Knowledge vs. Experience: What I’ve Learned About the Art of TeachingSeptember 19, 2023
ChatGPT Hacks for Teachers: A Crash Course in AIOctober 17, 2023
Remember those school days when the most exciting thing was getting a break from the daily grind? In middle school, I had the privilege of experiencing such days when positive behavior was rewarded with special classroom activities. Among the various options, five stood out: creating ice cream in a bag, folding and flying paper airplanes, baking cookies, the egg drop challenge, and building popsicle bridges. Little did I know then that these activities would ignite a passion within me for the culinary arts. Today, I would like to share how introducing unconventional teaching methods, such as cooking, can spice up the school day and promote STEM learning.
The Power of Hands-On Learning
Traditional classroom settings can sometimes feel monotonous, making it challenging for students to stay engaged. However, when students are given the opportunity to explore new ways of learning through exciting activities, their willingness to participate increases dramatically. Introducing STEM concepts through unconventional teaching methods, such as cooking, can breathe new life into the learning experience.
Exploring STEM Through Culinary Arts
One of the most enjoyable aspects of incorporating culinary activities into the classroom is the opportunity to dive into STEM topics in a fun and interactive way. Let’s take a closer look at how we can use cooking to explore two essential STEM concepts: Acid and Base reactions in addition to Thermodynamics.
Acid and Base Reactions
To demonstrate Acid and Base reactions, we can draw inspiration from the classic science fair experiment – the erupting volcano! The erupting volcano uses baking soda and vinegar to cause a bubbling reaction. We can expand on this concept by introducing students to the world of marinades.
The Marinade Experiment
- Ingredients Needed:
- ½ cup olive oil
- ⅓ cup soy sauce
- ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1 ½ tablespoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried minced garlic (optional)
- In class, prepare the marinade with the students.
- Encourage them to discuss the components of the marinade, focusing on the acid (lemon juice), oil (olive oil), and flavoring agents (herbs and spices).
- Marinate meat (chicken, pork, steak, etc.) in the mixture for a minimum of one hour, but overnight marination is recommended.
- The Experiment:
- Grill one plain steak and one marinated steak the next day.
- Keep the cooking temperature and time as close as possible for both steaks.
- After cooking, cut up the steak and serve it to the young scientists who helped prepare the marinade.
By conducting this experiment, students can witness firsthand how the acid in the marinade interacts with the meat, leading to a tender and flavorful outcome. This engaging activity not only makes STEM concepts more accessible but also fosters a deeper understanding of the science behind cooking (plus provides a tasty meal!).
Introducing STEM concepts through unconventional teaching methods like cooking can bring a breath of fresh air to the classroom. Activities like the marinade experiment allow students to explore scientific principles in a hands-on, exciting way. So, the next time you’re looking for a way to engage students and make learning fun, consider bringing the magic of the kitchen into the classroom. Who knows, you might just inspire the next generation of chefs and scientists!
– Matt Holland and Ava Perrin