Nutrition Smithsonian Museum Project Paper

Nutrition Smithsonian Museum Project Paper
Field Trip to the Smithsonian Museums –
National Museum of Natural History
10th Street & Constitution Ave, NW, WASH, DC 20560
National Museum of American History
14th and Constitution Ave, NW Wash DC 20001 Times that Sara Ducey will be at this museum to answer your questions:
?Friday, November 8, 2019 from 10 a.m.–1 p.m.
?Saturday, November 9, 2019 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Note: If you cannot join us at one of these times, simply go at a time convenient to you. Take a “selfie” or have someone else snap your picture to show Sara that you did go.
[ ] This handout, printed off, so you can take notes.
[ ] Several extra sheets of plain paper to draw on.
[ ] #2 or softer pencil for drawing a skull.
[ ] Something firm to write on (binder, notebook or clipboard).
[ ] A classmate, family member, friend or lover.
[ ] MONEY to get you there and back home, safely.
[ ] Water bottles and snack foods in sealed bags have typically been O.K. If they take them at the door, I apologize.
[ ] The button that identifies you as a Montgomery College student, and the waiver form for photos of strangers.
[ ] Sara Ducey’s cell for the day of the trips is 240-429-9600 Note: This is not my typical number, so do be sure to remove it from your contact list after the trip.
BEFORE THE VISIT: Take time to familiarize yourself with the website for the Hall of Human Origins exhibit. You’ll find answers to some of the questions on this questionnaire. It will prepare you to “see” the exhibit. In case it may be useful, the link to an aerial view of the site is shown at: The floor plan for the museum is found at The Hall of Human Origins is marked with a silhouette of a hand on a red circle.
Use this handout to take your notes. When you return from the museum, re-write and key your answers into the word doc posted to our Blackboard course. Be sure to spell- and grammar-check your document, and format it in a way that makes your answers clear from the other text. Print the completed form and turn it in during class on Thursday, October 25, 2018.
Give yourself one and a half to two hours to consider this exhibit, enjoy it and be able to answer the questions on this form. Don’t limit yourself to the areas that I ask about—there are many, very interesting areas here.
The [ ] brackets help you to know you are expected to do something; check each task off as you complete them [ ?]
START AT ENTRANCE – you’ll walk through Mammal Hall to get there.
[ ] Sit down in the open terraced video viewing area and watch video called, “One Species, Living Worldwide.”
[ ] Locate the area with exhibit called “Human Family Tree.” Look at, touch and examine the reproduction skulls .
Please touch the skulls, exploring the brow ridges (bone-y ridges above the eye sockets) and jaws. Both the brow ridges and jaws are larger in species that eat fibrous plant-based diets. This is because all of the chewing required very large, powerful muscles, and those muscles must be attached to bones. So, high fiber diets ? larger muscles ? larger facial bones. As diets changed and our early ancestors changed, the brow ridges become smaller. Try feeling your own brow ridges!
[ ] Hand-Draw a picture of your favorite skull from the museum, using a full sheet of paper. Use a #2 (or softer) pencil to create the drawing, taking time and effort to add details. When completed, be sure to label the species accurately (Latin binomial) and sign and date it. Attach the drawing to your homework when you submit to me. This is a required task.
[ ] Find the panels labeled “Primate Family Tree” and “Evolution FAQ.” Fill in the blanks based on the information regarding Are you Related to Other Living Things?”
You and mice are _____% similar;
You and banana trees are ____% similar.
You and other modern humans are _____% similar.
[ ] What evidence do you find that humans and banana trees share a common ancestor?
[ ] Now, turn and walk towards a free-standing glass case that has skeletons in it. The text on the left side will read: Adapted to Warm Climates; the right side reads: Adapted to Cold Climates Describe the physical attributes of bodies that are adapted to warm or to cold climates. Bullet points will be fine.
Traits that are better adapted to warm climates Traits that are better adapted to cold climates
This page is background reading. Read it before you go to museum, or while in the exhibit:
Australopithecus afarensis (“Lucy” is one of these) has a rib cage that is wide at the bottom and narrow at the top. This provided ample room for a large gut with a long intestinal tract. Her diet was largely plant-based. Plants are more difficult to digest than meat or insects, and hence require a longer gut, and more time in the digestive tract to extract the maximal nutrition possible.
