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Talking about Food - Food, Nutrition and Health

In this topic from the Association for Science Education, students explore the importance of food in their lives. The topic is designed to allow classes in schools across the world to exchange information about diet, health, sources of food and the cultural aspects of food.

Students consider the significance of food in their daily lifestyles and culture. They discuss how eating habits and the food culture have changed in their area in recent years. Students may interview older members of their community to find out about local food myths and folklore stories and investigate whether any science exists behind the stories. Students also explore the nutritional value of food. They examine the extent to which local diets are healthy. Students discuss the potential health benefits or risks of the ‘hidden ingredients’ in food – both natural and artificial. Students track the ingredients of their meal to build a map of where their food comes from. They consider the positive and negative issues relating to the growth in global trade, including fair trade, food miles, and climate change. This leads to the issue of food security.

After exchanging their findings and views with students in other countries, students compare and discuss the responses received from classes in other parts of the world.

This topic fits into the biology curriculum. It links closely to geography, design and technology, sustainable development and citizenship. It provides an excellent opportunity for addressing the global dimension and sustainable development. In most countries is is suitable for students aged 12–16. It is only available in English.

This topic is a more elaborate version of the topic What Did You Eat? with a particular emphasis on foods from plants. It is one of a series of Plants topics developed as part of ‘Gardens for Life’ which was funded by the UK Department for International Development, Creative Partnerships, Syngenta Foundation, DfES, Cisco Foundation and Future Harvest.

There are still schools making active use of Science Across the World topics and exchanging ideas and information. For details visit the Science Across the World pages of the ASE web site.

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