32% increase in consumerism knowledge and a 22% increase in food safety knowledge. Pre-testing indicated high initial food safety knowledge among the youth with an average score of 73.7%. Consumerism questions were based on math skills which seemed to impact the increase in knowledge evaluation.
Lesson topics are: Powerful Pyramid, Taste Bud Test, Science of Selling, Fat Detectives, Greasy Guess, Not So Simple Sugars, Juice or Drink, Dairy Delights, Eggstravaganza, Popcornpalooza, The Power of Plants, CO2 Carnival, Mixing Magic, Bacteria Beware, and Pickling to Pasteurization. Objectives, background information, and youth handouts are included in the lessons.