Food Science Education Publications and Websites


  • Jim Bird

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The purpose of this column is to highlight innovative publications and websites in food science education and allied topics. If you know of a website or a recent publication that you believe other readers would like to know about, please submit the full text of the article or the URL for the website and an annotation of not more than 125 words. We welcome your resources and comments on this column. Material should be submitted to: Jim Bird, Science & Engineering Center, Fogler Library, Univ. of Maine, Orono, ME 04469–5729, or e-mail to If e-mailing, please put “JFSE submission” in the subject line.

Bergman DJ and Olson J. 2011. Got Inquiry? Sci Child 48(7): 44–8

The authors show how a familiar lesson on milk's surface tension can be transformed into an elementary student activity that allows students to explore the nature of a scientific experiment, its design, variables and analysis, and the support of conclusions. Also included is an assessment rubric. Assessment standards from the National Science Education Standards are noted.

Clary, R. and Wandersee, J. 2011. Our Human-Plant Connection. Sci Scope 34(8):32–7

Although not a food science article in the strictest sense, Clary and Wandersee note that plants are often taken for granted in our environment. They briefly detail how plants can enhance almost any classroom curriculum including botany, chemistry, climate change, cloth, history of science, and ecology. The authors encourage the use of plants in all curriculum areas. Perhaps reading this article will spark ideas about novel ways to use plants in the food science classroom at all levels of education.

Jeffries C. 2011. Thinking Inside the Box. Sci Child 48(6):30–4

Jeffries discusses the use of discovery boxes “…to stimulate problem solving, exploration, creativity, literacy, and inquiry.” (p. 30) in the area of nutrition for preschool children. The boxes were used over a two week period. The contents of each box are detailed. As in all good lesson plans, caution areas are noted. Using discovery boxes proved successful based on pre-and post interviews with the children.

Martindale J. 1994–2011. Martindale's The “Virtual” Nutrition Center. accessed 8/17/2011

This site was included in a previous JSFE “Food Science Education Publications and Websites” column. It is included again because of its great use in finding online lessons and animations concerning food science and nutrition. If you have not visited this site before, please take a look. This is one of the sites I use to find resources for this column.

Rowat AC, Hollar KA, Stone HA, and Rosenberg D. 2011. The Science of Chocolate: Interactive Activities on Phase Transitions, Emulsification, and Nucleation. J Chem Ed 88(1):29–33. DOI: 10.1021/ed100503p Supporting material at – may require subscription

Rowat and others use chocolate to teach basic scientific concepts for persons aged 6 and up. Table 1 details the 3 main questions asked during the hour-long presentation, noting the “motivating question” and the “specific question”. Questions concern melting, feel, and breakage of chocolate. Extensive background information is given about each experiment. A table correlates the lecture to the National Science Education Standards. This group of authors published a related article on pizza in JFSE 9(4), October 2010, accessible at

Teerasong S and McClain RL. 2011. A Student-Made Microfluidic Device for Electrophoretic Separation of Food Dyes. J Chem Ed 88(4):465–7. DOI: 10.1021/ed100717m Supporting material at – may require subscription

As with all activities presented in the Journal of Chemical Education, details on experimental procedure and hazards are given in a clear and concise manner. This activity introduces undergraduate students to microfluidics. The literature cited section provides the reader with detailed background information.

A selection of nutrition education websites:

Food and Nutrition Information Center, National Agricultural Library, USDA Accessed 8/16/2011

American Dietetic Association, National Nutrition Month, Nutrition Education and Information Campaign Accessed 8/16/2011