As a follow up to Dr. Hyland’s Foodborne Outbreak workshop back in December, The MiniOne Team decided to also host a free Foodborne Outbreak Investigation workshop at the La Jolla/Riford Library – this time for AP Biology Teachers.
Why Foodborne Outbreak?
CSI Forensics labs have traditionally been a very popular topic in the classroom due to exposure from the media, but what about Foodborne Outbreaks? It’s in the news and compared to a violent crime, it’s much more easily relatable. Chances are, a student has had his fair share of experience in a foodborne illness by the time he reaches high school age.
Foodborne Outbreak is a real world problem that is not specific to an area or population, but can affect anyone who has contact with food.
About the Foodborne Outbreak Investigation MiniLab
Rather than simply having students read a fictional case and do a confirmation experiment, we thought it might be fun to do something based off of a real case in January/February of the year 2000. We even consulted public health officials and conducted interviews to ensure correctness and find out the progression through “solving” a foodborne outbreak case.
In this lab, students make use of the scientific process to mimic the process of public health officials. Rather than just simulating the best-case scenario, students are challenged to observe phenomena, generate a testable hypothesis based on gathered data and design an experiment to test that hypothesis. Just like in a real situation students are provided with extra pieces of information and samples that may or may not be relevant to the problem in question.
There is no single right answer or correct way to approach the problem and with the big push for NGSS, we want students to collaborate, communicate and discuss why they chose a specific approach over another. The purpose of this lab is to help students develop the skill sets needed to logically and systematically approach a problem rather than finding THE ANSWER.
Like what you hear? Stay tuned for more MiniOne workshops for teachers at the La Jolla/Riford Library!
I really enjoyed testing the new Foodborne Outbreak Investigation Kit at Embi Tec’s recent workshop in La Jolla. They have taken the time to make the activity compelling, relevant and engaging. All of the reagents and materials worked very well, the methods are simple enough for students to follow and the data was clear.
I’m planning to add this lab activity to my AP Biology curriculum next year.
– Cheryl Eisen
San Diego Jewish Academy