Lessons from a Thanksgiving Plate
Thanksgiving brings thoughts of freshly baked pumpkin pie, warm apple tarts, and sugary sweet potatoes. For the students in Class 8, with teachers Lynne Pinto and Sasha Bowman, their weekly recipe lesson that incorporates math, language arts, home economics, and science, focused on choosing and preparing a Thanksgiving appetizer.
To begin, photos of the three choices including a cracker sandwich with stuffing and cranberry sauce; a puff pastry with stuffing, cranberry sauce, and gravy; and a muffin with stuffing, gravy, and cranberry sauce, were presented on the class Smart Board. One-by-one the students traveled to the Smart Board and, using the touch screen, independently made their choices, while other students used their iPads to “speak” their answers and share with the class.
Using a mathematics graphing technique to grade the selections, the winning dish was a puff pastry with stuffing, cranberry sauce, and gravy. The students wrote the recipe and directions collectively, using Boardmaker, software that creates picture communication and symbol-based documents. With their recipes in hand, off they went to shop at an online supermarket. Then it was on to the instructional kitchen to prepare and cook the appetizer. The project ended with a sale in the Middle School Café, where the students act as salespeople and cashiers.
The students direct the project from start to finish and make their choices with minimal direction from their teachers and teacher assistants. Students end the process with a critique back in their classroom where they share their likes or dislikes of both the activity and, most importantly, their product.
Lynne Pinto shared “The students truly enjoy food-centered activities in which they practice independent thinking by making choices about what dish they cook and shopping for the best prices on ingredients. It is a great experience, made even better our instructional kitchen.”