DINB: Cheese Unit

After participating in two “Creating Digital Interactive Notebook” webinar sessions with Lindsey Harlan, I felt brave enough to attempt my first digital interactive notebook! The DINB: Cheese Unit covers a variety of information around cheese and also includes a couple of tasty labs (according to my students)! If you have the opportunity to participate in any of Lindsey’s sessions, I highly recommend it!


  • Since this was the first time I ever taught with a digital interactive notebook, I took a bit of time to introduce them to my students.
  • I explained how they would work, and that I would be assigning work via slide numbers on a daily basis via Google Classroom.
  • Students were also instructed to NOT submit their work along the way which was counterintuitive to how we’ve been operating.
  • NOTE: Because my classes are only 43 minutes, it took approximately two weeks to work through this notebook, including labs.


  • The first activity students do is to add 5 or more photos of their favorite ways to eat cheese. Once finished, they share and I create a master list on the board just to illustrate the variety of ways to consume cheese.
  • Students are then asked to complete the “I See…, I Think…, I Wonder” chart as they view the cheese image as well as the trivia question. We then discuss their responses.
  • To learn more about the history of cheese and how it came to be, students view the Ted Ed titled, “A Brie(f) History of Cheese” and complete the prompts within the notebook.
  • I included a few fun facts about cheese and then asked students to add two additional ones. These get shared with the class.
  • Since the first lab is one that focuses on melting cheese, students watch an EdPuzzle video about melting cheese and are asked to focus on key points such as how moisture content, age of the cheese and acid level of the cheese impacts the melting process. In addition, they look for how to keep cheese from sticking together.
  • Before going to the lab to prepare “Nacho Cheese Sauce”, students answer pre-lab questions and fill out their lab sheet. After the lab, students complete the lab reflection.
  • Students then look at the nutritional value of cheese and compare nutrition information between a variety of cheeses using the cheese comparison chart from Food and Health Communications.
  • The next part of the notebook focuses on cheese types based on firmness and explores the similarities and differences between hard and soft cheeses as students complete color-coded annotations and Venn diagrams.
  • Because cheese is so versatile, I included a dilemma project around cheddar cheese which I explained to my students actually happened when my husband came home with a 5 lb. block of cheddar cheese!
  • The final lab is a dessert lab where students excitedly prepared homemade cheesecakes. This of course was preceeded by completing the “4 Levels of Cheesecake” video assignment, pre-lab questions and lab sheets. After the lab, students completed their lab reflection and “turned in” their completed notebooks.
  • Since this was the first time I used the DINB, I asked my students what they thought. Overall, the response was positive as they liked that everything was in one place with the exception of the recipes and that they knew what was coming. They also liked how it kept them organized! For myself? I will definitely be pursuing this format with some other FACS content!


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Photo by Alana Harris on Unsplash

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