The Impacts of Microorganisms on You and Your Neighbors across Borders
Destanie Schneider is an undergraduate student majoring in food science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Destanie collaborated with Joan Brennan. Joan is an 8th grade teacher at Black Hawk Middle School, a public school in Madison, Wisconsin. Destanie and Joan worked together to develop curriculum materials for Joan's classroom that were related to microorganisms and relations between Mexico and the U.S.
Importance: This curriculum is important to use in the classroom for many reasons. One reason was the H1N1 spread and scare in 2009. Many people relied on the media for their information and formed conclusions that may have been incorrect. This curriculum teaches students how to search for reliable information and form reasonable conclusions. Another reason to use this in the classroom is because everyone is related to food in some way. People eat it, grow it, process it, sell it, trade it, research it, and critique it. Food is a part of daily life whether you have it in abundance or do not have it at all. It is a necessity of life to those around the world. Author Michael Pollan and many others have brought up issues relating to food which include local, organic, processed, food safety, and so on. Students should be aware of these issues but also be able to form their own opinions based on critical thinking, problem solving, and research.After traveling to Mexico, I feel there are more similarities between the U.S. and Mexico than most people realize. A goal of this curriculum is to have the students gain a greater understanding of the international relations. With advances in technology, many issues today are dealt with on a global scale rather than national. I encourage students to learn about other countries, travel to other countries, and make connections to what they have learned in school to what happens in everyday life.
Purpose: To create a curriculum that explains the prevalence of microorganisms in everyday life, with an emphasis on the relations between Mexico and the U.S.
Goals & Objectives:
1. Focus on content knowledge, conducting investigations, applications & explanations within the curriculum
2. Focus on structure and function of themes
3. Develop critical thinking, problem solving, and researching skills of students.
The teaching materials in this curriculum are geared toward students and teachers in grades 7-12, although individual exercises are adaptable to different grade levels. The activities engage students in the exploration of the microbial world and its impacts on the community.
Length of Curriculum: Could be completed in 10-12 days depending on background knowledge.
The curriculum is divided into three units:
I. Microorganism Knowledge
II. Epidemic and Food Safety Knowledge
III. Mexico and U.S. Relations
Students can keep a lab journal for all three units. The objective of this is to emphasize conducting investigations, and the importance of recording methods, observations and results. Students can record daily activities, lecture material, and discussions notes in their lab journals.