Axton Students Enjoy Learning and Cooking
Jul 1, 2012
By TRISHA VAUGHAN - Bulletin Accent Writer
Students in Helen Smith's Quad D summer class at Axton Elementary School recently cooked their way through their assigned reading.
Smith's students read the book "A Taste of Blackberries" during the eight-day summer program. The book is a tale of two friends who pick blackberries together and what happens after one friend tragically dies.
As the students were reading the eight-chapter book, one chapter per day of class, they had projects related to blackberries.
One day they planted a thornless blackberry bush. There already was a blackberry bush at the school, said Smith, but it was wild and had thorns. She did allow the children to taste the blackberries from the wild bush, though.
Students also tried their hand at making blackberry jam and blackberry cobbler.
Smith said she tries to cook with her students as much as she can because cooking teaches children skills that they sometimes learn without realizing.
Cooking helps children with their reading skills because they have to comprehend a recipe, said Smith, as well as their math skills, which are honed during ingredient measurement. They also learn about temperature and time - and also patience, said Smith.
Smith said that during the regular school year, she makes ice cream with her classes so they can sharpen their science skills when they see "matter changing from a liquid to a solid."
She also has her students put together "edible soil" with chocolate candies, pudding, crushed chocolate cookies and green coconut, so they can understand how soil is layered from the surface down.
The students had the opportunity to taste the fresh blackberries as well as the jam and cobbler. Some didn't care for the berries either way, and others liked the fresh berries. Predictably, though, most preferred them in dessert form.
When the students were making jam, "my hands didn't touch it," said Smith, adding that the students washed and sanitized the jars, smashed the berries, made the jam and cleaned up after, all on their own. She also let them do everything associated with the cobbler except put it in the oven.
Smith teaches third grade at Axton Elementary and taught at Irisburg Elementary before it closed.
Kaitlyn Flowers, a rising fourth-grade student at Axton Elementary, said she had baked before she took the class. "It's fun," she said, adding that she was most excited about the blackberry cobbler.
Kaitlyn, daughter of Amy Brackman of Ridgeway, said she would like to work with blackberries again. She had made jam before the class, she said.
Smith served the cobbler hot with vanilla ice cream. Students took turns serving the cobbler and dipping the ice cream for their peers. Most of the students liked the cobbler, with many lining up for seconds, but a few declined to try it.