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Spring 2005 - Web Story 1

Destination Purdue > Spring 2005 - Web Story 1

CD aims to make exploring science fun

By Whitney Fraker

Purdue University's Center for Enhancing Foods to Protect Health is creating multimedia programs to supplement an old classroom staple: textbooks.

The Pizza Explorer

Photos By Whitney Fraker

This photo shows the right brain interface from The Pizza Explorer CD. The right brain interface is designed for people who prefer to learn with visual elements. The CD was created by members of the Purdue Department of Food Science.

The Pizza Explorer is a multimedia program for middle and high school students that teaches the importance of chemicals in food, and makes chemistry and biology easier to understand. "It's so much easier to see and manipulate things to learn than to read in textbooks." said Bruce Watkins, a food science professor and director of EFPH at Purdue. Multimedia supplements make understanding tough material interactive and fun, he said.

The Pizza Explorer organizes information about nutrition and science by looking at the food groups that can be found in pizza ingredients. There are sections on nutritional composition, food processing and food chemistry. Quizzes and games are fun ways to reinforce new concepts.

The program presents the same information differently to cater to different learning styles: left-brain and right-brain learning. Students with dominant left brains tend to learn more by looking at organized words and numbers, while students with dominant right brains tend to learn best in creative environments with visual elements, said Watkins. "It is a way to help students learn about chemistry and biology while using food as an example," said Watkins.

Pizza ingredients are displayed as a list of words in the left brain format. The right brain format displays pictures of the ingredients sprinkled on a pizza without words.

The Pizza Explorer includes an experiment book with a student and teacher activity guide. Supplies for the experiments can easily be picked up from the grocery store. These features make The Pizza Explorer ideal for high school teachers and home school students. This multimedia program has been recognized nationalwide and it is showcased on the National Health Museum website where a demonstration is available.

Watkins hopes a new Pizza Explorer will be translated into different languages, or that future versions will use popular foods found in different cultures to appeal to diverse audiences.