Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

In this Virtual Labs lesson plan which is adaptable for grades 3-12, students use an online interactive game to learn about food science lab equipment, proper sampling techniques, and how adjusting a food’s acidity can keep it safe.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Use an online lab module (virtual lab) to explore food science lab equipment.
  2. Identify standard techniques for sampling.
  3. Explain how adjusting a food's acidity can keep it safe.


This lesson plan utilizes an NMSU interactive virtual lab called Acidifying Salsa. Through the virtual lab, students will explore proper sampling techniques and learn how adjusting a food’s acidity can keep it safe. Virtual Labs – Acidifying Salsa familiarizes students with food science lab equipment and teaches standard techniques for sampling. The interactive animation guides students through theory and practice of adjusting pH so they will have familiarity with the equipment and procedures when encountered in a real lab.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Play the Acids and Bases or Food Safety movie for the class, depending on your learning objectives.
  2. Discuss how adding acidic ingredients affects food sources. Guide students to understand that doing so can protect food from dangerous toxins produced by organisms like C. botulinum, which is a common and harmless microbe in the environment but deadly when sealed with food in a jar.
  3. Project the Acidifying Salsa virtual lab for the class to see. Have student volunteers complete the first part of the interactive as you help them make connections to prior learning and learn how to utilize the interactive.
  4. Provide 10-15 minutes for students to complete the interactive on their own computer. Alternatively, you can have students work with a partner.
  5. If possible, allow students to conduct a similar chemistry investigation in the science lab.

Extension Activities:

Be sure to check out the other Virtual Labs games on GameUp!