National Agriculture in the Classroom

Eggs on the Menu

Grade Level(s)

6 - 8

Estimated Time

Four 15-minute activities

Purpose

Students will learn the versatility, function, and nutritional benefit of eggs in a healthy diet, identify the function and role of eggs in a recipe, identify forms of technology used on an egg farm, and understand how eggs are classified by size.

Materials

Interest Approach:

Activity 1:

Activity 2:

Activity 3:

Essential Files (maps, charts, pictures, or documents)

Essential Links

Vocabulary

nutrients: a substance that provides nourishment essential for growth and maintenance of life

protein: an essential nutrient responsible for building structural components of body tissues such as muscle, hair, and collagen

Interest Approach – Engagement

Activity 1: An Egg-ceptional Meal

  1. Give each student 1 copy of the An Egg-ceptional Meal handout. Have students complete the True/False quiz. Review the answers as listed below:
    1. False. Eggs have a high nutrient density, especially in proportion to their calorie count. One egg contains 13 essential vitamins and minerals, plus high quality protein and antioxidants—at just 70 calories per egg!
    2. False. Almost half of the egg’s protein is in the yolk.
    3. True. Egg protein has all nine essential and all nine non-essential amino acids, making it a complete protein food second only to mother’s milk for human nutrition. A large egg provides 6 grams of protein, 13% of the recommended Daily Value (DV) for protein.
    4. True. Eggs help form muscle tissue and build muscle strength.
    5. False. Egg yolks contain the most nutrients, including Vitamins A, B12, D, and E.
    6. False. The protein from eggs provides sustained energy throughout the morning, making you feel fuller longer and making eggs a top choice for weight control.
    7. True. Eggs contain choline, a nutrient that helps maintain brain cell membranes. Choline’s importance to fetal brain development makes eating eggs part of a healthy diet for pregnant women.
    8. False. Eggs are lower in cholesterol than previously believed. Recent studies* show that the average amount of cholesterol in one large egg is 185 mg, a 14% decrease from past measurements. The American Heart Association suggests a dietary guideline of less than 300 mg of cholesterol per day, so it is perfectly healthy to enjoy an egg a day without increasing the risk for heart disease.
    9. True. This amazing fact proves that eggs do indeed offer the highest protein quality among all foods!
    10. True.
  2. Have students complete Part 2 and Part 3 of the worksheet.
    • On Part 2, student responses will vary, but may include Breakfast—scrambled, poached, fried, omelet, boiled, baked, over easy, over hard; Lunch—frittata, quiche, egg salad, egg sandwich; Dinner—deviled eggs, Pad Thai, pasta salad, etc.
    • On Part 3, assign students to form teams to create a menu for breakfast, lunch, or dinner that features eggs in the core dish. Have them share completed menus in class or prepare their meals for a class tasting.
      • *In 2010, a random sample of regular large-shell eggs was collected from locations across the country to analyze the nutrient content of eggs. According to the resulting USDA nutrition data, eggs are lower in cholesterol than previously recorded. The USDA results show the average amount of cholesterol in one large egg is 185 mg, down from 215 mg—a 14 percent decrease.

Did you know? (Ag Facts)

Background - Agricultural Connections

Nutrients are chemical elements that are essential to plant and animal nutrition. While no one food (other than mother’s milk, perhaps) provides all the nutrients a human needs, the egg contains a wide array of essential nutrients. After all, the egg was designed by nature to supply everything needed for the creation and nourishment of a baby chick.

All eggs contain the nutrients; protein and fat. Egg protein is of such high quality that it is often used as the standard by which other protein foods are measured. Egg protein contains all the essential amino acids (building blocks of protein which the body needs but cannot make) in a pattern that matches very closely the pattern the human body needs. This is why eggs are classified with meat in the Protein Food Group and why egg protein is called a complete protein. With the exception of vitamin C, an egg contains varying amounts of all the essential vitamins plus many minerals. An egg yolk is one of the few foods which naturally contain vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin.

Although eggs are widely known as breakfast entrées, they also serve in many other ways. In fact, the cooking properties of eggs are so varied that eggs have been called “the cement that holds together the castle of cuisine”.

Eggs bind ingredients in dishes such as meatloaves or crab cakes, leaven such baked high-rises as soufflés and sponge cakes and thicken custards and sauces. Eggs emulsify mayonnaise, salad dressings and Hollandaise sauce and are frequently used to coat or glaze breads and cookies. Eggs clarify soups and coffee and retard crystallization in boiled candies and frostings. Eggs add color, flavor, moisture and nutrients to baked goods such as cakes. As a finishing touch, hard-boiled eggs often serve as a garnish. 

