UNIVERSITY, FOOD INDUSTRY AND HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT COLLABORATIVE PROJECT: INTRODUCTION TO FOOD SENSORY ANALYSIS
A project joined by AgroFood Technology Department of Universidad Miguel Hernández of Elche (UMH), the High School of Redovan, the Regulatory Council of the Protected Geographical Indications Jijona and Turrón de Alicante (CRIGPJTA) and the Food Company Chocolates Valor, had the purpose to promote the generation and implementation of innovative educational projects in Secondary Education (Horizon 2014-Schools and Horizon 2015-K12). The present project connected the course on Scientific Culture with the science and practice behind the Sensory Analysis of food in order to enhance students’ scientific skills and methodology. The University team prepared a proposal based on food sensory analysis. The project was designed for 4th grade Secondary School students (15-18 years).
The project combines food science (sensory analysis and food chemistry), biology (sense organs), mathematics (statistical analysis) and language (sensory lexicon about flavor, texture, overall and defect attributes of food products) using the sensory analysis techniques. These techniques included descriptive (attributes of different common types of food products) and affective sensory analysis (consumer studies). Local products were used in this project: olive oil, mineral water, chocolate, fruits, traditional Spanish dessert (“turrón”), etc.
The activity was organized in 6 blocks of activities:
1) Work program preparation by the University followed by presentation to the Scientific Culture teacher,
2) Presentation of the working plan and schedule to students and science teachers,
3) University personnel visited the High Schools and vice versa: food sensory analysis,
4) Visits to the food industry and the Regulatory Council of Protected Geographical Indications CRIGPJTA: real application of sensory analysis in the food industry ,
5) Data processing and correction by University and High School teachers, and,
6) Design of a research project by the students to be run in a science fair: a survey on recognition of the five basic tastes by teenagers attending the fair.
This project is presented as an example of interdisciplinary collaborative project among University, Food Industry and High School and the design of a research project by high school students.