Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Value of a Recipe

I have not written very many teaching experiences.  But I thought this one would get some laughs.

The goal for today was that students would understand why recipes are so important and all the different things a recipe requires.  I'm pretty sure I met my teaching goal and I highly doubt many of the students will forget the lesson.

I had everyone get out a piece of paper and write a recipe for a peanut butter sandwich.  Luckily, they are a good class and easily cooperated.  I gave them maybe 5 minutes or so do this.  During that time I went into the lab and got out all the ingredients I needed.  The students had no idea I was doing this because they were in the classroom.  I then came back in and once mostly everyone was finished, I had them put their pencils down and explained that if a pencil was picked up again, they were disqualified.  I then brought everything into the classroom.

One student comes up and reads his recipe exactly.  No changes or speaking clarification could be added--just the recipe as it was written.

Get out 2 slices of bread.  I struggle with the bread sack, was trying to rip it open but didn't want to actually destroy it, attempt the twist tie but that didn't work so I gave up.  The class groaned.

Put the knife in the peanut butter and put some on the bread.  I take the plastic knife and attempt to stab the jar with no success.  So I picked up the jar and placed it on the loaf of bread--since I didn't even have a slice out.  The class screamed--NO you're squishing the bread!!

Put the knife in the jelly and put some on the bread.  Basically the same thing from before.

We talked about the value of a recipe.  The class then told me that no recipes says untwist the bread sack, unscrew the lid, etc and that recipes assume you can do that.  I emphasized that assuming just got us to squished bread but agreed to try the recipe again.

Following the same recipe, the kid basically ended up with a bread sandwich.  I had no idea how much some was.  I told them that I met the requirements for the recipe.  Fortunately the kid was a good sport and was laughing.

So I try a different girl's recipe.

Get out two slices of bread.  Check.

Put a large amount of peanut butter on the bread.  So I used the knife and scooped a fairly large chunk and then just left that glob on one corner of the bread.  The peanut butter had no instructions to spread.  The class again shrieked.

Spread jam on the entire slice of bread.  Can you guess where this is going?  Yup, I literally spread jam on both sides of the bread and the crust.  My hand was sticky.  The class gasped at this because I was wasting food.  The girl thought she had the perfect recipe and about died when her slice of bread was completely covered.

Put bread together and clean up.  The peanut butter stayed up and well, there was jam everywhere.  I do have to say that I liked her cleaning instructions though!

At this point, I talked to them about specifics and clear instructions.  I emphasized that a good recipe should turn out the exact same time no matter who made it.

So I try making one last sandwich.

2 slices of bread.  Check.

Spread 1 t. of Peanut Butter on one side of one piece of bread.  I used a spoon and used my best guess for how much 1 t. really was because I didn't want to go get the measuring spoons out in the other room.  But we were making progress with this recipe.

Spread 1 t. of Jelly on one side of the other piece of bread.  My students are catching on!

Form the sandwich by placing the peanut butter and jelly together.  So I placed it together but made it into an 8 pointed star rather than a normal square sandwich.

Then they had to look at various recipes that had purposefully had different parts missing and identify what was missing.  This is probably on my top favorite list of lessons I have taught because the students learned and we both enjoyed it.  And I doubt it will ever be forgotten.


Tricia said...

This is awesome! I'm totally going to use this if I teach foods!

Julie Anna said...

We had to do the same thing in Computer Science, because the computers really are that stupid. If you don't tell them how to twist the bread tie off, they won't know how to.

In CS you have to make your algorithms clear and precise.

AnnCP said...

Great Lesson Lisa - I need to apply this with some other applications to life!