Thursday, February 25, 2010

History of Bread: Field Trip to the Flour Mill

Yesterday our class took a field trip to a local flour mill. Farmer Ground Flour grinds local organic grain into flours that are sold regionally. It is really exciting to learn about where our food comes from. The children were excited and inspired.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Fingerprints --are you a whorl, arch, or loop?

We've been studying the human body all month. After learning about our skin, we decided to make fingerprints. Here's the activity:

Pencil, paper, clear tape and your fingers (or toes!).

Rub a dark spot of pencil graphite onto a piece of paper. We used scraps of card stock for additional durability.

Rub your finger over the graphite.

Place clear tape onto your finger (sticky side touching graphite).

Place tape onto white paper to see fingerprint.

Now it's time to study and classify your print. Now this is real police work!
Analyzing fingerprints may be a little bit challenging for our younger friends.
Here's a great pattern observation introduction game for toddlers and younger preschool children.

Copy Me Game
A simple game fun for all ages. One player creates a pattern the other copies it. wonderful for building visual-perceptual and fine motor skills for reading and writing.

History of Bread: Lesson 1- Grinding the Wheat

And the Little Red Hen asked, "Who will help me grind the wheat?"

Wow, no wonder why it was so hard for Red Hen to find help, this is hard work!

Here are some locally grown, organic wheat berries bought in the bulk food section of our grocery store. Try smelling them, feeling them, tasting them, chewing them....I wonder who thought of grinding them? Who discovered flour? All great questions to ponder with your children.
The set up is simple: a spice grinder, a spoon, one container with wheat berries, and one container for the ground flour.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The History Of Bread: Lesson 2 Wheat Crackers

Our class has been studying the history of bread. After grinding wheat berries to make our own flour, we began experimenting with a basic wheat cracker recipe. After mastering the basic recipe we allowed the children to experiment by substituting different ingredients. We kept a careful recipe log and notes on each substitution. The children were incredibly insightful and creative. We tested about ten different variations.

The activity was set up as an individual choice for one child at a time. The crackers were baked in a toaster oven(supervised by a teacher).

Basic Wheat Crackers

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup of cracked wheat
1/8 tsp salt
2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp of water

Mix dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients. Knead dough until smooth and consistent in texture. Additional flour or liquid can be added to obtain the right consistency. Roll dough to approximately 1/8 inch thickness. Cut cracker shapes with small cookie cutters. Bake on a cookie sheet for approximately 5 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until crackers are lightly browned and crisp. Cool and enjoy.

Recipe makes 25-30 one inch crackers.

Namaste's Favorite Wheat Crackers

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup of cracked wheat
1/8 tsp salt
2 tbsp of butter
2 tbsp of maple syrup
1 tbsp of fresh squeezed orange juice
2 tbsp of orange zest