Reflection: Real World Applications Sugary Surprises - Section 5: Learning from My Classmates


I introduce an article about sugar to my class and extend our discussion period over into English Language Arts, where we hold a discussion about fact and opinion, and how sometimes it is difficult to determine the difference between them.

I read excerpts from an article about the book A Year Without Sugar by Eve Shaub.  We discuss statements that were definitely fact (she had children ages 11 and 6 at the time she undertook this experiment, she was influenced by the studies of Dr. Robert Lustig and his book Fat Chance, her children had 1 treat a month and had cake at birthday parties).  Then we discussed the most interesting opinion statement:  "Shaub became convinced that added sugars were akin to cigarettes:  an addictive poison that was potentially deadly when consumed in excess."  

This is where it got really interesting, and where I was able to make a meaningful tie in to math, and the importance of consuming data from more than one verified source.  

A student, Esteban, looking a bit abashed, speaks up, saying he definitely thought this was an opinion because even though she got it from the work of Dr. Lustig, who was a research scientist, scientists have opinions just like any other person.  I was so happy that he chose to speak up even though he certainly knew that my bias (as much as I try to hide it) probably lies w/Eve Shaub.  I commend him for speaking his mind clearly, and point out that this is exactly what they need to do as informed citizens.  They need to question the data they see and not just accept as fact without digging into it themselves.  Also, I emphasize to them that it is super important that they stay tuned in to bias. This plays a role in the field of nutrition as well as in the arena of global warming studies.  I let them know that I have read probably at least 30 articles about nutrition over the past 2 years, as well as different books.  This does NOT make me an expert, but it does give me enough background to know that there is an element of truth to what Eve Shaub and Dr. Lustig suspect.  The reasons I believe this is based on studies that have been conducted in an academic setting with solid empirical data, about the rise of sugar content in our foods and the rise of diabetes and obesity.  I try to explain to them that correlation is not causation.  I give students some silly examples from my class.  So, data based on trusted methodology helps substantiate a theory but one source is never enough.

  The Value of an Individual's Voice
  Real World Applications: The Value of an Individual's Voice
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Sugary Surprises

Unit 10: Math and Me: Nutrition, Health and More
Lesson 1 of 7

Objective: SWBAT use their skills of estimation, subtraction and units of measure to determine the amount of sugar grams in a serving of different foods that children like.

Big Idea: Grams are a useful measurement in determining nutritional content of food.

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sugar unrefined
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