When Bruce Watkins looks at a pizza, he sees a savory meal and a learning experience to boot.
Watkins, a faculty scholar in the department of food science at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., developed a CD-ROM instructional program called The Pizza Explorer.
"There isn't anything better than pizza to use as a model to try and teach food chemistry,' Watkins told the Chicago Tribune.
Funded in part by The Institute of Food Technologists, The Pizza Explorer is an interactive science lesson using facts, figures and history about pizza as teaching tools. When talking toppings, it mentions how they're grown and their vitamin content, and regarding history, it teaches how pizza was born in the hands of the Etruscans, the ancient forefathers of Italy.
The teaching tool, developed for students in grades 7-12, leads kids through games and quizzes them on what they've learned.
The Pizza Explorer is available online at the National Health Museum's Web site, www.access-excellence.org. The CD, which contains voice-over narration and additional information, is available free to science teachers; call the IFT at 312-782-8424.