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Physical Science 107: Food Matters – Our Field Trip to The Plant

Geoffrey Martin and Joy Walker taught together in a Learning Community with the theme: Food Matters. On Saturday December 1st we went with our students to visit “The Plant” – an innovative concept centered around sustainability. Watch a video to learn about “The Plant”

http://www.plantchicago.com/how-does-the-plant-work/

We gathered outside the plant around noon:

Learning Community: Food Matters

Learning Community: Food Matters

We entered into a room with some architetural models made by IIT students. These represent visions of what “The Plant” will become:

Students consider models

Students consider models

The size of our group grew and more students joined us for the tour:

The Tour Begins

The Tour Begins

We toured from room to room – and were asked to imagine the possibilities. This project is due to be completed in about four years:

Bread Oven

Bread Oven

An Old Meat Packing Plant Will Be Transformed

An Old Meat Packing Plant Will Be Transformed

Imagine a Brewery Here

Imagine a Brewery Here

Imagine Lush Summer Gardens Here

Imagine Lush Summer Gardens Here

An aneorobic generator will provide heat and electricity. Here students learn about the generator:

The Generator

The Generator

Dirt dug up during remodeling will feed the anerobic digester. Nothing is wasted.

This Dirt Will Be Used

This Dirt Will Be Used

One room holds materials waiting to be recycles for new uses:

Recycle

Recycle

The Plant already has aquaponics – the combination of hydroponics and fish tanks:

Aquaponics - Floating rafts of green

Aquaponics - Floating rafts of green

Plants are grown indoors under artificial lighting. Students learning about the best frequencies to support plant growth and how that changes with purple plants:

Different kinds of Plants Need Different Frequencies of Light

Different kinds of Plants Need Different Frequencies of Light

Students enjoyed looking at plants and at the fish:

Would you eat these plants?

Would you eat these plants?

The Plants Are Fed Fish Waste

The Plants Are Fed Fish Waste

Tilapia Make Good Farm Fish

Tilapia Make Good Farm Fish

At the end of the tour we gathered for a group photo. Elizabeth Rosenthal (Math Instructor) joined us for the tour and took our group photographs. Thank you!

Food Matters Learning Community

Food Matters Learning Community

We finished up a wonderful day with a meal at a local Mexican restaurant:

Enjoying a Meal Together

Enjoying a Meal Together

Geoffrey wanted one more photo to include Elizabeth:

At the Restaurant

At the Restaurant

Overall this experience was very enjoyable! We learned about a dream in progress. We hope to return and see how “The Plant” unfolds.

 

 

Physical Science 107 – Food Matters: Happenings

A special thanks to Edwin Contreras for building a plant stand to me used for special projects in the future. Edwin’s project will be to research ideas for ways to use this resource.

Plant Shelves

Plant Shelves

Today the class learned about making candy. The recipe was for Sea Foam Candy which depends on a reaction between vinegar and baking soda. The sugar solution much reach a temperature of 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Boiling Sugar Solution

Boiling Sugar Solution

Ingredient needed for this recipe are shown here:

Ingredients for Sea Foam Candy

Ingredients for Sea Foam Candy

Students learned about the candy test that determines the sugar concentration. Read more.

 

Physical Science 107: Important Announcements

Study the main points at the bottom of this page:

http://justonly.com/physci/ps107food/lessons/climate_change.php

Exam Four is WEDNESDAY not Monday! On Monday we will play jeopardy and get ready for the test. Please note the following:

Notebooks are due on Wednesday. This is the LAST check and the last opportunity to receive points for the notebook. Make sure you  have notes on news articles, glossary words, and notes from class.

This is the fourth test. There will be one more test – a test that covers the entire course. You will be able to drop your lowest score from your grade calculation.

You need to have an approved project idea by Wednesday at the latest!!

If you haven’t done so already, please turn in the packet on Transportation and Food.

Gardening and Physical Science 107: Wow – This is such an interesting concept!

