Biology With Food

In many of my biology lessons I use food as models, examples, and lessons in order to make some difficult or “boring” lessons exciting for my students. What’s not to love? I have combined my love of food and biology to make class fun for the students. And me, because there have been times I have bored myself to sleep, so I keep it fun for me too. Last week we studied blood. To read it from the book is too two dimensional for me and I like three dimensional lessons, lessons that leap off the page, so we made our own blood. After doing some research online I had all the answers I needed.

The picture above is a scale model of 250 grams of homemade blood. You should have seen the kids faces when I announced, “Kids, next Wednesday we are making blood then drinking it.” They thought I was going all vampire on them! But it kept them interested and excited for their lesson. There was some math involved then the fun part; weighing and mixing the ingredients. Here is the break down just in case you are itching to have your own blood model. Plasma makes up 55% of our blood while the cells make up 45%.

Blood 250 grams
Plasma
126 g Karo syrup- water: 92%
11 g colored ball sprinkles- fats, proteins, ions, sugar, amino acids, waste: 8%

Cells
112 g red hots- red blood cells: 99%
1 g mini marshmallow (one) and about 3-4 grains white rice- white blood cell and platelets: 1%

So doesn’t it all make sense now? Look at how many red blood cells there are. Put simply, that is why our blood is red. And how about that one lonesome white blood cell? If this model represented infected blood there would be many more marshmallows. Pretty cool huh? The students thought so too, but no one was game to take a drink! Ice cream topping anyone?

9 Comments

  1. Sabrina
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 8:02 AM | Permalink

    love it, love it, love it! I think I will do this with my kids this summer. Think how much you would have to pay for a camp with this. I think this could be your book. You and Alton brown should team up.

  2. Corinne
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 3:47 PM | Permalink

    Hey how cool! What a fun experiment to do with students! I will surely use this when I become a full-time teacher.

  3. Robin Sue
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 10:10 PM | Permalink

    sabrina- enjoy the fun with goo!! never thought to team up with alton, it would be a hoot. I can act goofy good!

    corinne- the kids really got a kick out of it so hopefully your future students will too.

  4. Sydney
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 12:21 AM | Permalink

    That is awesome.

    wanna come teach me biology? haha

  5. Robin Sue
    Posted May 31, 2008 at 10:06 AM | Permalink

    sydney-I’ll be on line in the fall!

  6. Sydney
    Posted June 1, 2008 at 1:02 AM | Permalink

    Perfect, as I happen to already take my classes online!

  7. Anonymous
    Posted June 6, 2008 at 2:24 PM | Permalink

    I’m jealous! The only food-demo we ever got in biology was a cake with a cell model on it in frosting and candy. This is awesome. Almost makes me want to take another year of bio, lol.

  8. Erica
    Posted August 5, 2012 at 9:52 PM | Permalink

    This is fantastic!! Any other ideas for fun food biology models?

    • Robin Sue
      Posted August 5, 2012 at 10:05 PM | Permalink

      Erica,
      I did a lot of cooking with the kids. Such as dandelion salad when we studied botany. We grew a garden of tomatoes and peppers and made salsa, when talking about taste buds we took the Pepsi challenge, I took clear flavored seltzers and dyed them various colors to see if the kids could guess the flavors- such as dye raspberry seltzer green, lemon seltzer red, orange seltzer purple, strawberry seltzer blue- it is very hard to guess the flavors because the brain is going by color- it’s a great trick in the class with lot’s of wow factor. Have fun!
      Robin

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  1. By 100 Edible Education Projects - Teach Beside Me on December 8, 2014 at 6:00 AM

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