CCSS: 6.SP.B.5, 7.SP.A.2, MP1, MP3, MP5

TEKS: 6.12C, 6.12D, 7.6G, 7.12B

Cheese Please!

Whether it’s melted on a pizza, between slices of bread, cut into squares on crackers, or packed as single-serving sticks, Americans love cheese! Each person in the U.S. eats about 40 pounds of the dairy product per year. And they have more than 2,000 varieties of cheese to choose from!

Humans have enjoyed cheese for thousands of years. It was likely first made as a way to preserve milk, which spoiled easily and was difficult to store. Cheese is made when milk proteins called caseins are turned into a solid. These proteins are separated out as curds, while the remaining liquid part of the milk is discarded as whey. Then the curds are pressed into wheels or other shapes to mature or age.

The amount of moisture lost as cheese ages and the way it is first pressed determines whether a cheese is soft, like a brie, or hard, like a Parmesan. Mold matters too. Certain types of cheeses can be made only by exposing the maturing cheese to specific strains of mold.

When it comes to melting, experts say the more moisture the better. Cheese is a mixture of dairy fat, proteins, and water. It gets its structure from its clumped-up proteins. As it melts, the proteins in the cheese break apart, giving the cheese a meltier form. The water in the cheese helps hold the fats and protein clumps together, resulting in a stretchy, gooey cheesy dish.

Answer the following questions using the information in the infographic and graphs above. Record your work and answers on our answer sheet.

Which type of cheese in the infographic melts at the lowest temperature?

A. Gruyère

B. Colby

C. Mozzarella

D. Parmesan

What percent of adults said provolone was their favorite type of cheese?

A. 5%

B. 8%

C. 13%

D. 19%

About how many pounds of cheese did the average American eat in 1990?

A. 14 lb

B. 20 lb

C. 25 lb

D. 35 lb

How many adults said that either cheddar or American was their favorite type of cheese?

A. 617

B. 1,793

C. 2,446

D. 2,821

Which type of cheese in the infographic has the greatest range of aging times?

A. Cheddar

B. Colby

C. Gruyère

D. Mozzarella

In which year did Americans first eat on average twice the amount of cheese per year as they did in 1975?

A. 1985

B. 1995

C. 2000

D. 2015

What’s the mean melting temperature for the cheeses in the infographic, rounded to the nearest tenth?

In 2015, the U.S. population was 320.7 million. About how many pounds of cheese were eaten?

In a group of 30 people, how many would you expect to choose mozzarella as their favorite type of cheese?

Poll your class on their favorite type of cheese and make a circle graph of the results. Then share your class’s votes to compare with other students nationwide!

What does your class think?

Which is your favorite type of cheese?

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Which is your favorite type of cheese?

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Which is your favorite type of cheese?

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