National Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix
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FoodMASTER: Milk and Cheese
3 - 5
Two 60-minute sessions
Students will taste test four different milks while comparing color, texture, taste and cost. In addition, students will read the four milk food labels and complete a table comparing calories, fat and calcium found in the milks. The class will make cottage cheese by heating milk to the proper temperature and adding an acid (vinegar) to speed up the separation of curds and whey.
- For the teacher: 4 “type of milk” signs (“Whole,” “2%,” “Skim,” “Soy”), 4 trays (cafeteria style) or trash cans, 1/2 gallon whole milk, 1/2 gallon 2% milk, 1/2 gallon skim milk, 1/2 gallon soy milk, food labels for each milk.
- For each student: 4 small cups.
- Many Milks student handout
- Comparing Milk student handout
- For the teacher: 1 single or double burner hot plate, 1 large stainless steal pot, bimetallic stemmed thermometer, 1 liquid measuring cup, strainer, 1 clear glass or jar, 1 large spoon, 1 medium bowl, 1 set measuring spoons, 1 table knife, 1 gallon 2% milk, 1/2 cup vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt. Optional: Cheese cloth.
- For each student: 1 small paper plate, 2 crackers.
- Making Cheese student handout
- Curds and Whey student handout
While You Wait: Tasty Cheese
- For each student: 1 napkin or plate, 1 slice regular American cheese, 1 slice low-fat American cheese, food labels for each cheese.
- Note: Before starting the lesson, remove and save original cheese package labels. Then label one kind of cheese A and the other kind B
- While You Wait: Tasty Cheese student handout
Essential Files (maps, charts, pictures, or documents)
- Math Enrichment Activity Key
- Student Handouts
- Bacteria for Breakfast (Math Enrichment Handouts)
- Teacher Answer Key
whey: a thin liquid that is leftover after milk curdles
pasteurize: to heat a food in order to kill bacteria
nutrients: substances needed to keep the body healthy like vitamins and minerals
enzyme: a protein that speeds up a chemical reaction
curds: solid clumps that form when milk is curdled (curds are used to make cheese)
calcium: a mineral that helps build strong bones
age: store for a period of time to develop flavor
acid: a chemical compound that tastes sour
Background Agricultural Connections
Interest Approach – Engagement
- Introduce the lesson by reading the clues below and ask the students to make a guess for which food item you have described.
- This food should be consumed after you exercise because it has protein for your muscles, carbohydrates to give you energy, and electrolytes to keep you hydrated.
- This food is produced by all mammals, but cattle provide most of it for our food supply.
- This food is the most abundant source of the nutrients necessary for strong and healthy bones.
- This food starts on a farm called a "dairy."
- This food can be processed into other healthy foods such as cheese and yogurt.
- What food is it? Milk!
Activity 1: Many Milks
Scientific Inquiry: Comparing Milk
- Read Many Milks and complete the Doodle Bugs.
- Set up four stations, one for each type of milk. Each station should include a sign identifying the type of milk, one small cup per student with one to two ounces of the milk inside and a tray or trash can for discarding cups.
- Students may predict which milk will taste the best and the worse and which milk will be the healthiest.
- Divide the class into four groups. The groups will rotate to each of the four stations, taste testing the milk at each station and completing the Milk Taste Test table.
- Next, students will explore milk food labels. Tell your class that most foods are required to have a food label with Nutrition Facts. Explain that you can compare the nutrition of two different foods or brands by reading the label. Then show the class where to find the serving size, total calories, fat and calcium on a food label. Point out that different units are used for different nutrients. The units include calories, grams and milligrams.
- Give each group one food label to read (either a label directly from one of the milk containers or a copy from this manual). Ask the groups to complete the line on the Milk Nutrition Facts table for their specific milk. Remind them to include units of measurement.
- Use each group’s answers to complete the rest of the Milk Nutrition Facts table as a class.
- Finish up the lesson by instructing students to answer the final questions and holding a class discussion.
- Which milk do you think tastes the best? The worst?
- Which milk is the healthiest?
- Has anyone tasted skim milk before? Did you like it? Did it have more, less or the same amount of calcium as the other milks?
- Do you think you could switch to a lower fat milk, like skim milk?
- Did you know some people are allergic to cow’s milk and cannot drink it without getting sick? Other people are lactose intolerant and can’t drink cow's milk either. Soy milk is a good option for people who can’t drink cow’s milk. However, some people may be allergic to soy, so soy milk is not an option for everyone. (People with a lactose intolerance can drink Lactose Free milk or take lactase enzymes when they drink regular cow’s milk.)
- Has anyone tasted soy milk before? Did you like it? Did it have more, less or the same amount of calcium as the other milks?
- Do you think you get more nutrients from drinking soda-pop or milk? kool-aid or milk? Tea or milk?
Activity 2: Making Cheese
Scientific Inquiry: Curds and Whey
- Begin heating milk in a large stainless steal pot, over medium-high heat. It will take about 30-40 minutes to slowly heat the milk, so plan accordingly.
- Read Making Cheese and complete the Doodle Bugs.
- Follow the Scientific Inquiry: Curds and Whey instructions. Allow students to check the temperature and measure the vinegar. Be sure all students are given a chance to observe the separation of curds and whey.
- While the curd is cooling, complete While You Wait: Tasty Cheese. Discuss low-fat cheese.
- After the curd has cooled for about 30 minutes, drain the whey. If the curd is cool enough, students may help squeeze the whey from the curd using a cheese cloth. Or students can remove additional whey by pressing the curd down into the strainer with a large spoon.
