Learn about food science and systems in a guided course that lets you work at your own pace.
|Start / End Dates||Monday January 23 - Friday June 30, 2023|
Enrollment + Project Add-on
This is a guided course where you will learn about food systems (conventional industrial, organic industrial, sustainable, wild) in the United States today.
Michael Pollan’s book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma – Young Reader’s Edition, will be the textbook for the course. For each section of the book, there will be 1-2 activities offered for you to do independently (alone or with family) that connect to the topic discussed in the book.
Each main part of the book will include a larger cumulative project to reinforce topics learned. Final project options will be offered at the end of the course.
As a guided class, you will do most of this class at your own pace (no full class live meetings on a regular basis), with periodic check-ins with the instructor for feedback, guidance, and review.
This guided class structure is great for a learner with a flexible schedule, or who likes to go at their own pace and get a little guidance as needed. Self-motivated and advanced/gifted students may find a good fit with this course.
This course was planned around completing 1 section + activity per week, but as a guided class, you can take as much or as little time as you need.
There are 22 chapters in the book (spread across 4 main parts), each with 1-3 activities that help to engage active learning, along with suggested cumulative projects for each main part of the book.
Each chapter of reading should take no more than 30 minutes for average-speed middle-school readers. Activities will take between 1-3 hours.
The course outline is available as a free preview on Teachable.
Access to the course will be open until the end of the semester (June 30), but if you need more time, you may contact the instructor to extend access.
Course Credit Information
This course is worth 60 instructional hours based on an estimate of reading, activities, and instructor feedback/interaction.
How Does This Course Work?
As a Guided Course, you get to choose exactly when during the week you will do readings and other activities. Each week on Monday, a new chapter and set of activities will be made available, and you will have until Sunday night to complete and submit an activity for feedback.
Learning Activities (aka “homework”)
Activities that accompany each part of the text are intended as opportunities for you to engage more fully with the material. You will get the most benefit from this course by attempting every activity, however you and your family are free to opt out of any assignments that do not align with your learning goals.
At a minimum, it is expected that you submit the following for feedback:
Part 1: 3 completed Activities
Part 2: 1 completed Activity
Part 3: 2 completed Activities
Part 4: 2 completed Activities
Summary project (add-on only): A project that has a proposal, rough draft, and final draft submitted (guidance provided in the class)
This allows you to choose which assignments to submit to the instructor. They can represent your best work, or they can be work that you struggled with and would like support improving.
Late projects will not receive instructor feedback unless arrangements have been made in advance between parent/guardian and instructor.
Please inquire with the instructor before registering if you want to receive a grade for this course so they can work with you on a process that meets your learner’s needs.
You are welcome to contact the instructor any time via email, Discord, Teachable comment, or another agreed-upon asynchronous communication method, and the instructor will respond within 2-3 business days.
This course also includes 60 minutes of optional live “office hours” time that you may schedule as needed to support learning. Some examples of this: 3 x 20 minute meetings to brainstorm, organize, and receive draft feedback on the summary project; 2 x 30 minute check-ins to talk through major parts of the book and answer questions. You do not need to use all of this time if you prefer not to; it is a resource that is included in the course to support learners who benefit from live interaction.
- Read/listen to a non-fiction book written for young readers
- Basic thinking and questioning skills
- Basic analysis: process outside information and connect to book discussion
- Basic research: look up information (online or hard copy resources)
- Create basic deliverable: communicate in a tangible way that can be evaluated (text, audio/video recording, slide presentation, etc.)
- Self-management: plan or take initiative (with parent/guardian assistance) in lesson progress
- Communication: ask for help / interaction when needed
Skills and Knowledge Developed
- Read/listen to an informative book (930 Lexile)
- Recall and remember key points
- Ask inquisitive questions before and after reading
- Cross-reference information and data
- Utilize resources to find out more information (research skills)
- Explore ethical and moral issues related to food
- Self-reflect on one’s own culture and food practices
- Perspective taking while learning about other people’s food practices
- Understanding connections between food systems and food options
- Understand how food works in different systems
- Understand how plants, non-human animals, and humans interact in food systems
- Use an interdisciplinary approach to approach complex issues
You will need a copy of The Omnivore’s Dilemma: Young Readers Edition, by Michael Pollan. This course will NOT use the original (adult) edition of The Omnivore’s Dilemma.
This book is available in hard copy (paperback and hardback), as well as in digital and audiobook.
Activities will require some materials depending on how you choose to accomplish them.
For example, you may need a way to take notes while checking prices of foods at a store. Some project may involve an option to buy food and eat it. However, all activities should be able to be completed without incurring excessive cost or needing special materials unless you choose to try something specific (like cook with new ingredients).
Check-ins with the instructor can be done using email or Discord (text). Live interaction with the instructor will use Zoom unless you prefer another option (check with instructor). If you wish to talk with the instructor during live meetings, a working microphone will be needed.
Assignments may be turned in to the instructor by email or Dropbox. Please contact the instructor beforehand to choose how best to send in an assignment.
Dr. Sabrina Weiss
Dr. Sabrina Weiss specializes in developing theoretical models that represent the ethical and social dimensions of issues at the intersection of science, technology, and society.
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