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Elementary School Food Safety Lessons

Lesson 2 Mystery of the Poisoned Panther Picnic

National Health Education Standards
(grades 1-4) 1:8; 3:1; 3:3; 6:1
Introduction
Introduce this lesson: (modify if you did not teach lesson 1)
“In our first lesson we discovered that some bacteria in foods cause illnesses. We learned that we should wash our hands, separate foods, and that bacteria can be destroyed by cooking. Another important rule we learned was to keep foods chilled, so bacteria cannot grow. Today we are going to watch a videotape about a baseball team that had to miss the playoffs because they were sick. I want you to watch carefully so we can discuss what could have been done differently to prevent the team members from getting sick.”
Activity 1
Show The Mystery of the Poisoned Panther Picnic to the students. This is a 13-minute video.
Activity 2
  1. Ask the students:
    “What do you think made the Panthers sick?” (Dirty hands in food preparation; hamburgers stacked on same plate as raw hamburger meat; coughing or sneezing into food; flies on food; potato salad sitting out so bacteria had a chance to grow; hot foods like hamburgers and baked beans not kept hot.)
  2. Record the students’ answers on the board. Be sure to cover each point so vividly illustrated in this video and relate lessons of the video to the principles taught in Lesson 1 (Cook, Chill, Clean, Combat Cross-Contamination). If you did not teach lesson 1, explain the 4C terms to students.
  3. Question the students:
    “You saw that the hamburgers were cooked—why do you think Brian, who cooked the hamburgers, did not get sick?”
Activity 3
  1. Ask the students:
    “What two things are needed for bacteria to grow?” (Time—the longer food sits out the more time bacteria have to grow; Temperature—bacteria grows when food is left in the “danger zone,” between 40° (F) and 140°(F).)
  2. Explain bacteria growth further to students by showing the Danger Zone transparency (optional).
Closure
Review the lesson by saying:
“Who can remember what Lisa, Brian, and their teacher said at the end of the video tape?” (Call on one student to answer.) “Let’s all look at the rule on the board and say it together: ‘Keep it clean. Keep it cold or keep it hot. Or don't you dare eat what's not.’
integration ideas
  • Students can prepare drawings for their families that illustrate: “Keep it clean. Keep it cold or keep it hot. Or don't you dare eat what's not.”
  • Ask the food service supervisor in your school or school district to visit the class and explain how the “Keep it clean. Keep it cold or keep it hot. Or don't you dare eat what's not” rule applies to the food service in the school or district. Be sure to orient the supervisor to the objectives of the lesson already presented.
  • Suggest to the English Department that the concepts taught related to food safety be woven into essays with characters representing the bacteria and those who are trying to keep food safe. Provide the Food Safety Rules Fact Sheet to the English Department for accuracy and inspiration.
  • Discuss with the Art Department the idea of students preparing hand washing reminder posters for all the bathrooms in the school.
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