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Shedding Light on the Glycaemic Index

This project aims to develop differentiated tools that could be used from upper primary- through to senior-secondary school classes to enable learning that is relevant to students’ lives and can help students identify the value of science in contributing to life-wide decision-making.

The Project


The project aims to develop a series of differentiated tools to enable children and young people to engage in hands-on activities that allow them to compare and contrast the glycaemic index of common foods.

The approach involves mixing food with amylase, and then measuring the amount of glucose released. Glucose measurement is undertaken using a chemical reaction involving a colour change followed by either quantitative digital image analysis (senior secondary school) or simple qualitative visual comparison with standards.

All resources are easily available to schools or freely accessible via a smart phone or tablet.

These tools offer the potential to contribute to learning that is contextualized in exploration of nutrition as a complex social issue, or explores concepts associated with food chemistry, digestion, food and nutrition, or science communication.


Get Involved: Call for Teachers

Register now-01

The University of Auckland is looking for primary and secondary teachers to provide feedback on the draft tools for exploring the glycaemic index in the classroom.

What does this involve?

  • Receive access to files outlining the draft tool(s)
  • Participate in a focus group that includes:
    • A demonstration of the tools
    • Discussion about potential use in classrooms
    • Discussion about presentation of resources
  • Contribute your expertise to ensure the resources are fit for purpose
  • Receive updates as the tools are finalised


FOCUS GROUPS: Where, when and who?

  • Via ZOOM and/or in person (your choice)
  • Flexible dates available
  • Members of the research team will facilitate the groups
  • Group meetings will require 60 minutes of your time
  • Primary and secondary expert groups at separate times

Participant Information and Consent

If you wish to contribute your expertise to this study, please read the Participant Information Sheet and compelte the Consent Form.

Once we receive your consent, we will send you details of the project and options for Focus Group meeting times. 


Timeline and Team

Project Timeline:

  1. Development of draft tools
  2. Consultation with members of the Auckland Science Teachers' Association committee
  3. Refinement of draft tools
  4. Consultation with Primary and Secondary School teachers
  5. Refinement and confirmation of resources for use in schools
  6. Open access sharing of resources
GI Chart 2

Project Team:

  • Xiaoyu Ma, MSc student, Faculty of Science
  • Dr Peter Swedlund, Faculty of Science
  • Dr Jacquie Bay, Liggins Institute
  • Dr Suzanne Trask, Liggins Institue
  • Dr Sally Birdsal, ASTA
  • Sandra Jackson, ASTA
  • Mike Stone, ASTA


For more information please contact: 

The project is approved by the University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee on 04 May 2020 for three years. Reference Number 024396.

Funding for the involvement of the LENScience research group in this project is generously provided by the Norman F Barry Foundation