Showing posts with label Agriculture. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Agriculture. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

A TED-Ed Lesson Exploring the Pros and Cons of Types of Milk

TED-Ed released a new lesson this week. The lesson is all about milk. The title of the lesson, Which Kind of Milk is Best for You? doesn't accurately portray the number of lessons and questions that can be raised when students watch the video. 

Which Kind of Milk is Best for You? explains the basics of the nutrition of dairy milk and plant-based milk products like soy, almond, and oat milk. That part of the video is fairly straight-forward. It starts to get interesting when information about how the various milks are created and the environmental impacts of each. It is through the combined lenses of nutrition and environmental impact that the video presents the answer to the question "which kind of milk is best for you?" (Spoiler alert: TED-Ed is not going to be getting any Christmas cards from the dairy farmers of America). 


Applications for Education
When I started watching this video I thought it would just be an overview of nutritional value of the various milks and perhaps how plant-based milk is created. I wasn't expecting it to take a turn toward environment. And as I watched the second half of the video I started to think about the questions and arguments that might be raised by students depending upon their personal backgrounds. For example, students who come from farming families (I have two right now and have had many over the years) might view this lesson and raise some arguments that students who don't have a farming background might not even consider. The video could also lead into discussions about farm and industry subsidies and or their respective lobbying groups. 

Thursday, November 28, 2019

The History of Corn - A TED-Ed Lesson

Pictures of corn like the one in this blog post have become symbols of fall harvest and Thanksgiving. Corn and many products made with it are a staple of the diets of many of us today. How did corn become a staple of our diets? What has enabled it to become one of the most cultivated crops in the world? And what are the consequences of cultivating so much corn? Those questions and many others are addressed in a new TED-Ed lesson titled How Corn Conquered the World.


Applications for Education
This TED-Ed lesson could be the jumping-off point for more or deeper lessons about how agriculture affects many parts of our lives whether we realize it or not. For example the graphs at toward the end of the lesson illustrate how increased corn production contributed to increased meat production and both of those things create environmental impacts. The increase in cheap corn production also increases the amount of cheap junk food which in turn can lead to obesity.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Harvest of History - The History of Farming in North America

Harvest of History is a website produced by the Farmers' Museum in Cooperstown, New York (also the site of the Baseball Hall of Fame). Harvest of History is designed to help students and teachers explore the origins and development of modern farming practices. The basis for Harvest of History is to explore the question, "where did your last meal come from?"

Applications for Education
Harvest of History is designed with elementary school students in mind. The teachers' page provides 16 lesson plans for use with students of fourth grade age. The question, "where did you last meal come from?" and some of the content of Harvest of History could also be used with older students to spark discussion about the development of modern agriculture.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Map Your Recipe - Where Does Your Favorite Food Come From?

Last fall I shared a neat mapping tool called Map Your Recipe. Map Your Recipe allows you to enter a recipe to find out where the vegetables in that recipe were first domesticated. This week the developer of Map Your Recipe informed that the site has been updated to include etymology and current crop producers. To see your favorite recipe mapped for you, enter your list of ingredients then click "submit recipe." If you don't have a recipe handy, you can try Map Your Recipe with one of the sample recipes listed on the site.

Applications for Education
As Thanksgiving in U.S. approaches next month, Map Your Recipe could be a fun tool to have students use to see where their favorite Thanksgiving foods originally came from. To extend the activity you could have students use The History of Harvest to see the process that takes place to get food their dining room tables.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Map Your Recipe Shows Students Where Their Food Really Comes From

Map Your Recipe is a neat use of Google Maps that I recently learned about through Larry Ferlazzo's excellent blog. Map Your Recipe allows you to enter a recipe and find out where the vegetables in that recipe were first domesticated. According to the creator of the site the purpose of doing this is to show how few truly local ingredients go into many of our favorite meals. You can try Map Your Recipe with one of the sample recipes or you can enter a recipe of your own.

Applications for Education
As Thanksgiving approaches in Canada this month and in the U.S. next month, Map Your Recipe could be a fun tool to have students use to see where their favorite Thanksgiving foods originally came from. To extend the activity you could have students use The History of Harvest to see the process that takes place to get food their dining room tables.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Harvest of History Helps Students Understand Farms

Harvest of History is a website produced by the Farmers' Museum in Cooperstown, New York (also the site of the Baseball Hall of Fame). Harvest of History is designed to help students and teachers explore the origins and development of modern farming practices. The basis for Harvest of History is to explore the question, "where did your last meal come from?"

Applications for Education
Harvest of History is designed with elementary school students in mind. The teachers' page provides 16 lesson plans for use with students of fourth grade age. The question, "where did you last meal come from?" and some of the content of Harvest of History could also be used with older students to spark discussion about the development of modern agriculture.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Food Environment Atlas and Food Desert Atlas

Yesterday, I wrote a post about Oxfam's Food Price Pressure Points Map. Through a comment on that post made by Amy Young-Buckler I learned about two related maps that might be of interest to you.

The USDA's Food Desert Locator is a map of food deserts in the United States. The map shows the counties in the US in which a substantial number of people in that area have low access to a large grocery store or supermarket. Click here to read the USDA's definitions of low access and low income areas. You can click on the placemarks on the Food Desert Locator to open information about that food desert.

The USDA's Food Environment Atlas is an interactive map that you can use to visualize many different data sets related to food prices, food access, health statistics, and socio-economic characteristics related to food in the United States. Select one or more data sets from the menus to create a map.

Applications for Education
Both the Food Environment Atlas and the Food Desert Locator could be used in a similar manner to the Oxfam map for creating lessons on nutrition, environment, geography, and agriculture. Have students investigate the causes of food deserts then develop and propose their own solutions to the causes.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Oxfam Food Price Pressure Points Map

Oxfam has published a new Food Price Pressure Points map that shows the places around the world that are most affected by food price spikes. The map contains interactive placemarks that outline the problem, cause, and impact of food price spikes in that location. The map includes a statistics tab that shows the percentage of undernurished people in the places highlighted on the map. You can also view each represented country's dependency on food imports.

You can explore the map as it is embedded below or click here to read Oxfam's blog post about the map and get the code for putting the map in your blog or website.
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Applications for Education
You could use Oxfam's Food Price Pressure Points Map as part of a lesson on nutrition, geography, and or agricultural. Challenge students to create their own maps, using Google Maps, of other places and peoples in the world that are affected by food price spikes. Ask students to include the causes and proposed solutions to the impacts of food price spikes.

Hat tips to Google Maps Mania and Larry Ferlazzo for this one. 

Friday, July 9, 2010

Movie - The Future of Food

Courtesy of Snag Films I recently watched an interesting film about agricultural practices, land use, food consumption, and grocery marketing in the United States. The film is not without some bias, but none-the-less could be the basis for lessons on environmental science as well as business and politics in the US. You can watch the trailer below or watch the entire film on Snag Films.
Watch more free documentaries

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
The Breathing Earth - Interactive Map
The Hidden Water We Use
Explore the Cycle of Recycling

Monday, October 20, 2008

Where Did Your Last Meal Come From? - Farming History

Harvest of History is a website produced by the Farmers' Museum in Cooperstown, New York (also the site of the Baseball Hall of Fame). Harvest of History is designed to help students and teachers explore the origins and development of modern farming practices. The basis for Harvest of History is to explore the question, "where did your last meal come from?"

Applications for Education
Harvest of History is designed with elementary school students in mind. The teachers' page provides 16 lesson plans for use with students of fourth grade age. The question, "where did you last meal come from?" and some of the content of Harvest of History could also be used with older students to spark discussion about the development of modern agriculture.