Food and cooking naturally bring people together. It’s fun to share and compare your favorite food and dishes with others. So how do you take popular topics like cooking, baking, and making, and turn them into kitchen lesson plans? Take a look at these ideas for ways to turn the kitchen into a learning place. Whether you try these ideas in the classroom or have kids experiment at home, it’s a great opportunity to weave great life skills into your curriculum.
1. Help students understand where their food comes from.
It’s so important for us to all know where our food comes from, and there are so many great kitchen lesson plans on this topic. You can start small with little kids, growing bean plants in the classroom. Or you can get more involved with older kids by studying agriculture and doing reports on where the majority of farming happens in the United States and world. Here’s a kit for middle school students that covers AFNR/STEAM standards and touches on topics like growing solutions and food-related careers. It comes with six STEAM-based lesson plans, so you have everything ready to go. By helping your students understand this basic lesson of where their food comes from, you’re helping set them up to better understand their environment and world around them. (You can learn more about Nasco Education learning kits here.)
2. Talk about healthy foods and why they matter.
The food that fuels our bodies is so incredibly important, for both kids and adults. You can introduce this topic to your students in many ways. For instance, you could encourage them to invent a healthy meal or dish and then share their idea with others. You could turn it into a science lesson to talk about the different vitamins in food and how they help us. You could also use this Healthy Helpings game, for younger kids, which includes 50 food cards and a spinner so kids can practice creating healthy meals.
3. Learn about the power of solar energy.
The sun is an amazing natural resource that we all benefit from every single day. Help your students understand how the sun can also be a powerful way to cook food by talking about solar energy. You can use this free lesson plan to learn how it works.
There’s also a kit you can to make your own …
Or, you can buy one here …
It’s pretty amazing to see how sunlight can help make your food. Can you imagine how impressed your students will be if you make S’mores (or something else amazing) with your solar oven?
4. Combine language, vocabulary, and reading skills with cooking.
There are lots of lessons kids can have through a cookbook. Kids are reading, learning vocabulary, and developing their comprehension skills. As a lesson, encourage your students to find a recipe online or in a cookbook to read—even better, have them make it, and take a picture! If you’re looking for other lesson suggestions, check out this great book, Cooking to Learn, written by a speech-language pathologist. It comes with reproducible worksheets and activities.
5. Discover international foods and cuisines.
It’s fun to learn about other cultures through food. Have your students research different countries and the foods they are known for. You might even have them talk to family members, neighbors, or friends, who are from other cultures who can share different foods. Another way to study international foods is through art because food can be really beautiful! Here’s a free art lesson plan that introduces students to bento boxes and how to construct their own.
6. Turn pizza into a hands-on lesson.
Pizza is such a universal food, and you can use it to teach multiple lessons in your classroom. Here’s a free lesson plan to learn about pizza around the world. There are a lot of different ways to prepare pizza, so you can use this to learn about different cultures and all different types of pizzas. Encourage your students to research pizza from a specific country, and then share their findings with others in the class. Another way to encourage a lesson with pizza is to turn it into a math lesson. It’s a great lesson in learning about fractions or talking about where food comes from.
Kitchen lesson plans are great ways to keep students engaged in a new way. There are so many life lessons you can learn in the kitchen, which translate perfectly to the classroom.