Student groups are challenged to create food packages for specific foods. They focus on three components in the design of their food packages; the packages must keep the food clean, protect or aid in the physical and chemical changes that can take place in the food, and present the food appealingly. They design their packaging to meet these requirements.
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- International Technology and Engineering Educators Association: Technology
- F. New products and systems can be developed to solve problems or to help do things that could not be done without the help of technology. (Grades 6 - 8)  ...show
- D. Throughout history, new technologies have resulted from the demands, values, and interests of individuals, businesses, industries, and societies. (Grades 6 - 8)  ...show
- E. Design is a creative planning process that leads to useful products and systems. (Grades 6 - 8)  ...show
- F. There is no perfect design. (Grades 6 - 8)  ...show
- G. Requirements for design are made up of criteria and constraints. (Grades 6 - 8)  ...show
- G. Brainstorming is a group problem-solving design process in which each person in the group presents his or her ideas in an open forum. (Grades 6 - 8)  ...show
- H. Modeling, testing, evaluating, and modifying are used to transform ideas into practical solutions. (Grades 6 - 8)  ...show
- I. Specify criteria and constraints for the design. (Grades 6 - 8)  ...show
- K. Test and evaluate the design in relation to pre-established requirements, such as criteria and constraints, and refine as needed. (Grades 6 - 8)  ...show
- L. Make a product or system and document the solution. (Grades 6 - 8)  ...show
- F. Technological advances in agriculture directly affect the time and number of people required to produce food for a large population. (Grades 6 - 8)  ...show
- G. A wide range of specialized equipment and practices is used to improve the production of food, fiber, fuel, and other useful products and in the care of animals. (Grades 6 - 8)  ...show
- H. Biotechnology applies the principles of biology to create commercial products or processes. (Grades 6 - 8)  ...show
- I. Artificial ecosystems are human-made complexes that replicate some aspects of the natural environment. (Grades 6 - 8)  ...show
- J. The development of refrigeration, freezing, dehydration, preservation, and irradiation provide long-term storage of food and reduce the health risks caused by tainted food. (Grades 6 - 8)  ...show
- Next Generation Science Standards: Science
- Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions. (Grades 6 - 8)  ...show
- North Carolina: Science
- Explain how the properties of some materials change as a result of heating and cooling. (Grade 5)  ...show
- Understand characteristics of energy transfer and interactions of matter and energy. (Grade 6)  ...show
- Illustrate the transfer of heat energy from warmer objects to cooler ones using examples of conduction, radiation and convection and the effects that may result. (Grade 6)  ...show
- Explain the suitability of materials for use in technological design based on a response to heat (to include conduction, expansion, and contraction) and electrical energy (conductors and insulators). (Grade 6)  ...show
- Physical properties of matter: mass, volume, melting point, boiling point and texture.
- Chemical properties of matter: combustibility, solubility, flammability.
- Physical changes: phase change, shape change.
- Chemical changes: oxidization, evolution of gas.
- Identify three key functions of a typical food package.
- Explain how each food package design works.
- Identify the chemical and physical changes different types of materials prevent or facilitate.
- Explain what a food packaging engineer does.
- The materials that the group chooses for its project and brings from home.
- The food assigned to the group.
- stapler and staples
|The temperature at which a substance changes from liquid to gas.|
|The temperature at which a substance changes from solid to liquid.|
|A transition between liquid and gas or liquid and solid.|
|The ability for a substance, the solute, to dissolve in a solvent.|
- To keep the food clean.
- To protect the food product from unwanted physical and chemical changes (such as oxidation and destruction from insects) and to facilitate in desired physical changes (such as heating or cooling).
- To identify the product and provide sales appeal.
- Cartons are rigid and provide support for fluid foods.
- Boxes are usually used as a secondary package to store foods that are sold in quantities larger than one, but are individually wrapped and give structure and support.
- Bags are flexible so can be stored easily.
- Cans hold liquids and carbonation well and can be stacked well.
- Bottles hold liquids and carbonation well and are resealable.
- Wrappers are light and do not take up too much space.
Before the Activity
- After going through the Food Packaging lesson, divide the class into groups of two or three students each.
- Assign each group a food to create a package for and have them brainstorm the design and types of materials they will need, with help from the Food Packaging Materials Worksheet.
- Give the students the Food Packaging Rubric so that they know what is expected of their package.
- Assign students to bring from home the materials that they plan to use.
- Gather materials that you are providing (glue, tape, etc.). Make sure you have enough for every group of two to share.
- Gather the foods that you assigned to the groups.
With the Students
- Give each student or group of students the food that was assigned to them along with the Food Packaging Rubric.
- Check to make sure each of the students/groups brought their own unique materials with them, and pass out the materials you are providing (tape, scissors, etc.)
- Give students 20 to 30 minutes to create their packages.
- Once completed, ask each group to share their package with the class as a 2-3 minute presentation to Food Kings on why their package works.
Activity Embedded Assessment
- For lower grades, require fewer food package functions as design requirements. For example, students could focus more on shapes and aesthetic designs of the structure than the materials used to make it.
- For upper grades, require more food package functions be met. For example, students could engage a fourth function: for the package to be inexpensive, both in its materials and transportation. They could also look more thoroughly into the chemical changes and properties of the food and packaging materials. In some cases, they could test their designs.
American Management Association. Packaging Division. Packaging for Retail Impact, with Specific Applications to the Dairy, Meat, Candy and Baking Industries. New York, NY: American Management Association, 1965.
"Packaging Food in Glass." Packaging Materials for Food - Practical Answers. Published September 25, 2006. Practical Action. The Schumacher Centre for Technology & Development. Accessed April 26, 2007. https://www.teachengineering.org/collection/duk_/activities/duk_foodpackage_music_act/packaging_food_in_glass_reference.pdf
© 2013 by Regents of the University of Colorado; original © 2007 Duke University
Engineering K-PhD Program, Pratt School of Engineering, Duke University
Last modified: February 11, 2016