Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Dairy Product Disbelief

I swear to goodness, you can't make this stuff up.

I am back to teaching my classes and we're doing our unit on flowers and plants. This isn't a difficult unit. We've already done the whole photosynthesis thing and now we're moving on to plant and flower parts, reproduction, and the importance of plants in our world. The kids actually do pretty well on this, probably because we're talking about sex. Yeah, it's plant reproduction, but it's still sex in their minds.

So, it's my Fourth Period Class From the Very Depths of Hell Itself, and we're finishing up the interactive reader packet that we're working on and I begin wrapping up the lesson by reinforcing, yet again, how important that plants are to our survival. I mention that nearly everything we eat comes from a plant product or it ate a plant product before we ate it. For example, I mention that the cow that produces the hamburger, the cheese, and the ice cream they all like ate grass, which is a plant.

And then I hear this voice..."You mean ice cream comes from a cow?"

And another, "A cow? Really? It comes from a cow?"

And pretty soon there's about dozen astonished faces looking at me in various stages of shock, disbelief, and amazement and they're all going on about the utterly amazing fact that ice cream - ice cream! - comes from, of all things, a cow.

I look across at Mrs. Jayhawker and she looks at me and we're both exchanging looks that say, "Oh. My. God. They have no clue that ice cream is a dairy product and it comes from a cow."

I was momentarily stunned (and after six years of seventh grade, that takes some work to stun me.)

"You guys seriously didn't know that cream, that makes ice cream, comes from a cow?" I ask.

They all respond in the affirmative. They had no idea. Two kids are grossed out about it (oh get real) and they're all just amazed. One wanted to know how it got flavored. It didn't occur to them that you could mix stuff up in ice cream to make it flavored.

I'll have to admit that this is the first time that I've encountered nearly an entire classroom of twelve and thirteen year olds that had no clue about the origins of most dairy products. Amazing. I'm guessing they all thing it just comes to Walmart.

Still, it's rather sad in a way that these kids live a life in such a vacuum that they don't even know where the food they eat actually, originally, comes from. And kind of scary as well.

20 comments:

The Science Goddess said...

If you really want to have fun with them, remind them that moo juice = breast milk.

ChiTown Girl said...

Oh.My.Holy.Hell!!!!!

Chapati said...

Oh dearie me :(

Mrs B said...

Imagine the conversation I had with a student about buffalo wings!

CaliforniaTeacherGuy said...

I think you'd be dismayed by how many ADULTS don't know where food comes from!

Peach Pod said...

You need to read the book, "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle," which discuss, among other things, how far removed from food production we've become. Ask them where hamburger, hot dogs and spaghetti noodles come from. I bet you get some interesting answers.

Anna said...

Oh lord...do they know that chicken has bones? It doesn't automatically come in tender, nugget, or patty form.

OKP said...

It sounds like an opportunity for a trip to a farm, or tasty after school science lab!

And wow. Stunning.

novemberjuliet said...

Holy jimminy! I was going to say the same thing as OKP..you should make ice cream in class. Or make it more science-related and do it in a bag.

HappyChyck said...

I'm with everyone here! Yes! They are so far removed from the origins of their food, and because of that, if they really knew where their food came from, they'd probably be freaked out!

The Vegas Art Guy said...

That sounds like a teachable moment if there ever was one! So it sounds like Mrs. Bluebird has an instant lesson if she takes up the gauntlet...

Mrs. Bluebird said...

Not to worry, I've found a video clip about 5 minutes long about how ice cream is made which is sure to freak the kids out because it not only has cows eating grass but being milked. If I didn't have the dreaded State Testing rearing its ugly head at me, I'd have time to take a day out and do a quick lab. That, unfortunately, will have to wait until testing is over in April.

dkzody said...

It really bugs me that all that stupid testing has taken away time for real hands-on labs.

Mister Teacher said...

It's like when I tell my kids that people are animals, and they say "NUH-UH!!! People are MAMMALS!!!"

Onyx said...

I teach 6th grade science, I have no doubt you are telling the truth. What the kids don't know will amaze you, what they do know is frightening.

We just did an activity where they could design a city in the moon and they all had Walmart and McDonalds.

(Urp)

Princess Lionhead said...

Oh man!! It is amazing that after this many years, they can still surprise you, huh? I tell my kids all the time that it's never boring teaching middle school. They are a special bunch...

teachergirl said...

I asked the 7th grader who resides here where ice cream came from and she asked, "Do you mean from the cow?" and I said, "Phew." Then I read her your post and she shook her head. She.Shook.Her.Head. I feel somewhat better.

EHT said...

Wow, that is pretty surprising and a little sad all at the same time. I have the same thing going on with my students when we discuss early exploration and how the church influenced what monarchies could and couldn't do. I usually have to go back to the beginning and explain Catholics and Christians are the same...as well as Baptists, Methodists, etc. They ARE amazed.

Miss W said...

It's not limited to 7th graders. I have a wheat allergy, and when I tried to explain to someone that, no, I couldn't eat the sandwich they were offering me because I am allergic to wheat, they replied, "But this is WHITE bread!"

Miss A said...

hilarious! But what is scarey is what they DO know! And sometimes when they start to tell me, I play stupid and start screaming that they're hurting my ears and that I can't handle it. ..

It really was a teachable moment and it's such a shame that you have to worry about the VBDSMTs and couldn't do the lab.