Part 2: Another RE@L STEM Investigation: Farm to Table™ Is Coming to Teachers, Students and Classrooms Near You! The Rest of the Story...
We last left our RE@LBlog readers almost half way from the dairy farm to the milk in the glass on our tables. Here’s a photo of Al the Milkman waving goodbye as he heads his big truck to the nearest dairy producer and bottler.
To read Part 1, click here.
Many of us don’t know the rest of that story, and the variety of STEM-based jobs and careers that put milk on the table. That’s why RE@L will soon be producing another RE@L STEM Investigation™ software product called “Farm to Table.”
That next-in-line software will also include STEM-related, project-based learning activities, with student teams, just like the real world of work. This new software will also include student and teacher access to our unique RE@LTime Portal™.
Each student will be able to quickly find helpful, online resources. Teachers will readily find such aids as lesson plans, assessments, in-depth study ideas and links to related professional learning networks with other teachers using similar products. Together all of us know more than any one of us knows.
Teaming is often very helpful in finding more resources for in-depth teaching and, when it comes to students, also for in-depth learning.
The RE@LTime Portal is only an “Enter” button away. There, students can also find relevant reviews, definitions of special terms, more students to connect with, including those who are working with similar projects and ideas.
Think of this new RE@L link as a “boost up,” a helper for teachers and students, as they learn more about STEM. It can show students the many STEM-related jobs and careers possible. Click the graphic to the left to view the rest of our RE@L Web Portal page for more information.
Not all STEM careers require a degree. Many jobs do insist on some advanced training….but RE@L STEM software will help make those requirements far more accessible and future students more successful. RE@L has pointed to the many STEM employment opportunities for women. That’s one more reason RE@L software products are designed to appeal to both girls and boys, and make each successful in their learning.
We last left Al the Milkman heading to a nearby dairy producer. There are many such businesses in both rural and city communities. Here’s a photo of a small town diary producer. There they take the raw milk from trucks like Al’s, then pasteurize it (making it pure to drink) and then homogenize it (so that the cream in the milk is distributed through out the milk product). Yes, you need some STEM-like training to do these needed tasks.
In the good old days the milkman delivered milk and dairy products to the consumer’s front door.(See the photo at the right, courtesy of Ron Clausen). Those home delivery trucks today are very few in number.
In the early days, the bottles of milk were pasteurized, but not homogenized. So the cream would rise to the top of the bottle, leaving what we now call “skim milk” at the bottom.
When it came to cream, many families then used it for cooking, for cups of coffee or breakfast cereals like oatmeal. Ask a grandparent and they can tell you more. If you used the cream in the glass bottle elsewhere, you then drank skim milk. Today, we buy our cream or half-and-half as separate products thanks to the dairy producers.
Virtually all milk today is homogenized and bottled as 1%, 2% or whole milk at 4.5%. The higher the number, the “creamier” the milk. Of course, the creamier products means more dairy-fat in it and so alerts the consumer for dietary purposes. If you want cream, whipping cream or half and half, you buy it separately. Today, STEM-trained scientists are looking for new dairy products for those allergic to them.
A word about “bottling” in a dairy: You will rarely find milk products bottled in glass these days. In fact, today many folks collect old milk bottles as antiques. Today, you will find milk in cartons and plastic bottles.
One of the biggest advantages to this new delivery process is no more broken bottles and glass and milk all over the floor. When it happened, it was not only a mess, but the shards of glass were dangerous to pick up. Most milk today is in plastic bottles and far safer to handle. (Photo at the right showing a dairy case is used with permission). STEM research in plastics made it happen.
From the dairy producer the milk products are transported to the many grocery stores where we shop. In most stores today, you will find a “Dairy Aisle” where all the dairy products are located, from milk to milk products: yogurt, sour cream (which does NOT taste sour on your potato), cottage cheese and butter. Other dairy producers make cheeses. Many of us are grateful that there are also producers known as creameries where, you guessed it, ice cream products are made.
This trip from farm to table started at the dairy farm with the cow. Look at all of the STEM tasks it took to make these dairy choices happen and put the glass of milk on your table! (Photo on the right courtesy of Santeri Viinamäki).
The same is true for farming and the many harvested grains and soybeans today. Many of these farm products end up in the bread or cereals you may eat. But STEM-based technology plays a major role there, too. Today’s tractors may be using real time information from satellites that tell the farmer if more fertilizer or water is needed and the precise amounts. No wasting of water or excess fertilizer to cause more green ponds.
Farming is still the hard work it has always been. But many a STEM career today, including farming, helps put more and better foods on all our tables.
For more information on “Farm to Table,” here are some other resources below RE@L found that help tell the dairy story more completely.
- Click on the photo to the right for an excellent report from the University of Michigan on “Dairy Farm to Table.” It also includes study resources for all the grade levels.
- Another helpful resource we found was from the Western Dairy Association. They know their cows!
They also tell the whole milk story….pardon our pun! Just click on the photo to the left.
Lastly, our colleagues at Edutopia are always a great resource to find helpful information on K12 EdTech issues. Here is an excellent STEM unit that further addresses these STEM-based food issues.
- Click on the photo to the right for more information on the Edutopia® website. We think you will find it worth your bookmarking!
What a STEM-based world we live in! Students out there, both girls and boys, be ready for it. Know your STEM, it can change your life.
Teachers out there: Many of your students could be a part of this new STEM world. Tell them about STEM careers. Do a video-chat with STEM workers. Learn more about STEM for your classroom.
Keep your eyes wide open for our new RE@L STEM-based software products,
coming soon to a classroom like yours!