I’ve just finished writing a very complex assignment for my uni studies and I wanted to share a bit about it with you. For this assignment, we were asked to construct a context-based unit/program for a year group of our choosing, including detailed unpacking of the science, justification of our choice and a detailed lesson plan for one practical activity.
The context that I chose was one that is reasonably dear to my heart: MasterChef. For any non-Australian readers out there who don’t realise the phenomenon that MasterChef is here in Australia, it is a juggernaut, a behemoth of reality-TV glory that pretty much takes over the TV when it is on. It is exciting, engaging and rather addictive, even if watching it while you’re eating leftovers makes you feel thoroughly inadequate! So what better way to teach science to Year 7 than by unveiling the “MasterChef Mysteries”?
We’d be looking at mastering the use of heat energy in cooking by conduction, convection and radiation. We’d be understanding how food is at its heart a complex mixture that needs separating, from sifting flour to emulsifying egg yolk, vinegar and oil in mayonnaise. We’d be delving into the chemistry of food, examining the chemical reactions that encompass everything from burning toast to making toffee or honeycomb. And the feather in its cap: the Mystery Box challenge! Students would have a big ol’ mixture of salt, ground pepper, cracked black pepper, herbs and iron filings – not because you’re likely to spill them into your spice jar anytime soon, but because we need to understand a bit about magnetism too. They’d have to separate it however they choose using the techniques that we’ve learned, picking equipment from the ‘pantry’ as they go.
Sounds pretty exciting huh? Now I just wish I was actually teaching it in real life… some day I will!