What's in our food? CQU brings science to schools

31 August 2021

Central Queensland is home to a diverse range of food from beef and seafood to sugar cane and mangos. However' the agricultural economy relies heavily on science and innovation to support growth and sustainability.

As part of National Science Week' CQUniversity's CQ Festival of Food showcased the scientific processes involved in the production of food through a series of engaging experiments for primary school students.

CQUniversity Senior Lecturer' Australia Pacific LNG STEM Central Lead Dr Linda Pfeiffer collaborated with industry experts to develop relevant and engaging science experiments that provide students with a unique opportunity to explore the science behind food.

The series of experiments included four different themes: Cane Train (Mackay)' Meet the Meat (Rockhampton)' fishing industry (Gladstone) and Ag-Tech and dairy (Bundaberg).

Dr Pfeiffer said the themes chosen were significant to the agricultural and food technology industry in Central Queensland.

"It is important for students to understand the connection between science and food production and agriculture'" Dr Pfeiffer said.

"We developed these innovative programs to imprint skills of agricultural concepts and increase knowledge of tools and systems."

Dr Pfeiffer and her team worked closely with Northview State School in Mackay' the Advanced Technology and Innovation Centre in Rockhampton' St Francis Catholic Primary School in Tannum Sands and Elliot Heads State School in Bundaberg to record demonstrations of the experiments for future use.

"Leading up to National Science Week' we visited four schools and with their participation we recorded experiments which are available on our website' along with the downloadable resources for each experiment." Dr Pfeiffer explained.

Experiment materials are available for teachers to borrow at participating campuses until the end of the year.

CQUniversity's CQ Festival of Food was awarded $16 800 in this year's round of the National Science Week grants.

Dr Pfeifer said active participation by schools will cement the long-term sustainability of the program' as teachers gain knowledge and develop their skills on the scientific experiment process and implement these experiments in the classroom now and into the future.

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