FAMILY & CONSUMER SCIENCE
This trimester course introduces students to concepts in nutrition, goal setting, decision making, resource management, consumer education, and food and textile technologies. Students begin by learning how to use the new USDA Food Pyramid as a personalized guide to daily healthful food choices and then by setting one specific goal toward improvement. A written reflection of the experience follows. Next, through the preparation of a variety of healthful breakfast and snack foods, they learn basic food preparation technology and kitchen management skills such as safety, sanitation, listening and following directions, accurate measuring, working cooperatively, time management, and use of various tools and equipment. Concurrently, nutrition and consumer concepts are reinforced. A "Cooking at Home" project is required. As a community service learning project, aimed at reducing inter-generational isolation, each class bakes cookies to share with Weston's Senior Center. The second half of the trimester introduces students to hand and machine sewing skills as well as consideration of the usefulness, creativity, and career opportunities associated with their development. Students practice problem solving, personal management, math skills, following directions and safe use of equipment and tools in order to successfully construct a textile project.
The teenager and money/resource management is a major theme explored in this trimester course. Student surveys become a basis for identifying typical income sources, expense categories, household responsibilities, and purchasing experiences of seventh graders. Using a case study, students consider various factors and make decisions involved in preparing a budget. Nutrition and management concepts from grade 6 are reinforced as students plan and prepare some healthful lunches. A "Cooking at Home" project is required. How to make smart buying decisions is investigated by learning about consumer laws and consumer responsibilities, such as finding unbiased sources of product information and recognizing the influence of advertising. Developing sewing skills provides more options for teen consumers. A more complicated textile construction project is pursued that requires greater independence in the use of sewing machine technology and the application of self-management skills. A computerized embroidery machine allows students to design and apply a computerized design to their project. Finally, as time permits, students have the opportunity to participate in a community service learning project making stuffed toys for the children's pediatric unit at Norwalk Hospital.
This trimester course focuses on the concepts of health and well being through healthful food choices. Students use a computer software program to analyze their food choices by nutrient, learn about the roles various nutrients play in promoting health and well being and therefore increase their ability to make informed decisions about their food choices. They investigate a current issue in the field of foods and nutrition, such as fad diets, eating disorders, food safety, etc. by reporting on a self-selected news article. Foods as an expression of culture is another theme that runs throughout the course. Students prepare a variety of more complex cultural dishes requiring greater proficiency of management skills (safety, sanitation, time management, collaborative group work, reading and interpreting recipes, use of a variety of tools and equipment, and evaluation of process and products). Learning is applied at home when students prepare dinner for their family. Our community service learning project, to prepare and serve a lasagna lunch at the homeless shelter in Westport, addresses food and nutrition needs in our community. A final cultural dinner project involves menu planning and food preparation and serves as an assessment of progress. As time permits, a Visiting Chef from an area restaurant shares their culinary artistry with the class.