The Science of Maryland Agriculture

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1 Edition 3 (2016) GOAL STATEMENT: Students will understand the important food and non-food uses of the major grains grown in Maryland. OBJECTIVES: Students will identify several types of grains grown in Maryland and match grain seed with the plants on which they grow. Students will analyze product labels to identify grain ingredients and determine the level of grain processing. Students will research grains to determine how they are grown, harvested, and used. Students will interpret nutrition labels to see how grains affect their diets and to help them make healthier eating choices. REQUIRED MATERIALS: Samples of dried grain seeds for each group of students plastic containers of wheat, corn, soybean, oats, and barley Copies of grain plant photographs set (1 per group) Copies of the Maryland Grains chart (1 per student) Copies of Food Product Grain Analysis Table worksheet (1 per student) Copies of food product package photos with nutrition information (1 per group, or substitute the photos for for actual food packages) AMOUNT OF TIME TO ALLOW: 50 minutes. Extension activities will take additional time. University of Maryland Extension programs are open to all and will not discriminate against anyone because of race, age, sex, color, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, religion, ancestry, national origin, marital status, genetic information, political affiliation, or gender identity or expression.

2 Grains are hard, dry seeds that are grown for human or animal consumption. If a grain seed germinates, it will grow into a plant. Grains are classified into two different categories: cereal grains and legumes. Examples of cereal grains include wheat, rice, oats, corn, barley, sorghum, and millet. Legume grains include beans and soybeans. Legumes provide more protein in the diet compared to cereal grains. Grains are further divided into two subgroups: whole grains and refined grains. Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel the bran, germ, and endosperm. The bran is the hard outer layer of the seed. The germ is the part of the seed that reproduces if germinated. The endosperm is the inner portion of the seed that provides nutrients if germinated. Examples of whole grain foods include whole wheat flour, brown rice, oatmeal, bulgur (cracked wheat), and whole cornmeal. Many times, foods that are labeled with the words multi-grain, stone-ground, 100% wheat, cracked wheat, seven-grain, steel cut, or bran are not whole-grain products. Refined grains, on the other hand, have been milled. Milling is a process that removes the bran and germ, leaving only the endosperm. Milling is done to give grains a finer texture and to improve their shelf life, but it also removes dietary fiber, iron, and many B-vitamins. Most refined grains are enriched. This means certain B vitamins and iron are added back after the processing. Fiber is not added back to enriched grains. Examples of refined grains include white flour, white rice, and degermed cornmeal. Some food products are made from a combination of whole grains and refined grains. Any foods made from cereal grains are considered grain products. Products that are made with grains include bread, pasta, oatmeal, cereals, tortillas, and grits. Eating grains, especially whole grains, provides health benefits. Grains provide many nutrients that are vital for the health and maintenance of our bodies. People who eat whole grains as part of a healthy diet have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases. Most Americans consume enough grains, but few are whole grains. At least half of all the grains eaten should be whole grains. 10 minutes Ask the class What do you think of when you hear the word grains? Make a list of ideas on the board. Ask Why are grains important? and add ideas. Explain that the grains we eat are the small seeds of plants, typically grasses (with the exception of grains such as soybeans, which are legumes like peas and beans). Lead the discussion to the concept that grains are a major component of the human diet and discuss the nutritional benefits that grains provide. Several grains are commonly grown in Maryland. This lesson will cover wheat, corn, soybeans, oats, and barley. University of Maryland Extension programs are open to all and will not discriminate against anyone because of race, age, sex, color, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, religion, ancestry, national origin, marital status, genetic information, political affiliation, or gender identity or expression.

3 40 minutes Directions: 1. Divide students into grops, and give each group a set of plastic containers. Each set should contain a dried sample of wheat, corn, soybeans, oats, and barley. 2. Allow students to observe the samples and discuss similarities and differences. 3. Next, give each group a set of photographs showing the full-grown grain plant. 4. Have students attempt to match each grain with its parent plant. Students should look for clues/similarities between grains and photographs. 5. When students have finished trying to match grains and plants, go over the correct answers and allow each student to fill in the grains chart by drawing each kind of grain seed and its corresponding plant. 6. Briefly describe the major parts of grains and terms associated with grains in food (see terms page below). Note to instructor: You might want to provide a copy of the important grain terms list to each group of students. 7. Next, challenge each group to analyze the ingredients of several food product packages. They should fill out the food product grain analysis table: name of product, types of grains, whole grain/refined/highly refined. Ask students to think about the grain products they eat. Are they eating high quality grain products? If not, what changes could they make in their diets to improve their nutrition? Assign each group of students a grain to research. They should find information including how the grain is grown (i.e. how planted, when planted, time to maturity, growth cycle), harvested, and processed. Students may also research food uses and non-food uses (i.e. animal feed, household products) of grains and pests that make grain production challenging (i.e. birds, mammals, insects, fungi, bacteria). Students may also research careers related to grain. A useful research website for basic information is Maryland Grain Producers at Students who are looking for how grains grow can search the internet for grain life cycle. Have each group develop a presentation to share what they have learned with the class. Possible formats for presentations include posters, demonstrations, speeches, or PowerPoint presentations with pictures of the grain in different situations (growing locally, being stored, etc). University of Maryland Extension programs are open to all and will not discriminate against anyone because of race, age, sex, color, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, religion, ancestry, national origin, marital status, genetic information, political affiliation, or gender identity or expression.

