Once school begins, the murmurings of potential science fair projects are sure to follow. Many household finances are tighter than ever. Using food in science gives younger generations a better understanding of the items they consume (or should be eating) on a daily basis.
One of the 5th grade science projects using food involves the use of popcorn. Students study kernel composition and moisture content. Or take an in-depth look at popcorn's nutritional content including fiber, fat and carbohydrates. Another informative idea Investigates which brand produces the largest amount of unpopped kernels in a single serving. Popping different brands helps determine which produces the largest popped kernel. An additional study details the ratio of unpopped kernels per every 100 pieces of popping corn.
A fifth grade student in Texas examined if certain food items had deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). DNA gives organisms their unique physical characteristics. The project involves liquifying onions, broccoli, okra and bananas in separate containers. The purees were mixed with a saline solution and poured through coffee filters. After applying meat tenderizer and alcohol, a mucus-like material appeared containing DNA. After examination under a microscope, it was determined that all the items had DNA except the okra. Select a new group of fruits and/or vegetables to expand on the idea.
Another project ranks food by their moisture levels. Adult supervision is required. Fruits and vegetables are weighed individually on a food scale before being placed in a warm oven. Cook times and oven temperatures vary depending on the food being dried. Weigh the item again once the drying process is completed. Subtract dried weights from pre-processing weights to determine moisture levels. List items in order, from those that have the most moisture to those having the least moisture. Discuss how consumption of each item effects water levels in the human body.
According to the United States Food And Drug Administration, herbs and spices have been used to preserve foods and enhance their taste. Take foods that are prone to turn brown, like apple slices, and apply different spices to see if the browning process is stopped or slowed. Suggested spices include cinnamon, salt and cumin.