The Homo erectus has long and lean proportions typical of humans who are adapted to hot environments. His long legs indicate that long-distance walking and running were a key part of Homo erectus’ behavior. He has a narrow, barrel-shaped thorax. This demonstrates a shift toward a shorter gut, indicating that adaptation to a different (more animal-inclusive diet). The Homo neanderthal evolved a short, stocky body to deal with cold, Eurasian winters. This body type helps retain heat.
Since the time of austalopithecus, meat had become an increasingly important part of the human diet because it provided more “bang for the buck” nutritionally than plants did. But meat is not particularly easy to digest. Eating more meat required evolutionary changes. By the time of Homo erectus, if not earlier, our large intestines had become shorter and our small intestines longer, reducing the bulk of our guts as well as the time it took to digest food. Our guts become more like those of big cats (like Tigers), which rapidly gather nutrients form meat and then get rid of waste, and less like gorillas who take days to digest plants. Our time for digestion is now measured in hours, not days. Additionally, our early ancestors started to use fire to help foods (especially plant foods) be more readily digestible.
The shift toward shorter guts allowed human bodies to divert precious energy from the intestines to any of the other metabolically expensive organs in the body. The most expensive of them all is the brain. The brain of early Homo erectus was roughly twice the size of an australopith’s. The dietary shift toward meat and the reduction in gut size are likely to have proved crucial in fueling the evolution of an enlarged brain. Some researchers point to the consumption of DHA-rich fish and seafood as one additional evolutionary pressure for larger, more competent brains.
Some estimates are that in the Australopithecus 40 percent of energy was needed for chewing and digestion of foods. With the dietary shift and evolutionary adaptations to the diet shift, Homo erectus was using perhaps 20% of energy on these functions. This freed up energy for developing bigger and more complex brains with a larger frontal lobe. This led to improved memory function and enhanced problem solving. Our contemporaries probably use as little as 10% of energy to process foods!
[ ] Go to the area below the signage that reads: “Changing Body Sizes and Shapes.” Complete the following table; bullet points are fine.
Summarize benefits of bigger brains Summarize costs of bigger brains
[ ] Complete this table.
Summarize the benefits of eating meat Summarize the costs of eating meat
[ ] Now, pause to think about what you’ve seen and learned so far, about the value of cooking. Remember, this helps you prepare for the essay writing that follows.
[ ] Find the “990,000 Years Ago, Olorgesailie” exhibit. This is an interactive station with video screen and buttons to push. [It’s the second archway on the left of the exhibit, just before the dogleg turn to the left.]
What type(s) of animal food did these early humans eat? Name the animal?
What evidence can you observe, on the bones, to suggest that humans (rather than other animals) ate this animal? ?
Name or describe the tool used: ?
Nutrition Smithsonian Museum Project Paper
[ ] Recipe for a Scientist!
Have you ever wondered how it is that some people grow up to be scientists? Kirk Johnson, Ph.D., the director of the NMNH (museum you’re standing in) conducted research and formulated a “recipe for making a scientist.” His recipe has seven ingredients. How many of these ingredients do you have? Check all that apply! ?
[ ] Parents (who encourage science interest/learning)
[ ] Love of Nature
[ ] Teacher(s) (who encourages science interest/learning)
[ ] Discovery (actually going out and learning on your own)
[ ] Internship (working with people who do science as their job/living)
[ ] Museums (going to museums and interacting with them)
[ ] Media (Discovery channel; National Geographic; WGBH; websites, etc.
[ ] Your Ideas Here! (Dr. Johnson knows a lot, but he can still learn from you!)
[ ] Now that you have checked all that apply to you, please add your own ideas. Write a few sentences about what this recipe and your answers spur you to think about.
[ ] METACOGNITION or “thinking about your thinking.”
Consider how you prepared for, and are using, this exhibit. What are the different ways you prepared in advance of the museum trip and how you are learning, now, at the museum? Look over this page and take notes. Complete the sentences, jot down phrases that help tell me about how you are learning at this Smithsonian museum. If this confuses you, ask Sara or others in your class about how they are approaching this.
Knowledge of cognition: You have knowledge of the factors that influence your own performance. Complete this sentence: My work is more likely to be successful when I…
You know that there are different types of strategies for use in learning; and you are able to determine which strategy may best match to a specific learning situation.* Complete this sentence: I learn by doing things like…
*You may consider these: reading the website in advance, reading lecture materials, listening to classroom discussion, watching others interact with the museum objects and text, watching the movie, explaining the exhibits to others)
Regulation of cognition: You know that you will be more successful if you set goals and plan for the success of completing an assignment. Complete these sentences: I prepared myself for success by…
To monitor and control my own learning, I checked/considered…
You are able to evaluate your own “regulation” of learning and to assess the learning success achieved using the strategies and tools you used.
