Make It Fancy Lesson & Lab

One of the best ways I’ve ever taught about plating and presentation to middle schoolers revolved around premade snack foods: aka Twinkies and Yodels!  This Make It Fancy Lesson & Lab is an instant hit with students and it’s really an easy low-prep lab for teachers to implement as well! Need something quick and easy, give this two day lesson and lab a try…you won’t regret it!


  • Begin the lesson by showing students the Food Presentation Make it Fancy Dessert slide deck starting with the second and third slides. The prompts on these slides asks students which dessert looks more appealing. Now, this is certainly an opinion question, but it does spark a lot of conversation.  We took polls of responses and then discussed what students liked or didn’t like about the desserts that were plated and presented.
  • Next we discussed the myth or fact prompt: “We eat with our eyes”.  Based on the previous slide discussions, we do!
  • In order to prepare for the lab, we go over the components that need to be incorporated into a tasty work of art: sauce, space and garnish.
  • Students sketch out their plate presentation on white paper using colored pencils so they have a plan for the lab that follows the criteria. Collect these and pass them back on the day of the lab.


  • iPads or Laptops
  • Projector & Screen
  • Colored Pencils & White Paper
  • Chocolate & Vanilla Snack Desserts
  • Syrups & Sauces (strawberry, chocolate, caramel)
  • Garnishes: coconut, crushed graham crackers, maraschino cherries, sprinkles
  • White Plates, if possible


  • On the lab day, review the criteria for the plate design which requires them to apply the information they learned about space, sauce and garnish using the available food and decorating options. Pass back student sketches so they can review their plan.
  • After students are satisfied with their fancy plate junk food dessert presentation, they take several pictures of it to share with me via Google Classroom before eating it and then cleaning up.
  • Optional Ideas: You could have students do a write up of their fancy plate using descriptive words if so desired.  You could also do this lab as a competition, allowing your faculty and staff to vote on their favorite plate designs, awarding bonus points or prizes to the top three winners!


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