Why Milk is Safe
A Food Safety Unit for Grades 4-6, WebQuest Agricultural Series by Missouri Farm Bureau and Missouri State University



Milk, a dairy product, is a safe and nutritious food source that we should eat or drink every day. Mammals produce milk to feed their young.  Some animals are raised to provide milk for human use.  Several of these animals are dairy cows, goats, sheep, and camels depending on what part of the world you live in.  In the United States the two most popular milk producers are dairy cows and goats.  Throughout history milk has been a good food source for everyone.  However it wasn’t until 1864 when Louis Pasteur developed a new technology called Pasteurization that milk became a safe food source for everyone.  The milk you buy at the grocery store today has been pasteurized so that it is safe to drink and other dairy products safe to eat.

You are living on a farm in the year 1866.  Your neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Sorensen raise dairy cows and sell the milk to their neighbors and several families in the nearest town.  Unfortunately, their two children, Mary and Sam, have become very ill with a fever.  The doctor says they have “Undulant Fever”, sometimes called “Milk Fever”.   Undulant fever is a dangerous bacterial infection that can be fatal.   Everyone in your neighborhood has stopped drinking milk.  Your parents are concerned for Sam and Mary and are worried that you may become ill as well.  A week later the doctor dropped by to tell your parents that Mary and Sam are out of danger, but it will be a slow recovery. You have overheard your parents talking about a new technology developed by a French chemist, Louis Pasteur, that might have prevented this illness.  Your parents and Mr. Sorensen had thought this new technology was too expensive to use.  Besides, it might make the milk taste different and the milk would cost too much to buy. 


You have been worried about your friends Mary and Sam.  You don’t want to get sick and you don’t want your other friends to get sick with the same fever that they have.  You have decided to research and study about the new technology “Pasteurization.”  You want to learn all you can so you can explain the importance of this technology to your parents and Mr. Sorensen.  You want to convince them that the new technology may save many lives.  However, your ability to research in the 1800's is limited.  Therefore you will time travel to the year Louis Pasteur invented the process of Pasteurization between 1857 and 1865 and on to 2005 to see the results or effects of pasteurization in the United States and around the world.


1.       Read about Louis Pasteur and the process called Pasteurization.

The famous chemist Louis Pasteur.

Louis Pasteur benefactor of humanity.


More about Louis Pasteur.


2.     You and your classmates will be divided into teams of four. Each one of you will choose one of these  questions to answer from the research you have completed.  Be sure you use your own words and not the words of others.

a.) Who created this technology? Be sure to include a simple biography and his qualifications for inventing this technology through research.

b.) Why did he want to provide this technology?

c.) What was this technology? What did it do?

d.) When and where was this technology discovered?


3.     Prepare a persuasive poster board or power point presentation to present to the class.  Include drawings or pictures. Pretend the class members are your parents and Mr. Sorensen. 

4.     As a group, write a paragraph summarizing your research.  Begin with this topic sentence:  In conclusion, the technology called Pasteurization is important to me and everyone in the world because …….. 

5.      Include this summary as a part of your persuasive poster board or power point presentation.


Congratulations, you have successfully convinced Mr. Sorensen and your parents of the importance of Pasteurization.  They are now willing to make use of this new technology to provide safe milk to drink for you and everyone you know.



Collaboration Rubric
Name __________________________________
Research & Gather Information
Does not collect any information that relates to the topic.
Collects very little information--some relates to the topic.
Collects some basic information--most relates to the topic.
Collects a great deal of information--all relates to the topic.

Share Information
Does not relay any information to teammates.
Relays very little information--some relates to the topic.
Relays some basic information--most relates to the topic.
Relays a great deal of information--all relates to the topic.

Be Punctual
Does not hand in any assignments.
Hands in most assignments late.
Hands in most assignments on time.
Hands in all assignments on time.

Take Responsibility
Fulfill Team Role's Duties
Does not perform any duties of assigned team role.
Performs very little duties.
Performs nearly all duties.
Performs all duties of assigned team role.

Participate in Science Conference
Does not speak during the science conference.
Either gives too little information or information which is irrelevant to topic.
Offers some information--most is relevant.
Offers a fair amount of important information--all is relevant.

Share Equally
Always relies on others to do the work.
Rarely does the assigned work--often needs reminding.
Usually does the assigned work--rarely needs reminding.
Always does the assigned work without having to be reminded.

Value Others' Viewpoints
Listen to Other Teammates
Is always talking--never allows anyone else to speak.
Usually doing most of the talking--rarely allows others to speak.
Listens, but sometimes talks too much.
Listens and speaks a fair amount.

Cooperate with Teammates
Usually argues with teammates.
Sometimes argues.
Rarely argues.
Never argues with teammates.

Make Fair Decisions
Usually wants to have things their way.
Often sides with friends instead of considering all views.
Usually considers all views.
Always helps team to reach a fair decision.



Collaboration Rubric by Pickett and Dodge, 2002.


Pasteur's Fight Against Microbes (Science Stories Series) by Beverly Birch and Christian Birmingham.

Louis Pasteur: A Photo-Illustrated Biography  (Photo-Illustrated Biography) by Kremena Spengler.

Louis Pasteur: Disease Fighter (Great Minds of Science) by Linda Wasmer Smith.




This WebQuest was created by teachers participating in Missouri's Agriculture in the Classroom program at Missouri State University through a USDA grant.  The template on this site was adapted from a template from The WebQuest Page and the original was designed by Dr. Lyndon Irwin.  Assistance for this project was provided by Mrs. Barbara Irwin, M.S. and Mrs. Diane Olson, M.S.

Teachers are encouraged to adapt this lesson for classroom use only.  No part of this publication may be transmitted, stored, recorded or published in any form without written permission from Missouri Farm Bureau.


This page was developed by the late Barbara Irwin, reviewed by Lyndon and the late Barbara Irwin and is maintained by Missouri Farm Bureau.
Please address questions to Diane Olson at Missouri Farm Bureau