Please watch this video about “The Plant” – a sustainable idea!

http://www.plantchicago.com/how-does-the-plant-work/

Physical Science 107: Check the syllabus for updated lessons

I’ve posted material for lessons five and six on the web. Please review it.

http://justonly.com/physci/ps107food/syllabus.php

Physical Science 107: Vocabulary Building

Here is a direct link to the words we discussed today:

http://justonly.com/physci/ps107food/pdfs/vocabulary_words_01.pdf

 

PS 107: Jeopardy Game is available online

Here is the link:

http://justonly.com/physci/ps107food/lessons/jeopardy/

Phy Sci 107 and English 101: Ginkgo Garden Trip

Our learning community, Food Matters, visited Ginkgo Organic Garden today. Susan, a volunteer at the garden, gave us a very informative tour. Here are some highlights:

Truman Learning Community Students: Food Matters

Truman Learning Community Students: Food Matters

Not all of the students fit in this first photograph. They are arranging themselves in a small space in front of the herb garden. You’ll see lots of chives in this photograph and a fig tree! The fig tree survives the Chicago winter by being burried in the soil.

More students

More students

Here’s another view. Someone has an unbrella. We were very fortunate it didn’t rain during out trip. The day started out with lots of rain.

Carrots in the bathtub

Carrots in the bathtub

There were many examples of container gardening. Here are some carrots and, if you can spot it, a little mushroom. The carrots appear to be enjoying they iron and ceramic home.

Butterfly wanna be...

Butterfly wanna be...

This very beautiful caterpillar is eating away getting ready for his transformation. Bugs are an important part of a garden.

Earth worms

Earth worms

Susan holds some rich composted soil oozing with worms and explains how healthy this mixture is for supporting vigorous plants.

Healthy bounty

Healthy bounty

The produce grown in this garden is donated to a food pantry and helps to feed our community. 1000s of pounds of vegetables are grown in this urban garden.

Susan gives a tour

Susan gives a tour

Susan was a wonderful tour guide – the students asked so many questions. We all learned something today!

Phy Sci 107: Ginkgo Organic Gardens

Today our class will visit Ginkgo Organic Gardens!

http://www.ginkgogardens.org/

I am really looking forward to this trip.

Physical Science 107: Say Cheese

First of all I would like to thank the student who took all of these wonderful pictures. Please email me and tell me your name! You deserve some recognition – every photo turned out beautifully.

Today we made cheese to demonstrate the coagulation of proteins with acid. The milk curdles and we end up with curds and whey. We strain the mixture – the curds become cheese and the whey is thrown away.

The process begins with the mixing of milk, buttermilk and lemon juice at a temperature of 175 degrees fahrenheit.

Warming Milk

Warming Milk

The document camera is a great piece of equipment – everyone has a magnified view.

Straining Cheese

Straining Cheese

The cheese needs time to drip away the liquids. We didn’t give it enough time to end up with a hard cheese – we made a soft creamy cheese.
Cheese cloth is used to separate the curds

Cheese cloth is used to separate the curds

The cheese is then tied up.
Dripping over a pan

Dripping over a pan

This Farmer’s cheese can be dressed up with some herbs, a little salt and some pepper.

Farmer's Cheese

Farmer's Cheese

Students are invited to taste the cheese with some crackers.

Cheese and Crackers

Cheese and Crackers

This is a fun way to learn.

 

Physical Science 107: Basic Food Molecules

On Wednesday we continued our discussion of Basic Food Molecules. These are water, carbohydrates, proteins and fats/oils. Students built models of beta-D-glucose, a very important molecule both as a simple sugar and as a building block for cellulose and starch.

beta-D-glucose

beta-D-glucose: black for carbon, red for oxygen and yellow for hydrogen.