- Place drained curds in a bowl. Allow students to measure the salt, add the salt and stir the cheese.
- Serve the fresh cheese on small plates with crackers.
- Students will complete the Cheese Facts table. Remind students that this cheese is like cottage cheese. Ask students “What additional steps are used to make hard cheeses like cheddar cheese?” (Pressing the curd into chunks of cheese and aging the cheese).
While You Wait: Tasty Cheese
- Pass out a piece of cheese A and a piece of cheese B to each student. Students may place their cheeses on a plate or napkin. Remind them not to mix up Cheese A and B.
- After students have tasted both cheeses and answered questions one to three, reveal the true low-fat cheese.
- Count the number of students whose prediction was correct and the number of students whose prediction was incorrect. Use this information to complete the Students’ Correct/Incorrect Predictions for Low-fat Cheese graph.
- Discuss how well they liked/disliked the low-fat cheese. Be sure to mention that the low-fat cheese has fewer calories but the same amount of calcium. Ask “Does anyone already eat low-fat cheese at home?” Ask “Do you think you could ask your parents to buy low-fat cheese?”
- Discuss how low-fat cheese and regular cheese are made.
Concept Elaboration and Evaluation
After conducting these activities, review and summarize the following key concepts:
- Milk is produced on farms by dairy cattle.
- Milk and dairy products can be purchased in non-fat, reduced-fat, or without fat reduction.
- The nutrition fact label can help you determine the nutrients contained in a particular food.
We welcome your feedback! Please take a minute to tell us how to make this lesson better or to give us a few gold stars!
Bacteria for Breakfast: Complete the math enrichment activity included with this lesson. Students will learn about the beneficial bacteria found in yogurt and calculate serving sizes.
Farmer's Market Tour: Arrange a tour of your community's farmers' market in the fall or spring to observe the variety of food items farmers have produced. Assign students to talk with the farmers to learn more about what they do. If a real tour is not possible, have students do a virtual tour online or invite one or more local farmers to talk about their role and the work they do in your community.
Visit the Interactive Map Project website and view the Dairy Cattle Inventory map. As a class identify the highest milk producing states and discuss the factors which could contribute to the success of dairy farms such as climate, open space, etc. Identify where your state ranks in dairy cattle production and discuss the factors contributing to the statistic.
Visit the Interactive Map Project website and view the maps representing Milk and Cheese Production in the United States. Identify the states that produce the most milk and cheese, then find where your state ranks for milk and cheese production. Ask students if they can find a correlation between the information found in the two maps. (The top producing cheese states also rank in the top for milk production.)
Suggested Companion Resources
- Food Group Puzzle (Activity)
- Clarabelle (Book)
- Extra Cheese, Please! (Book)
- Food (Book)
- Let's Make Butter (Book)
- Look Inside Food (Book)
- The Milk Makers (Book)
- Biotech Cheese Kit (Kit)
- "Cheese Science-As Gouda as TV Gets" Video Series (Multimedia)
- Brittlelactica: Planet in Need (Multimedia)
- Consider the Source- Cheese (Multimedia)
- Dairy in the Mountain West: Our Family of Farmers (Multimedia)
- Eat Happy Project video series (Multimedia)
- Hilmar Cheese Company Virtual Video Tour (Multimedia)
- Make Mine Milk (Multimedia)
- NMSU Field Trip: Milk (Multimedia)
- The Journey of Milk (Multimedia)
- Dairy Reader (Booklets & Readers)
- Discover Dairy (Website)
- The Science of Cooking (Website)
Agricultural Literacy Outcomes
Food, Health, and Lifestyle
- Describe the necessary food components of a healthy diet using the current dietary guidelines (T3.3-5.a)
- Distinguish between processed and unprocessed food (T3.3-5.c)
Education Content Standards
Health Standard 1: Comprehend concepts related to health promotion and disease prevention to enhance health.
1.5.1Describe the relationship between healthy behaviors and personal health.
Health Standard 7: Demonstrate the ability to practice health-enhancing behaviors and avoid or reduce health risks.
7.5.2Demonstrate a variety of healthy practices and behaviors to maintain or improve personal health.
5-PS3-1Use models to describe that energy in animals' food (used for body repair, growth, and motion and to maintain body warmth) was once energy from the sun.
Common Core Connections
Speaking and Listening: Anchor Standards
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.1Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.2Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
Language: Anchor Standards
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.1Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
Mathematics: Practice Standards
CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP1Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them. Students start by explaining to themselves the meaning of a problem and looking for entry points to its solution. They analyze givens, constraints, relationships, and goals. They make conjectures about the form and meaning of the solution and plan a solution pathway rather than simply jumping into a solution attempt. They consider analogous problems, and try special cases and simpler forms of the original problem in order to gain insight into its solution. They monitor and evaluate their progress and change course if necessary. Students check their answers to problems using a different method, and they continually ask themselves, “Does this make sense?” They can understand the approaches of others to solving complex problems and identify correspondences between different approaches.
CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP4Model with mathematics. Students can apply the mathematics they know to solve problems arising in everyday life, society, and the workplace. Students who can apply what they know are comfortable making assumptions and approximations to simplify a complicated situation, realizing that these may need revision later. They are able to identify important quantities in a practical situation and map their relationships using such tools as diagrams, two-way tables, graphs, flowcharts and formulas. They can analyze those relationships mathematically to draw conclusions.