Nutrition Science or Science Fiction? A Class Activity and Homework Assignment Promoting Scientific Literacy

Nutrition Science or Science Fiction? A Class Activity and Homework Assignment Promoting Scientific Literacy

In the Let’s Talk session at SNEB 2015 I described an activity we developed for our Introductory course to help students understand that nutrition is based on scientific inquiry, not on the kinds of random, imaginative advice often spread through the media.

You might find this learning activity useful  -- it has been effective with our students as a starting place. Students need practice to understand various study designs, the strength of the findings, and the need for multiple studies before  reaching a conclusion or recommendation in nutrition. We expect that this understanding will help students be more skeptical about nutrition misinformation. Feel free to adapt and develop your own approach, giving BYU credit as appropriate. 

Here are each of the pieces:
1. PDF of the Let’s talk presentation   

2. Research studies grade classification examples based on USDA’s grading system 

3. Template showing the information for students to find in each abstract 

4. PPT we use in class to demonstrate the process and facilitate the guided practice (Most of the instructors do this orally, not with this step-by-step slide version included here and used in the online version of the course.)

5. 3 abstracts used in the class demonstration and guided practice 

6. The homework assignment  

7. Grading rubric   

Items 2, 3, and 5 are in the students’ packet of materials they purchase and bring to class, to support in-class instruction.

Students access the assignment (item 6) online.

We reinforce their learning throughout the semester by reading and discussing additional abstracts associated with different topics.

Since I will be retired from BYU as of September 2015, feel free to contact any of my colleagues for more information:
•       Dr. Rickelle Richards Rickelle_Richards@byu.edu
•       Dr. Pauline Williams Pauline_Williams@byu.edu
•       Dr. Sarah Bellini Sarah_Bellini@byu.edu

Have fun!

Lora Beth Brown, EdD, RDN
Nutrition Program Coordinator (soon to retire)
Department of Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Science
Brigham Young University
Provo UT 84602