Notice that there are three colors in this model – black for carbon, red for oxygen and yellow for hydrogen. Beta-D-glucose is a very important sugar. It occurs naturally in many foods and sucrose (ordinary table sugar) is made from a unit of glucose and a unit of fructose. When ordinary sugar breaks down in the body – glucose is released.

beta-D-glucose

Students construct models to better understand the form of this molecule.

Something to notice about this molecule. Five carbons and one oxygen form a six membered ring. Sticking onto the ring are hydrogen atoms and hydroxyl groups (oxygen and hydrogen). Sugars are sticky – due to all those hydrogens and oxygens which are capable of hydrogen bonding with other molecules. Hydrogen bonding is an attraction of hydrogen on one molecule to electrons on another molecule (typically electrons on oxygen or nitrogen).

Once the students built glucose they used paper models created by Professor Charles Abrams to better understand how these rings form long chains. The chains form sheets. The sheets form layers. And you have cellulose – a carbohydrate that is impossible for humans to digest.

cellulose

Cellulose is made of pleated layers of glucose units.

The stands on each of the four corners are not part of the cellulose structure. They are just there to hold the layers of cellulose in place. If you look closely you will see the rings printed on the paper. These are the same rings that make glucose moledules but they have been flattened into the paper.

You can see another image of a cellulose structure here: http://www.doitpoms.ac.uk/tlplib/wood/structure_wood_pt1.php

The sheets are much larger than shown here – being formed from tens of thousands of glucose rings.

cellulose

Cellulose Model

Putting models together is a great way to begin to picture these important molecules. Cellulose is a structural carbohydrate. It is responsible for the fiber in plants.

cellulose

building models together

Students work in groups so they can discuss their observations and compare their results. In this photograph you can see models of another carbohydrate: amylose. Amylose can form coils (alpha helix form) so look for the rolled up tubes. The carbohydrate begins as a long chain and then, because of hydrogen bonding, curls around itself.

PS107: Food Matters

Class began today and it was lovely to meet all of you. I look forward to an exciting learning experience. To ensure your success it is a good idea to read the blog. It will also be VERY important that you bring your journal to every class so if you have not already done so please purchase a bound composition notebook.

Your homework is to look over the website and read all the documents that are posted. Our lecture on Food Molecules will continue on Wednesday. Enjoy your English 101 class.

PS 107: Plastics (Student Video)

Patrick Erwin made this video about Plastics:

Physical Science 107: Jeopardy

The latest jeopardy game, jeopardy fire, is now posted:

http://justonly.com/physci/ps107/lessons/jeopardy/index.php

Announcement: Is Your Life Too Plastic

In case you haven’t heard, the Uptown Exchange student newspaper is hosting an Earth Day movie and discussion on Monday, April 23, from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in room 3426 (Novar Hall). See details here:

http://uptownexchange.wordpress.com/2012/04/10/is-your-life-too-plastic/

Editor-in-chief Patrick Erwin took the initiative to organize this happening, the kind of event hosted by news organizations around the country in the interests of public discussion and sharing of information.

Physical Science 107: Connect the Dots (video)

I think this video is interesting. But is it factual? Is it persuasive? You tell me…

http://www.climatedots.org/thingshappen/

Physical Science 107: Student Project – Biodiesel

Please view the powerpoint presentation on biodiesel fuels prepared by Sabrina Bokhari.

http://justonly.com/physci/ps107/student_work/biodiesel.pdf

We will discuss this in class.

Physical Science 107: More jeopardy

Please visit this page to find links to jeopardy games

http://justonly.com/physci/ps107/lessons/jeopardy/index.php

 

Physical Science 107: C2ST Talk at Northwestern, Chicago Campus

Chicago Council on Science and Technology is hosting a presentation:

China’s Clean Energy: Current Research, Development & Cooperation

Anyone who attends can submit their ticket and a summary for extra credit. Student tickets cost $5.

Physical Science 107: Most important article to read

I’ve identified the following article as the most important article to read – it gives the best summary of the issues around fresh water:

http://www.postcarbon.org/Reader/PCReader-Postel-Water.pdf


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