Consumerism

Teacher of the Month: Donna Cabrera

Congratulations to this month’s teacher of the month, Donna Cabrera, a Family & Consumer Sciences Middle School teacher from Pennsylvania. While this is her first year teaching FACS, she is no stranger to the classroom, having taught Special Education for 10 years.

Subscription Box Creations–Mini-Project

Subscription boxes are all the rage! Why not bring the concept into the classroom, letting imaginations run wild with your students, while they develop new ideas for them around a wellness theme? Thanks to Katie Kensinger, a FACS teacher from Branson High School, Missouri, you can! See her awesome idea below, along with some student samples.

Halloween in the FACS Classroom

You may ask yourself “How does Halloween fit into the FACS classroom?”, but actually there are a variety of ways and areas you can incorporate this event or holiday into your classes. If you have any additional ideas after perusing the list below, please share via the “Be A Part” tab above or the comment section below. Happy Halloween!

Food Preservation Ideas

Many think of canning or preserving foods as an old fashioned way of life or hobby, but with more people venturing into organic gardening, cooking and wanting or needing to know what’s in their foods, canning has definitely made it’s way back into this modern era! If you are thinking about teaching food preservation in your FACS classroom, below are some ideas that may be helpful! Also, check out our book giveaway below!

Activities for Introducing the New Nutrition Facts Label

You are you probably aware that the nutrition facts label has been updated, but do you think your students are aware of the changes made? My guess is that most students will have no idea that the nutrition facts labels have changed or why. So, with that mindset I put together some activities to not only show students the differences between the old and new labels, but to have them put themselves in the driver’s seat and create their own updated version of a nutrition facts label first. This gives them an idea, as a team, how to approach a problem, critically discuss possible changes based on what they know and then come up with a final revision. Finally, they will explore why actual changes were made to the current nutrition facts food labels.

GMO’s

Genetically Modified Foods, known as GMO’s, are foods that have had their genes altered through science or genetic engineering, which is monitored through the EPA, the FDA and the USDA. Did you know that many of the foods found in our grocery stores contain at least one ingredient that has been genetically modified? Should we be informed as consumers when this process is affecting the foods we eat? Should genetically modified foods be labeled? There is a huge debate surrounding this dispute. How do your students weigh in on this topic?

Differently Abled Children & Toys

While I teach lessons on birth defects early in the year when talking about pregnancy, I like to spend more time at the end of the year in a special topics unit teaching about special needs children. This is one of those areas that I love to teach and students really need to be more aware and understanding about because they never know if this will be something that will affect them as future parents or with a family member or something they will need to know because of job or career interests in day care, education or even therapy.

Polyvore Home: Living Room Budget Project

Many young people today think they are just going to go out there and have their “dream” apartment (like they see on TV), complete with top of the line furnishings, etc.  Realistically, most will find they will be grateful for any free or hand-me-down furnishings (although they don’t realize that now).  I wanted students to create a “dream” living room where money was no object.  Their furnishings were based on their personal style, using the web-based technology Polyvore Home and they had to keep a list of expenses. Then, they had to replicate the room on a reduced budget as closely as possible using online department stores, again keeping track of their expenses.  Not only did this project end up being an eye-opener for them in terms of cost, but they learned they could have a similar look, spending much less money. Oh, and did I mention, they also had a lot of fun “decorating and shopping” for a period or two!
 

Hot Cocoa Mix Comparison Lesson

My junior high classes rotate every six weeks which doesn’t leave a whole lot of time to cover all the material that I need or want to. Because of this, I find myself trying to piggyback multiple concepts and standards into a lesson or activity. So when I teach about how to calculate unit prices and read package labels, both ingredient lists and nutrition facts, it makes sense to combine the two into a hands-on hot cocoa mix taste testing lab. Not only does it get the students into the kitchen, but it ties back to everything we covered so far in the rotation, helping them to review the concepts previously learned. In the lab students determine which product they think tastes the best and then in the follow-up students use the product labels to compare everything from unit price to ingredients to nutrition. Do students know their brands like they think they do? Can they determine the healthiest brand for their dollars? This lesson helps them find out!

Body Shapes & Redesigning Barbie Project

We all come in different shapes and sizes so why shouldn’t Barbie? As early as March we will be seeing different shapes and sizes of Barbie on toy shelves in stores across the country. This lesson and project is not about which body shape is best, but about the diversity in body shapes that exists and the beauty in all of them.This lesson and project look at the various body shapes and has students designing their own realistic version of Barbie complete with outfit just like Mattel did. Who knows, students may see themselves sitting on those shelves in the future if they submit their ideas to Mattel, as they continue to reinvent the product in this ingenious marketing strategy that’s been a long time coming!