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Hands-on Activities

How is food packaged?

Grade
Kindergarten 1 2 3
Jurisdiction
AB BC MB NB NL NS NT NU ON PE QC SK YT Outside Canada
Format

Summary

Take a closer look at food packaging. Explore why and how food is packaged in different ways.

What You Need

  • Variety of packaged foods

Safety First!

Fresh meat packages that are not fully sealed may be a biological hazard. Make sure fresh meat packages are placed into clean plastic bags before children handle them. Always wash hands after touching and sorting foods.

What To Do

When grocery shopping and unpacking groceries or when using packaged foods, look at and discuss the types of packaging. What materials are used in packaging? Why do different foods have different packaging material? What is the purpose of packaging?

Discovery

What’s happening?

There are many different types of food packaging, such as aluminum cans, plastic jars, glass jars, cardboard boxes, air-filled plastic bags, cartons, plastic tubs, styrofoam trays, etc.

What’s happening?

There are many different types of food packaging, such as aluminum cans, plastic jars, glass jars, cardboard boxes, air-filled plastic bags, cartons, plastic tubs, styrofoam trays, etc.

Why does it matter?

Food packaging can serve two roles: to protect food and to contain food. Many foods can spoil when they come into contact with air. Tin cans and air-tight containers keep air and airborne germs away from foods, which helps protect the food. The tin canister was invented in 1810 and the first tin cans were so thick that hammers had to be used to open them. The can opener was not invented until 48 years later, when the cans became thinner.

Cans and glass containers are often used to contain foods that are runny, like spaghetti sauce, or that are preserved in liquids, like pickles and olives. Air-filled packages such as those for potato chips keep the food from breaking or crumbling while they are being transported and stored.

Why does it matter?

Food packaging can serve two roles: to protect food and to contain food. Many foods can spoil when they come into contact with air. Tin cans and air-tight containers keep air and airborne germs away from foods, which helps protect the food. The tin canister was invented in 1810 and the first tin cans were so thick that hammers had to be used to open them. The can opener was not invented until 48 years later, when the cans became thinner.

Cans and glass containers are often used to contain foods that are runny, like spaghetti sauce, or that are preserved in liquids, like pickles and olives. Air-filled packages such as those for potato chips keep the food from breaking or crumbling while they are being transported and stored.

Investigate further

Create a chart like the one below. Examine the types of packaged food you have in your home and record them on the chart. Fill in the first two columns and then count the number of foods in each type of packaging and add the number to the chart. Which type of packaging do you have the most of? Which type do you have the least of? Are there similarities between the types of food found in the different types of packaging?

Type of packaging Type of food Number
     
     

 

For more information on this topic check out these Let's Talk Science resources:

Investigate further

Create a chart like the one below. Examine the types of packaged food you have in your home and record them on the chart. Fill in the first two columns and then count the number of foods in each type of packaging and add the number to the chart. Which type of packaging do you have the most of? Which type do you have the least of? Are there similarities between the types of food found in the different types of packaging?

Type of packaging Type of food Number
     
     

 

For more information on this topic check out these Let's Talk Science resources: