The Hands On: Food Safety program was started in 2006, and has since grown to impact over 62,000 students in 26 states across the county. Funding for Hands On: Food Safety has been provided by several USDA federal grants, including a current USDA NIFA grant.
In the Science portion of the unit, students take part in a hand washing lab, learn basic information related to microbiology, compile, and analyze scientific data. The unit culminates in students designing an experiment to test a hypothesis related to hand washing.
The Mathematics unit exposes students to a variety of practical applications of math concepts. Students learn data analysis, scale, exponential growth, and statistics by using real world data collected from the science portion of the curriculum. A digital tool has been developed to help students understand scale and magnification.
Language Arts focuses on the development of skills related to expository writing and collaboration. After taking part in jigsaw learning groups where they gain valuable information on the four core pillars of food safety, students write press releases on the importance of these pillars.
Social Studies content varies from state to state, but the core ideas are all the same. Students have the opportunity to learn about standards of living around the world, as well as food borne illness outbreaks from either the recent past, or later in history. The Social Studies unit reinforces gathering information from credible sources and understanding the world in which we live.
Through a partnership with the New Mexico State Learning Games Lab with support from a USDA NIFA grant, digital tools have been developed to be used with the Hands On: Food Safety program.
This tool allows students to look at different objects as they change in size, number, and scale. This tool is a great addition to any math discussion on scale, or as an introduction to working with microscopes in Science.