May 21, 2012

In many ways, a recipe is a lot like a scientific query--if you follow step A, will be result? That's the idea behind FoodCorps volunteer Daniel Marbury's lesson planning, only instead of books, he uses fresh salsa.

Together, Marbury and his students taste and analyze each ingredient in fresh salsa--jalapenos add heat, onions add crunch, and tomatoes, acidity. What would happen if more jalapenos were added to the salsa, Marbury asks. One student suggests the salsa might be too spicy to eat. In short, they're learning the scientific method--observing, hypothesizing, and experimenting.

Using their observations, students measure and mix their own recipes in the school cafeteria. "The next day, we conduct a taste test. Students can vote for their favorite," he says. The winning recipe is served later that week with chicken fajitas.

"I try to reinforce what students are already learning about science while introducing them to new foods," Marbury says.

Daniel Marbury is a FoodCorps service member serving with the Michigan Land Use Institute in Traverse City, Michigan.

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