P199: Incorporating food sampling into an organic and biochemistry course for non-majors
Terms like gluten-free, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and all natural are increasingly being placed on labels of food products. What do these mean? How do these affect our food and bodies? These issues are being addressed as part of a pilot study currently being performed with undergraduate students enrolled in an Organic and Biochemistry course for non-majors. The study is a test of the hypothesis: student engagement and understanding of the material will increase when hot button topics about their food and nutrition are incorporated into the discussion. Novel modules have been developed to help students link the structures and roles of organic and biochemical compounds, a part of the traditionally taught course, to issues that impact their everyday lives and health. In each module, students will perform taste-tests to compare both natural and processed foods. This sampling of different foods will anchor discussions on the structure of gluten, engineered foods and how structure affects flavor. Molecular visualization software, video clips and animations are also components of each module. Students are pre- and post-tested on the chemistry concepts in addition to completing surveys for the collection of qualitative data. Details on the modules and the results of this pilot study will be presented.