What does an Iron Chef-style mini competition have to do with education? Okay, what actually went down wasn’t actually a competition but more of an exercise for students to think outside the box. After our fondant cakes I believed that my students deserved a break from working on a long term project. So, similar to our last brain break, the breakfast challenge, I decided to surprise them with another task.
Our class showed up with expectations that it would be a relaxed and fun day (well, I guess these descriptors don’t differentiate too much as every day is fun!) – instead I sat at the front of the room with a box in my hands. As they filed in I held the box tightly and almost all of them asked me what I was holding. Then I revealed to them what they were to do – they were to produce a product – anything they wanted. They had access to our pantry and basic bulk items we have on hand. There was one catch – and it was in my box. They must include the ingredient I had in my box in their creations. I told them I would give little to no instruction as to how to work with the ingredient and they were welcome to “wing it” or adapt recipes to create something special. They were asked not to reproduce a recipe but to create something that used the ingredient in a way they they found to be different than others’ ways and make it presentable and obviously delicious.
I saw some scared faces, some wide eyes, and many smiles and smirks (my favourite). It slowly clicked. We were taking this:
…and doing it however we wanted (not even backwards).
Here’s a showcase of what was produced (in 45 MINUTES):
Raspberry Chocolate Cake (Yes, there are raspberries IN the cake) with Raspberry Coulis
Raspberry Chocolate Tartlet with Homemade Chocolate Sauce
Raspberry Oatmeal – it was nice and tart!
Raspberry Custard Pie w/ Cocoa
Raspberry Blondie Bars
Raspberry Parfait with Homemade Oatmeal/Granola
Double Chocolate Pancake Stacks with Raspberry Jelly
(We called this “The Dexter”)
Raspberry Cupcakes – This frosting was to die for (no colouring, all raspberries!)
If it hasn’t occurred to you already the ingredient was FROZEN RASPBERRIES!
Hello project-based courses, interdependent directed courses, and goodbye (slowly) to the days of the theory/demonstration/lab rotation! I’m hopeful that we can work together to revamp Home Economics to be a subject area that produces some of the beautiful work you see showcased on my blog but also is valued as an area of study that taps into critical life skills that students take with them and exercise immediately (beyond cookery – we’re talking communication, interpersonal dynamics, problem-solving strategies, creativity, self-motivation, and a passionate focus).