Lab Cat

15 May 2006

Corn starch video, teaching food chem and New Scientist links

Filed under: Food, Science, Teaching — Cat @ 2:25 pm

A link I forgot to share on Friday was this one on corn starch:

corn starch

It is actually an old video – I first saw it in 2003 when I had a visiting undergrad repeat the experiment as her research project. In Friday's class, I was trying to make the lab more interesting – they were measuring the viscosity of corn starch – so I showed them the video, as it is do with the shear thickening behavior of corn starch. They were very interested and wanted to try it. So I promised them, may be next semester in food chemistry. They then designed a hypothesis for their cornstarch solutions. We already had the experimental procedure. I know that is kind of backwards, but it was the first time they've thought about the why of a lab rather than using my objectives in the lab manual. Food chemistry, the way I teach it, has labs that are more independent with the students doing semester long team research projects. I see the three courses, food analysis, food chemistry and food capstone as a series. Food analysis teaches them techniques, data analysis, poster presentations and starting scientific writing; food chem is experimental design, literature review, group dynamics, extensive written and oral communication and capstone is all of those – they have to design a food product from raw materials to product launch. I have yet to have any student do all three courses since I've changed their emphasis.

New Scientist has some interesting articles on food. These should be freely accessible:

Problems with the maize gene bank

Even more problems with the banana gene bank (we've got to sort that one out, I love bananas)

Sugar drinks leave US schools – great now, our kids can drink more sodas with aspartame. Oh wait, that's ok now!

How a calorie-restricted diet extends life

One that requires subsciption:

Red wine helps with deafness

I have a heavy week, it being the three days of the semester; I did to write my final exam and then start grading. My choir's concert with DSO is on Friday and Saturday, so we have rehearsals are every night except tomorrow. So I am going to be posting even less than normal. I don't know how the other bloggers do multiple posts per day.


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2 Comments »

  1. I don’t know how anyone does multiple posts per day either. Never fear, I like your blog quite a bit, and I don’t even care about half the food stuff. I do like bananas though also. Save the bananas by all means. If red beets go extinct however, let them.

    ;-P

    Seriously though, I like the way you think, thus your blog is enjoyable. Plus, right now it has a picture of goats that you wanted to bring home as playmates for Murphy, and a menthol T-shirt, and lots of wild yarn, and zen quotes, and a video on corn starch (which strikes me funny for some reason). Its a fun weird combo of stuff – I’d say you’ve got blogging down (plus I like weird things).

    Comment by Lisa Gensel — 16 May 2006 @ 9:58 pm

  2. Hey Lisa

    Thanks

    Cat

    Comment by Cat — 17 May 2006 @ 9:12 am


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