A cooking lesson by Max Millard
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Taught at Spring Valley Elementary School, San Francisco, 10-16-06

Grade Level: kindergarten

Professional Teaching Goal: Through this lesson I would like to learn, accomplish, explore, experiment:

Science goals: observe and measure food ingredients; determine shape, size, and weight; describe materials by means of the senses; learn how substances can change their properties when they are combined with other substances and exposed to heat.

Math goals: study the relationship between numbers and quantities; understand simple addition.

Language arts goals: learn vocabulary related to food and cooking.

What difficulties do you anticipate students could have with the lesson content and how will you attempt to address these difficulties?

Some students might want to do more physical tasks than time allows.

Some students might find the tasks too difficult.

Students might be too impatient to do the science and vocabulary portion, and only want to do the hands-on part.

Ia. Learning Objectives and Outcomes:

learn ingredients learn cooking tools learn how to measure

Ib. Language Objectives:

learn what a recipe is learn food vocabulary learn to describe cooking steps

II. Standard(s) to be Addressed:


1.17. Identify and sort common words in basic categories (e.g., colors, shapes, foods)

1.18. Describe common objects and events in both general and specific language.

3.2. Identify types of everyday print materials.

Listening and Speaking:

1.1. Understand and follow one-step oral directions.

Math (Number Sense):

2.0 Students understand and describe simple additions and subtractions. Science (Physical Sciences): 1. Properties of materials can be observed, measured and predicted.

1a. Students know objects can be described in terms of the materials they are made of ... and their physical properties ...

Investigation and Experimentation:

4a. Observe common objects by using the five senses.

4b. Describe the properties of common objects.

III. Background/Rationale (including necessary prior skills)

The children have eaten cookies before and have probably observed people making cookies.

The children made bread during a class in late so they are already accustomed to participating in cooking lesson.

The children are aware that Halloween is coming up, and will be familiar with the cookie shapes. Halloween is a very important holiday at Spring Valley. All the classrooms make their own costumes, and there is a Halloween parade around the block, to which all the parents are invited.

IV. Process

a. (Into) I will talk about Halloween and some of the fun things associated with the holiday.

b. (Through) I will let them measure, pour and mix the ingredients, then let them use cookie cutters to shape the batter into cookies.

c. (Beyond) By learning how to follow a written recipe and to use basic cooking tools, they will be better prepared for more cooking lessons.

VI. Materials:

white flour, butter, sugar, Splenda, eggs, baking powder, vanilla extract, mixing bowl, measuring cup, measuring spoons, wooden spoon, whisk, plastic knives, rubber scraper, spatula, cookie cutters, paper plates, baking sheets, cooking spray, timer


ingredients: 2 sticks sweet butter
2/3 cup sugar or Splenda
1 egg
teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
teaspoon salt
2 cups white flour
a little orange juice

cooking tools: large cooking pot
large mixing bowl, small bowl
measuring cup, measuring spoons
wooden spoon, whisk, plastic knives
rubber scraper, spatula
cookie cutters or plastic cups
paper plates, large baking sheets
3 quart-size baggies
cooking spray or margarin
e timer, scissors
little cardboard tray for each child

Soften the butter long ahead of time. Or warm the oven, unwrap the butter, put it in a large cooking pot and put in the oven. When it has softened, remove it from the oven, add the sugar and stir with a wooden spoon.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray the baking sheets with cooking spray or spread with margarine.

Break the egg into the small mixing bowl. Add the vanilla. Stir with a wooden spoon, then add it to the butter and sugar. Mix together with a wooden spoon in the large cooking pot.

Put the flour in a large mixing bowl. Add the baking powder. Mix together with a whisk.

Add the flour mix to the butter-sugar-egg mix a little at a time. Stir with a wooden spoon. If it is too dry, add a little orange juice. This is the dough.

Divide the dough into three equal pieces and put each piece in a quart-size baggie. Press it out flat, then put the dough in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.

When the dough is ready, remove each piece from the baggie and put it on a paper plate. Then tear off a big enough piece to make a cookie.

Put each cookie-size piece on a greased baking sheet. Put a cookie cutter directly on top of the dough and press down. Using a plastic knife, remove the extra dough and return it to the plate.

Leave a little space between the cookies.

Cook for 10 minutes, then check for doneness. The cookies should be lightly colored on top and slightly darker at the edges. If the dough is thick, they might need 12 to 15 minutes. To cook them evenly, move the baking sheets halfway through the baking. When done, transfer the cookies to paper plates to cool.