Wednesday, February 5, 2003
Steamboat Springs Home economics classes aren't offered until middle school, but that didn't prevent a group of Strawberry Park Elementary School fourth-graders from receiving an early lesson in food preparation and nutrition Wednesday.
Inspired by Strawberry Park food service specialists M.J. Price and Paula Leggett, two of the school's fourth-grade classes made their own bread dough -- and learned a little about the food pyramid and carbohydrates in the process.
The dough-making coincided with the digestion, health and food pyramid units teachers Katie Knezevich and Don Schwartz are teaching their classes.
"Hands-on work is the best way of learning," Schwartz said.
Price and Leggett, along with Director of Food Services Roberta Gill, made the potentially messy activity as clean and painless as possible. Each student was given a plastic bag filled with pre-measured amounts of flour, sugar and yeast.
The children gently shook the bags to ensure the ingredients were well mixed before they were quizzed by Gill on the differences between white flour and wheat flour.
Next, adults poured water into each student's bag of ingredients. The students then emptied pre-measured miniature containers of oil into the bag.
Using their hands -- and keeping the bags sealed -- the kids squished all the ingredients together. A second bag of flour and salt was then added to the doughy mixture.
After a quick lesson in carbohydrates, students plopped their dough balls onto a waxed paper place setting.
That's when the squishy, sticky fun began as they kneaded the dough.
"Ewww," said one girl.
"Cool!" insisted a boy.
"Sick," countered another girl.
But the smiles on their faces told the story -- these students were having a blast.
"We never thought we'd be making bread or anything at school while we're learning about what to eat," Hannah Ogden said. "(The dough's) like Play-Doh, and Play-Doh's the best stuff ever."
"I think it's fun because it's just getting down and doing it," Julia Churchill said. "It ties into what we're learning because we're learning about the human body. We're learning about different food groups and what's healthy."
Gill said the project fits into a total team concept that involves all school staff in the education process.
"It's just a small step in the whole concept of building school unity," Gill said. "Support staff wants to be part of what's going on in the school."
Price and Leggett, who coordinated the school's oven schedules so that each loaf could be baked and bagged for the students before the end of the day, said they look forward to doing similar projects in the future, particularly after Wednesday's success.
"These kids are so bright and so fun that it makes it really easy to do something special for them," Price said. "Learning should be fun."