Have you ever needed a short activity to fill time due to a “surprise” assembly, early dismissal or one class finishing before another? This activity can be stretched or shortened depending on your needs! Hangry is a real concept that most of us have experienced at one time or another and because of this, it can be a very relatable topic for students to talk about and make connections to. I’ve included some activities that work well with this topic, so, pick and choose or do them all!
It does my heart good to see young children helping out in the kitchen! Back in the olden days, children learned to help out in the kitchen and even cook and bake at a fairly early age. Today’s children, not so much! One thing that I have noticed about my incoming 7th graders is that their culinary skills are severely lacking! Sadly, many students aren’t allowed in the kitchen to cook or experiment with food preparation, others simply can’t be bothered because “convenience” is easier and has become a way of life. Lastly, many may want to learn, but have no role models in their lives that can or will teach them as their parents and even grandparents just don’t cook! This lesson combines literacy and food prep as students learn the importance and benefits of why young children should be in the kitchen, helping to prepare foods with their parents. It also shows them how creating fun recipes can be an extension of the very books the children love to read. So, take literacy and food prep to a whole new level and show students how they can enjoy a literary feast!
Why do you eat what you eat? For some this is an easy question and for others it’s a bit more complex. After all, there are many things that influence our food choices and they may be completely different from one person to the next! When I teach about food influences in the junior high, it’s often one of my very first lessons with them. This introductory group activity is a great way to get students up, moving around and communicating with you and their peers right away. The middle of this lesson consists of an overview of the influences and application activity. Finally, the culminating project is a scavenger hunt portfolio that students complete outside of class and can be digitally or hand-generated but gets students sleuthing around their homes, looking for some of the influences as they relate to their own families.
The trend in education is to create student led activities, projects and presentations! After being inspired by a literary term assignment that my son had to create and teach to his AP Literature class, I thought, why not do this with food preparation terms and kitchen tools, letting students compile the information in a presentation and teach each other the materials! This easily became a template that I could share with my students via Google Classroom, keeping entire presentations together. Since students had to orally, present their term or tool, I could grade as they presented, making my life easier at the end of the day!
One tradition that my family practiced as I was growing up was eating family dinner together regularly! I have wonderful memories of that dinner table; the fun and laughter as well as difficult conversations that ensued between my sisters and parents. This important tradition continued while raising our own children! How my husband and I will miss this daily routine as we rapidly approach the empty nest stage of our lives. Below you will find a lesson that promotes eating together as a family and the benefits along with a variety of engaging activities and projects that can be implemented in the FACS classroom. Hopefully, students will carry this concept to their home life so it becomes a recurring practice and a potential tradition with both their present and future families!
Fusion Cooking was a term that I was not very familiar with. I had heard it referenced in an old Learning Zone Express video titled The History of American Cuisine several years ago, but that was the extent of it. However, it was recently brought up again in an email conversation I was having with Minnesota FACS teacher, Coleen K. Guhl who has supplied the majority of fusion cooking resources below that she has shared with me and/or uses with her students when studying regional foods and cuisine. So, a big “thank you” to Coleen for helping me learn more about this unique blending of regional and global cuisines!
Years ago, I took a class on edible flowers with my local extension office. Not only was it pleasing to the eye, but it was tastefully pleasant as well! Recently, I was reminded of edible flowers when meeting up with a former student and dear friend; Ashten Swartz. She shared with me that she developed recipes for GRIT magazine around the theme of edible flowers…you’ll find her recipes linked below! Anyway, one thing led to another, and we ended up getting together to experiment with edible flowers in one-pot meals. Ashten developed the below recipes and I must say they looked and tasted amazing! I plan to share these with my students in hopes that they utilize edible flowers in some of their recipes as they experiment in the kitchen.
Face it! There are just some food topics that are difficult to have a lab associated with them. Sometimes it’s because of the cost, the logistics, the equipment or the quantity/variety of foods you’d have to purchase in order to make the lab happen. When this happens, I try to do some kind of unique project in place of the lab. So, below you will see how I make the best of teaching about salad bars with a tablescape project in lieu of an actual foods lab. What are some unique assignments or projects you do in place of labs? Share in the comment section below.
Kayla Pins, a Family &Consumer Science teacher from Iowa, who was featured HERE, has been busy creating Collards & Sense: A free curriculum for high school students that helps students make wise choices with their food dollars. She has graciously given me permission to share this amazing 10 day curriculum that is full of meaningful, engaging and enriching lessons and activities! It is designed to be taught by any teacher and in any class, Family and Consumer Sciences certified or not, and kitchen setup or not. Activities are hands-on but require very little prep or purchasing for the teacher.