One of my classes was on the small side this year so I asked them if there was anything in particular they wanted to learn about regarding food. They very promptly provided me with a list! I wish I could get some of their assignments that quickly! LOL! Anyway, one of the items on their list was salads…in a jar! Having been to a salad in a jar party where each person brought an ingredient to share, I thought this would be a fun lesson and lab to put together. I also thought I’d try my hand at putting the lesson together as a HyperDoc where students could work their way through the background information in an independent, self-directed way. Even if you don’t feel comfortable giving students the HyperDoc, I find it’s a great way to keep myself and my resources organized!
Not sure if this happens to you are not, but when I have guys in a foods class, their foremost requests are “Can we cook meat?” and “Can we go outside?” So in the spring of the year, when we are nearing the end of the school year, I try to honor these requests. But to make it practical, I give them a comparison shopping assignment, shared with me by FACS teacher Amanda Swallow. Students have to investigate gas grills and make a decision as to what they’d purchase. After all, it is a large item purchase so they wouldn’t just want to buy the first model they see. Following that project, we do discuss the difference between indoor and outdoor grilling, including pros/cons, options and safety before preparing a Chicken Kabob lab! So, how do you teach grilling in your classroom? Please share ideas in the comment section below.
The English Muffin Challenge was a spur of the moment lab! One of our school clubs had two packages of English Muffins left over from an event that they generously donated to us. In addition, I had several left over ingredients from some other labs that I didn’t want to waste. So, I threw it all together for a challenge lab! Students had 40 minutes to create an aesthetic, edible product using the English Muffin and following the parameters of the challenge. Overall, the results were successful, albeit some interesting! However, students walked away knowing they could put together a filling dish, using only available leftovers. The beauty of this type of lab is that the challenge and follow-up assignment could revolve around any food you have an abundance of and wish to use up!
A student recently asked me why scrambled eggs tasted different at their friends and relatives houses compared to scrambled eggs made at home. Great question! I decided to let my students conduct an experiment by preparing scrambled eggs with different liquids in order to discover the effects each had on the eggs’ appearance, taste and texture. Not only did this experimental lab get the students into the kitchen to teach them how to make scrambled eggs, but it was a great way to incorporate a little food science into the curriculum as well!
Need quick cooking recipes for your foods labs or dinner at home on a busy night? I know I do! That’s why I teach about stir-fry cooking! Not only is stir-fry cooking quick and easy, but it’s nutritious, colorful and fairly easy to clean up. So, after students investigate some basics of stir-fry cookery, they get to spin themselves a unique recipe for the class to sample. Try spinning yourself a stir-fry. Who knows, you might just find a new favorite, easy-to-go-to dinner!
My students always want to make fancy desserts and who can blame them! This lesson teaches them a little about plating and styling foods, using brownie desserts to help accomplish the mission! After learning about plating and styling desserts, students practice by making, plating and styling brownies. They also must create a feature for a restaurant menu based on their results! I like this lesson, activity and lab because it’s a great mix of activities. Plus, students get to use technology, create food, apply creativity and eat all in one lesson! My students loved this and were super proud of their accomplishments…I’m confident yours will too!
You never know when you’re going to need a relatively quick and simple appetizer for entertaining that looks like you’ve spent hours preparing! Crostini to the rescue! I like to teach students that party foods don’t have to be super difficult, expensive or time consuming to pull together. The self-directed mini-lesson provides some background information about crostini and how to make them and then students get to pretend they have to pull together a few crostini appetizers for entertaining, using ingredients they have on hand. The creative possibilities are endless! As a tasty finale, students prepare and sample some hot and cold crostini in the lab! Yum!
I have had some requests to share ideas for teaching about quick breads…so, here you go! One thing about teaching quick breads is that there are a plethora of ideas for labs so you can mix it up from one year to the next and secondly, the labs are pretty inexpensive to make so they won’t break your budget! Another thing I like about teaching quick breads is that it’s easy to include math and science concepts into your lessons and labs. Take a look below to see some things I’ve used over the years as well as some links to previous lessons and activities on the website about the topic.