But I was thinking about cooking, making plans...
Our winter social studies unit is World Geography and we are using food, specifically grains, as an entry point to the topic. This past week I started off with a pre-test to make sure everyone knew their continents. Ruh-roh! Most kids clearly needed a refresher, so my plans to introduce one grain for every continent was a perfect activity on multiple levels.
We started with a Match The Grains activity that I didn't invent, but did adapt to the grains that we've identified as being indigenous to each continent. Did I say "we"? That would mean me, Emilyinthekitchen, and Kristen, an employee of the district food cooperative whose focus is on food education. We have grant funds supporting this unit and spent half a day in December cooking up plans for this unit.
The Match The Grain activity got kids looking at ziplog bags full of nine different grains, and then trying to figure out which typed description went with each baggie and what the name of the grain was. We had regular stuff, like brown rice, barley and quinoa (because barley and quinoa is "regular stuff" in our amazing hot lunch program). But we also had weirder stuff like rye berries, amaranth, and millet. Kids got into the exploration and it felt like a great kick off to the unit.
For the next three days we cooked up one grain per day and ate it at snack. At the same time, kids examined the uncooked grain up close and personal (meaning they got to touch and sniff it) and recorded the grain, the continent of origin and labelled the continent on a map. I've posted this information on the bulletin board as well.
|Cuplets of amaranth, ready to be poked and prodded|
|Amaranth: gritty but tasty|
|As I served kids globs of barley on Thursday at snack, I heard an imaginary voice in my ear say, |
"Please miss, can I have some more?"
- My children have been sick and I had to keep adapting plans each day as Plan A became Plan B became Plan C. There's only so much you can ask a substitute to do...
- I've been less than scientific about how much salt and butter has been dumped into the pot each day, so it's possible that barley got rave reviews because of the supporting role butter played.
- The display board is serving its purpose, but looks a little bit like a third grader put it together, no disrespected to third graders intended. This is because of staffing changes I no longer have the support of the fabulous Barb. This was the first bulletin board display I put together myself in over a decade, and it showed.
None of this is critically important, though. Kids are eating new grains, making connections with the continents, and hopefully getting interested in all that is to come. We'll finish the grain tour de continents at the beginning of next week and move on to the next phase of the unit.
I'll leave you with an opportunity to test your own grain knowledge. Do you know which grain originated on which continent? (For the purposed of this unit, originated can also mean cultivated, even if it originally grew wild elsewhere. Because if you look far enough back, almost everything came from Asia.)