Bull Run MS is “cooking up” engaging lessons that teach 21st century skills
Posted on 04/29/2019
Printed recipes and student holding meat dish in container.Teachers across the School Division are using Project Based Learning (PBL) to energize the classroom and infuse curriculum with real-world relevance. That’s the case at Bull Run Middle School where sixth-grade teacher Melissa Layton’s digital cookbook project combines all the right “ingredients.” This lesson in non-fiction writing featured research, collaboration, technology, family involvement and FOOD.

"I was looking for ideas that could be done to engage the families of my students, as well as tie in the cultural differences in my co-taught ELL Language Arts class,” said Layton. “I found the idea for a cultural recipe book, and Geri McClymont, my co-teacher, and I began to look for ways to incorporate this project into our curriculum."

Students were tasked with contributing one family-favorite recipe and finding out the recipe’s significance by interviewing a family member. They worked collaboratively in their Office 365 accounts across multiple technology devices to build the digital class cookbook. The final product included their step-by-step recipes, photos and paragraphs about their recipes' importance and family histories.

The project culminated with a Feast Day where students shared their dishes and shared their family histories and heritages. Breads, pasta, Chocolate Gobs and Argentinian Tea were among the sampled foods.

“I thought it was a great opportunity to try new things, and to encourage us to try new things,” shared sixth-grader Katherine Ruiz-Morales. "My mom liked how we got to learn about different food cultures. I learned that there are a lot of different cultures in our class.”

Jonathan Corneliussen, also in Mrs. Layton’s sixth-grade class, found the digital cookbook project a big hit with students and parents. “My parents loved the project and they said they were going to cook some of the items that are in the cookbook,” commented Corneliussen. “The Feast Day was an amazing day, and we all got to interact and eat some really amazing food."

Mrs. Layton’s Project Based Learning blends meaningful classwork with personal connection and 21st century skills — and that's Positively PWCS!