Complete these sentences:
After considering this, I believe I would be more successful yet if I had…
To prepare for success with a similar assignment in the future, I might…
OPTIONAL, BUT FUN: Go to the station called MEAnderthal Morph your image with that of a Homo Neaderthalensis or Homo Florensis. You can post to Twitter or Instagram or FacebBook, but do NOT send it to Sara; you’d jam up her e-mailbox.
(Record the name of the species, sign and date your artwork.)
National Museum of American History
I. Conversations at the Open Table
Visitors to the Food! Exhibit have the opportunity to take a seat at a large, communal table and engage in conversation about a wide range of food-related issues and topics. Your task is to invite one or two strangers who are visit the exhibit to join you at the table, and to engage in conversation. I suggest that you have at least three prepared questions (what we call prompts) to get the discussion going. This may be more comfortable/fun if you team with one of your classmates. You will write up your notes from the conversation, and attach to this scavenger hunt packet.
Please ask your interviewee if you can take their photo. If they agree, take two images. The first is with them holding the “photo use waiver” form. The second is without the waiver. It’s particularly fun if you do a selfie with both of you in the picture. See page 13 for the photo use waiver.
Ideas for Prompts, but Please Consider Writing and Asking Your Own Questions!
#1. Pick one food that holds great meaning to you. Tell me about it. Explain why it is so important to you.
#2. Do you grow your own food? What motivates you to garden or farm? Tell me more.
#3. Do you have concerns about how we will feed the global population, in the future? Tell me about this.
#4. If you were the curator of this exhibit, and you had room for a few more objects, what would you add to this exhibit? Why?
#5. Do you have advice for young parents about how to feed children? What are the most important messages you might share? What makes you say that?
II. Julia Child’s Kitchen
Legendary cook and teacher Julia Child (1912–2004) had a tremendous impact on food and culinary history in America. Through her books and television series, which spanned forty years, she encouraged people to care about food and cooking. She inspired many Americans to conquer their fears of the unfamiliar and to expand their ideas about ingredients and flavors, tools and techniques, and meals in general.
This kitchen from her Cambridge, Massachusetts, home provides both a starting point and a backdrop for this exhibition on changing foods and foodways in America in the second half of the 20th century. It contains tools and equipment from the late 1940s, when Julia Child began her life in food, through to 2001, when she donated this kitchen to the Smithsonian Institution.
Identify three cooking gadgets (or other objects) in the kitchen that is unfamiliar to you. Write about what they are named, describe their physical shape and describe their function(s) OR watch a segment of a cooking show with Julia, and tell me what you think.
Choice to complete either III or IV.
III. “New and Improved!” [Choice]
Americans were greeted by claims of “New and Improved!” on more and more foods and consumer goods during the second half of the 20th century. Scientific approaches to farming and manufacturing brought higher yields and an abundant, affordable food supply. New appliances in the home that demanded greater energy consumption symbolized a prosperous, postwar American way of life for many. Optimistic attitudes about “progress” and “better living” continued throughout the century, even as many raised questions about the long-term effects of mass production and consumerism, especially on the environment, health, and workers. Choose one food processing method. Identify two benefits and two weaknesses of the process, with a keen eye on nutrition (preserving or degrading nutrients).
IV. Wine for the Table [Choice]
Wine—the fermented juice of grapes or other fruit—has been part of European life for centuries, but in America, wine traditions struggled to take root. From Thomas Jefferson’s failed efforts to cultivate French grapevines in Virginia to the onset of Prohibition, the desire to produce wine for the table on American soil seemed beyond reach. But in the second half of the 20th century, a community of California dreamers would spark a revolution in a bottle that not only realized Jefferson’s vision, but changed the entire world of wine. Research health and social benefits of wine OR write about the types of wines that are now successfully grown in Virginia, near Thomas Jefferson’s home – Monticello, near Charlottesville, VA.
[ ] REMINDER: Write up your notes for the open table conversations, and attach that word document at the end of this packet.
Show this page to your interviewee(s). If they are willing to take a selfie with you, I want to be sure they give you permission to post the picture to your e-portfolio or to social media. For them to agree, they must either initial this page, or you can capture their agreement by taking a picture of them, holding the paper so that both their face and these words show in the picture. Also, remember that many people do not want to share their pictures. Let them know you are happy just to speak with them. ?
Photo Use Waiver
I agree. Yes. It’s O.K. for you to take and post my image on social media with these tags:

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