Dec. 11, 2020 -- Virtual teaching continues to present unique challenges for our teachers. While these challenges appear to be high mountains to climb, they also offer opportunities to create, adapt, and transform traditional teaching practices.
Janett Korb, Heights High biology teacher, has searched for countless ways to keep students engaged in hands-on experiences that would be feasible, accessible, and affordable for all families during virtual learning. She has been determined to continue her classroom methods on experiential learning, one of which includes lab activities. From this, the “Great Biology Bake Off” was born.
Being the Great British Bake Off enthusiast that Ms. Korb is, she was inspired to prepare a special sourdough recipe she received from a bakery in Joshua Tree, California. This sparked the idea of bringing the students in on the action. The students were allowed to choose their own recipes to begin baking white bread, rolls, bagels, french bread, and challah to name a few.
Upon completion, students submitted pictures of what appeared to be fresh bakery bread! These images also included family members who participated in taste-testing these scrumptious loaves! Also, they recorded themselves explaining the science behind baking using academically rigorous terms such as fermentation, aerobic and anaerobic respiration, yeast, carbon dioxide, all while proving and proofing their methods. This activity not only involved the hands-on experience Ms. Korb so eagerly sought out, but also incorporated concepts of biology and skills essential for life, such as organization, patience, attention to detail, perseverance, and dedication.
Biology students Neal Joshi and Laurel Buescher shared a great appreciation for the process of bread baking. Joshi expressed how this activity enhanced his understanding of the biological fermentation process. Buescher demonstrated much gratitude by delivering Ms. Korb a slice of her delicious homemade cinnamon loaf. Ms. Korb says that these students, amongst others, warm her heart and have positively impacted her during these uniquely peculiar times. She was happy to transform their kitchen spaces into mini-labs and share her love of baking with her Heights High students.