I keep forgetting that some people totally freak out when they hear anything about Common Core standards. I recently shared show excited I was to be speaking at the California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom Conference on Facebook. When I said that my workshop would be called “Cook the Common Core,” someone replied, “Oh no!” I didn’t put two and two together, and asked her why she responded that way. Her simple reply was, “you mentioned something about common core.”
My reply was clear…
This conference is about integrating agriculture into the classroom – and cooking can play a big part of learning. Ignore the title, if that helps. The content is still there. Cooking teaches math, literacy, science, social studies and character education, no matter how you label it.
Who cares what you call the standards that you are teaching? The reality is that cooking is an excellent strategy to teach literacy, math, science, nutrition, social studies and life skills. It is also one of the best motivators to get children to participate in class and learn healthy eating habits – both of which make them better learners in the long run.
Common Core or Bust…
Setting aside any logistical objections you may have, there are compelling academic reasons that you should integrate cooking into your teaching toolkit. In addition to helping your students develop better eating habits and life-skills, cooking also addresses all of the different learning styles or multiple intelligences in your kids. It also reinforces the academics that you are already teaching.
- Kids get the opportunity to classify, measure, count, estimate, and recognize numbers and fractions in a practical and “real-life” setting.
- Use cooking to help the needy and practice math at the same time. Pick your favorite recipe and double or triple it – and then donate it to a soup kitchen.
- Cook the Alphabet! In this series, pre-k to 1st graders focus on different types of produce, from A-Z. Each lesson includes a healthy, no-bake recipe along related literacy and math activities.
- Cooking with kids exposes them to new vocabulary, ranging from kitchen tools and ingredients to cooking strategies and methods.
- Recipes encourage kids to practice symbol recognition, language patterns and sequences
- Following along with the steps of a recipe reveal the importance of directions and the sequence in which they are followed. Would it matter if you didn’t beat the eggs before you added them to the skillet for your omelet? Yep – following both written and oral directions matters!
- Build connections between story books and recipes by joining Kids Cook with Books, our free monthly reading and cooking club for kids ages 2-8. Participate with your students, or encourage parent engagement at home by joining.
- The kitchen is like a laboratory! Kids in the kitchen can ask questions, make predictions, observe, investigate and experiment
- What would happen if you used cold butter in a recipe instead of room temperature butter? What if it was melted instead? Questions like these allow children to be inquisitive scientists, predicting and comparing results when they make simple (or big!) changes in a recipe.
- What happens to ingredients when they are combined? What if they are frozen? Baked? Boiled? Guess what? This is science in action. And the best part is that it is relatable and observable.
- Where does food come from? How does it impact the land where it is grown or the people who grow it?
- Eat your way around the world by preparing dishes from other cultures
- Are certain foods unique to different regions of the world? Is this because of climate? Cultural, religious or dietary preferences?
- Learn about how to be a good citizen by taking turns and feeding the hungry
What are your thoughts on cooking as a teaching strategy in the classroom? Does the “common core” label even matter?
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