Food pack with a high fact content

7th November 1997 at 00:00
Food - A Fact for Life. British Nutrition Foundation Pounds 60. Pack containing 38 key facts, 33 information sheets, 10 data sheets, 10 case studies, 1 video, 21 stimulus sheets, 12 commodity cards, 18 How to . . . cards, 4 posters and a teacher's guide and glossary.

This extensive teaching pack looks at the whole process of food product development and manufacturer from concept to distribution. The materials can be used for key stage 3, but are most suitable for GCSE food technology courses. They provide high-quality, stimulating and innovative resources for teaching key concepts, as well as a reference source.

Pupils will be able to check on facts or pro-cesses, before applying them to design-and-make tasks. Background information and extension tasks are easily accessible and play a vital role in enabling pupils to work independently.

The video provides a comprehensive overview of product design and development in a style that will certainly appeal to secondary school pupils. The accompanying notes recommend using the natural breaks between sequences for discussion, clarification and completing related tasks. This is essential advice as the video covers a huge amount of ground in only 13 minutes, drawing on aspects of at least five food products and manufacturers.

It begins with one of the teenage presenters helping to make a Thai green curry in the Marks and Spencer test kitchen. Moments later another carries out a sensory evaluation of Turkish delight. Then it's swiftly on to developing and testing a nutty biscuit recipe, before a trip to a fish finger factory, where the blocks of frozen fish are divided, battered, breadcrumbed, fried, checked, packed and distributed. Finally we hear about Coca-Cola's marketing strategies, such as the "scratch 'n' sniff" T-shirts used to launch a new fruit drink.

Watched in sections, the video will help pupils understand the possibilities of transferring their own design work to an industrial setting. The footage of what happens in industry is invaluable. The explanations and demonstrations of the "pilot plant", which show how a recipe performs using industrial rather than domestic techniques and equipment, is particularly useful - so is the section on scale-up and manufacture.

The colourful information sheets provide an equally varied menu of opportunities. In-deed their potential is limitless. The Key Fact summaries are suitable for younger or lower ability pupils with a set of smaller "How to" sheets for classroom research. Data Sheets provide information on topics such as food consumption and expenditure trends, which makes it possible to set food design work in a social and economic context.

Each case study involves a believable cast of characters such as Jerry, an unhealthy-looking, young businessman who indulges in daily snacking, and could form the basis for product development assignments.

All the items are available individually, but it's well worth considering purchasing the whole pack. The writers have succeeded in making the subject accessible, exciting and motivating for teenagers without compromising its scientific and technological basis. Food Technology will, without doubt, encourage pupils to explore the possibility of further study and a career in this area, something few publications have achieved in recent years.

Kate Schofield teaches technology at Falmer School, Brighton

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