For the past 13 years, I have taught high school science in the Chicago Public Schools. My school focuses on providing a globally-minded, college-prep education using the International Baccalaureate (IB) model. We serve approximately 600 students from across the city of Chicago, the majority of whom are minority and low income.
My small high school provides an intimate setting that is nimble enough to support students in whatever endeavors they need or desire.
We recently revamped our school schedule, adding an “enrichment” period at the end of the school day during which students can participate in sports, clubs, tutoring, and other special interests. This time allows students in need of extra help to receive academic support, while others are free to explore areas of interest beyond the confines of the traditional classroom.
Based on student input, I am offering a weekly cooking class to 11th and 12th grade students. I will provide basic instruction on simple cooking and baking techniques for beginners. Throughout the lessons, I aim to teach students about relevant food science principles, so that they make academic connections to their culinary work.
Based on the facilities available in my school, I am in need of some starter equipment to outfit my class of approximately 25 students.
We have no existing culinary programs, and no new funding from the school is available for my class. The versatile and durable nature of cast iron would be ideal for my students; allowing me to teach a variety of different preparations - pan frying, braising, baking, etc.
This will be no ordinary cooking class. As a Biology & Chemistry teacher, I will facilitate hands-on learning of the science and health implications of food. Imagine students learning about the molecular changes in gluten...while kneading fresh dough. Or the effect of salt on moisture content...while sauteing fresh vegetables. Or the oxidation of sugar...while caramelizing apples. Food is versatile as a learning tool, allowing for applications to culture, language, technology, science, and more, while being universally motivating to students of all abilities and backgrounds.
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