On Monday April 11 we had the opportunity to go to St. Josephs Catholic Elementary school where we were able to join in on the Grade 7 and Grade 5 classes. We began the day in the Grade 7 room where we introduced ourselves. All four of the Garden 2 Table members were able to attend; Bonnie, Erika, Abby and Callie. The grade 7 room was full of plants and flowers. The teacher is in love with gardening and we loved the atmosphere of the room.
After introductions the class was split up into 3 groups and Abby and Bonnie brought the first group down into the school's kitchen for the first part of pizza prep to occur. They started with safe knife and hand washing skills before the kids began their activity. Each student either cut tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, or green peppers. There was also a station for grating cheese, and spreading tomato sauce onto the pizza dough. Fresh arugula was also supplied which came in a planter with soil and so the kids were able to pick the arugula straight off of the plant.
The kids really liked this feature and the plant was given to the teacher to be kept in the classroom with all her other plants. Most of the ingredients were organic from Goodness Me in Guelph. We also had locally grown mushrooms and Ontario produced sauce.
While the first group was in the kitchen having loads of fun with Bonnie and Abby. Erika and I were talking to the Grade 7's about all the different ingredients in a pizza. We asked them what their favourite toppings were, how many food groups can be found in one pizza and how we can make pizza a healthier option. We then worked through all the different ingredients to talk about their processing and where they come from. We started with the dough and did the yeast experiment and told the kids how yeast works. They were very intrigued and seemed to love that we did the experiment to show them yeast working right in front of them and how it works in our bread.
We then showed a video on how cheese is made and the process of a tomato plant growing. These videos were appreciated by the class and we had lots of good questions and comments throughout. While all of the ingredients were being described, the groups would go and start their prep after the previous group was finished in the kitchen.
We also had an activity where we gave each student pictures of different fruits and vegetable and they had to decide whether the food could be grown locally or if it needed to be purchased from other places around the world. The Grade 7's worked very well as a team to figure out these ingredients and learned how important eating locally is. After each group had a chance to go prep their pizza, the pizza was brought back up and served so that it could be eaten together with everyone. While the class ate the pizza we played jeopardy that contained questions dealing with food safety, nutrition, gardening, and local and organic food. The kids all said they loved the pizza!
This exact process was done in the Grade 5 class and both classes got to enjoy pizza with whatever ingredients they chose and had an interactive learning experience about food, how and where it grows and nutrition information. Thanks so much St. Joseph's!!!