Technology runs the world, and it’s no different for the American egg farming industry. With U.S. egg production averaging 75 billion eggs per year, the egg industry depends on technology to continue to meet rising consumer demands. This lesson highlights real-world examples of the role technology plays in modern egg farming. Students will explore ways in which science has driven innovation to improve hen health and ensure that production practices result in eggs of consistently high quality for the consumer, and how science has expanded the role that eggs play beyond their value as a food.

Several factors influence the size of an egg. The major factor is the age of the hen. As the hen ages, her eggs increase in size. The breed of hen from which the egg comes is a second factor. Weight of the bird is another. Pullets significantly underweight at sexual maturity will produce small eggs. Environmental factors that lower egg weights are heat, stress, overcrowding and poor nutrition. All of these variables are of great importance to the egg producer. Even a slight shift in egg weight influences size classification and size is one of the factors considered when eggs are priced. Careful flock management benefits both the hens and the producer.

Procedures

Activity 1: An Eggs-traordinary Multi-Tasker

  1. As a class, brainstorm all of the foods that contain eggs as an ingredient. As students brainstorm, write their responses on the board. Categorize them by listing the egg entrees (scrambled, boiled, fried) on one side of the board and foods that use eggs as an ingredient (cakes, brownies, cookies, etc.) on the other side of the board.
  2. Once you have a good brainstorm listed on the board, point to the foods using eggs as an ingredient and ask, "What purpose do eggs have in these recipes? How would the outcome be different without the eggs?"
  3. Give each student one copy of the An Eggs-traordinary Multi-Tasker worksheet. Have students unscramble the egg functions and match them to their definitions in Part 1. Answers should be:
    1. clarify–J
    2. glaze–G
    3. thicken–H
    4. coat–C
    5. emulsify-D
    6. leaven–I
    7. bind–A
    8. prevent crystallization–B
    9. color–E
    10. garnish–F.
  4. Instruct students to complete Part 2. Students will find most recipes by name on incredibleegg.org if they need help determining how eggs are used in the recipe’s preparation. Answers:
    • Breakfast Favorites 1. leaven; 2. leaven; 3. coat.
    • Appetizers 1. bind; 2. clarify; 3. color, garnish.
    • Main Course 1. leaven; 2. bind.
    • Flavorful Sauces 1. emulsify; 2. emulsify.
    • Desserts 1. leaven; 2. leaven, thicken, color; 3. thicken, glaze; thicken, prevent crystallization.

Activity 2: T-egg-nology?

  1. Give each student one copy of the T-egg-nology? handout.
  2. Have students view Chapters 7, 8, and 9 in the Eggs 101 video series. Videos run approximately 3-4 minutes each. Use the explanations below to review students’ answers. You may wish to view, and/or suggest that students view, even more advanced technological systems in action by watching the Farm-to-Table Virtual Field Trip videos. Answers:
    1. Feeding hens — Computer-controlled feeding system runs on rails to distribute fresh food equally.
    2. Gathering eggs — Conveyor belts move and position eggs for packaging.
    3. Packaging eggs — Lasers apply date information on package; robots move packages.
  3. Have students use the engineering design process graphic to consider how engineers might have arrived at the solutions they saw in the videos to address these three processes. Encourage students to consider and suggest improvements that might use even more advanced technology.

Activity 3: Egg Sizing

  1. Give each student one copy of the Egg Sizing: A Case Study handout and instruct students to follow the instructions to complete the activity.
    • Note that Part 1 of this activity requires enough eggs of different sizes (e.g., medium, large, extra large) so that each group of four or five students can work with eggs of two different sizes. Also, provide each group with a scale (digital, if possible). Groups should rotate through the activity so that those waiting their turn to do their investigation can complete conversion charts while they wait.
      • Size conversions (ounce per egg): medium–about 1.75 oz.; large–about 2 oz.; extra large–about 2.25 oz. Students should find that, while there may be slight variations among individual eggs in size and weight, each carton of eggs meets USDA guidelines, ensuring that consumers can always expect to buy eggs with confidence.
    • Part 2: Answers:
      1. Older hens lay larger eggs.
      2. Underweight birds produce smaller eggs.
      3. Stress, heat, overcrowding, and poor nutrition can result in smaller eggs.

Concept Elaboration and Evaluation

After completing these activities, review and summarize the follow key concepts:

Important
We welcome your feedback! Please take a minute to tell us how to make this lesson better or to give us a few gold stars!

 

Enriching Activities

Suggested Companion Resources

Sources/Credits

Ag Facts:

  1. http://thinkegg.com/index.php/21-2/

Author(s)

American Egg Board

Organization Affiliation

American Egg Board