4 There is a very wide range of jobs associated with grains. Grain farmer - This person plants, raises, and harvests grains. Grain elevator operator - This person stores dried grains in structures called silos or grain bins and sells the grain for animals and humans to eat. Feed mill worker - This person mixes grains to make bags or boxes of food that meet the nutritional needs of different animal species. Bakery worker - This person uses a variety of flours and other grain products to make breads, rolls, and cakes for people to eat. Plant breeder - This person works to create new varieties of grain plants that are resistant to diseases or that grow better in certain environmental conditions. Food factory worker - This person uses grains to mass produce products such as breakfast cereals and crackers for sale in grocery stores. Grain marketers - This person specializes in advertising and selling grains to a variety of buyers. Plant pathologist - This is a scientist that deals with the symptoms, causes, damage, spread, and control of plant diseases. Plant physiologist - This is a scientist that studies the physical, chemical, and biological functions of living plants. Plant geneticist - This is a scientist that studies how genes work and follows the flow of genes between and within populations to understand evolution. Food process engineer - This person researches and develops new and existing products and processes. Food scientist - This person uses chemistry, biology, and other sciences to study food, discover new food sources, and research ways to make processed foods safe and healthy. Student understanding can be evaluated through class discussion or assessment of completed activity data sheets. The following questions may also be used to evaluate student learning. 1. What are the major grains grown in Maryland? 2. What part of the plant does the grain come from? 3. Name one food made from whole grains and one food made from processed grains. Maryland Grain Producers, < This is an excellent website for general information about grains. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Choose My Plate, < grains.html>. This website is useful for finding out about the nutritional value of grain products. University of Maryland Extension programs are open to all and will not discriminate against anyone because of race, age, sex, color, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, religion, ancestry, national origin, marital status, genetic information, political affiliation, or gender identity or expression.

5 Name: Date: Period: Important Grain Terms Parts of grain seeds and grain plants: Grain the seed portion of the plant, but the term also refers to the entire plant. Bran the outer skin that covers each grain seed; it is high in fiber and vitamins. Endosperm the spongy part of a grain seed found under the bran; it contains starches that provide energy to the body. Germ the central portion of each grain seed; it is high in vitamins and minerals. Hay plants (such as grass, alfalfa, and clover) that are dried and used for animal feed. Straw thick, non-nutritious stem of a grain/grass that is often used for animal bedding. Grains in food: Whole grain food product that contains all three parts of the grain seed bran, endosperm, and germ; whole grain products have a coarse texture; they have the highest nutrition of all grain products because they are high in fiber, energy, vitamins, and minerals. Multigrain food product that contains a variety of grains; have a wide variety of nutrients if they include multiple whole grains but are less nutritious if they contain a variety of highly processed grains. Refining or processing changing the structure of grains by physical or chemical methods. Results of processing grains: Flour results from grinding the grain seeds into a powdered form; whole grain flour is highly nutritious. Bleaching treating flour with chemicals to make it lighter in color; bleached flour has a fine texture and it is usually white in color, but bleaching removes many of a grain s vitamins and minerals. Enriched addition of some of the vitamins and minerals lost after bleaching or other processing of flour. Starch the energy-holding part of a grain s endosperm that has been removed from the rest of the plant; it helps foods such as bread dough stick together, but it has very few vitamins, minerals, or fiber. Syrup highly processed thick liquid that contains sugars removed from grains; syrups are high in energy but they have almost no vitamins, minerals, or fiber.

6 Name: Date: Period: Maryland Grains Match each grain sample with the photo of the plant it comes from. Next, complete the table by filling in information about the grains and plants. Name of Grain Drawing and/or Description of Grain Seed Drawing and/or Description of Grain Plant Corn Wheat Soybean Oats Barley

7 Name: Date: Period: Food Product Grain Analysis Table 1. Food Product Grain Ingredients Check the box that describes the ingredients: Whole Grain: High Nutrition Somewhat Refined: Medium Nutrition Highly Refined: Low Nutrition

8 Name: Date: Period: Food Product Grain Analysis Table 9. Food Product Grain Ingredients Check the box that describes the ingredients: Whole Grain: High Nutrition Somewhat Refined: Medium Nutrition Highly Refined: Low Nutrition Analyze YOUR diet: What types of grain products do you eat on a regular basis? What changes could you make in your diet that could help you eat healthier grain products?

9 Whole Grain Maple Pecan Crunch Shredded Wheat Ritz Whole Wheat Crackers Triscuit Original Crackers Nature Valley Apple Crisp Granola Bar Somewhat Refined Ritz Crackers Cap N Crunch Girl Scouts Cookies Trefoils Soy Crisps Cornbread & Muffin Mix Highly Refined Swiss Miss Milk Chocolate Tootsie Rolls Milk Duds Sugar Babies Snack Packs Chocolate Pudding Food Products Answer Key

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