Monday, September 26, 2011

Edible Alabama Maps Lesson

I did not come up with this awesome lesson plan. I borrowed parts of it from this ALEX lesson plan and made it my own. My students LOVED this lesson! I do not do the lesson exactly like the ALEX lesson plan. I do a much simpler version.

My Version
I bought the cookie cutter from the site listed on that lesson plan, Kitchen Collectables. If you do not teach Alabama history, I believe that they have all of the other states too! The Alabama cookie cutter is a little bigger than an index card.

To make the cookies, I buy Pillsbury sugar cookie dough, and I knead a good amount of White Lily self-rising flour into it to make a really stiff dough. If the dough is stiff enough for you to move the Alabama-shaped dough from your counter to your cookie sheet, you should be golden. If you omit the flour, the cookies spread out to a non-Alabama looking shape! It took three rolls of sugar cookie dough for my class last year, and I made a few extras (which I suggest because accidents do happen!).

On the Alex Lesson Plan referenced above, there is a link to an Alabama Resources Map pdf, and in that lesson plan it suggests assigning food items for each of the symbols on the map. Last year, I used the following (pictured from top-left to right):
Mini Marshmallows for Cotton
Candy Corns for Corn
Peanuts for Peanuts (check for allergies!)
Yellow Jelly Beans for Chickens
Peach-Colored Skittles for Peaches
Pink Jelly Beans for Pigs
Goldfish Crackers for Fish (and Shrimp)
Emerald Glazed Pecans for Pecans (check for allergies!)
Red Candy-Coated Sunflower Seeds for Strawberries
Chocolate Sprinkles for Timber
Mini-Chocolate Chips for Coal
[not pictured] I would use cut up gummy candies or mini gummies for shrimp next time... 

Where I found all of those ingredients!:
  • I found mini marshmallows, peanuts, candy corn, goldfish crackers, Emerald glazed pecans, chocolate sprinkles, and mini-chocolate chips at Walmart and/or Publix. I know that candy corn can be difficult to find at times, but Publix seems to have it year round. I got the glazed pecans from Emerald because so many kids seem to have an aversion to them (which I do not understand!), but all of my students tried the glazed ones. I recommend getting the smallest size of each of these items; in fact, I got most of these at the snack stand by the check out counter - you know...the itty bitty boxes of goldfish and peanuts, etc.
  • I also found the Skittles at the candy counter by the cash register. There is a pack of Skittles that has a peach colored one in it, I think it is the Crazy Cores kind. I think I had to get two packs of those, and I picked out all of the peach ones. I gave the rest to someone I owed a favor...
  • I found the Yellow Jelly Beans, Pink Jelly Beans, and Red Candy-Coated Sunflower Seeds at Party City. They sell packages of just yellow jelly beans and just pink jelly beans in the baby shower section. The red candy-coated sunflower seeds were in a small tube of multi-colored candy-coated sunflower seeds in the candy section. I just picked out the red ones. I only had to buy one tube. 
What we did in class:
After studying maps for a couple of weeks, this was our culminating activity!
  1. Before class: I sorted all of the food items into sectioned plates for each group (sectioned for allergy purposes), and hid them and everything else!
  2. I gave every student a paper plate, a plastic knife, and a copy of the Alabama Resources Map pdf. All other materials were cleverly hidden :).
  3. I explained that they were going to get to recreate the map on their copy of the Alabama Resources Map pdf on a cookie version of Alabama.
  4. I showed the students a map key I made on the SmartBoard (Edible Map Key) of what each symbol on the paper map would represent on their cookie (such as mini marshmallows for cotton).
  5. I explained that I would also be giving them green frosting (vanilla frosting colored green with food coloring - it took about four cans of vanilla frosting for my class last year) to frost their map for "glue" for their map symbols.
  6. We all discussed and decided on important rules for this project (like not licking the knives, not contaminating the frosting shared by their group members, etc.). 
  7. I let them know that this project would be for a grade. When finished, they should raise their hand and wait for me to grade their cookie. I would be grading based on whether the correct food items were in the correct places of Alabama.  
  8. Only after going over all of that information, did I give them frosting and the food items. My students were seated in groups of 4 or 5, and I just put the frosting and food items in the middle for them to share.  
  9. While the students worked, I took pictures :). As students finished, I graded their work. After I had written the grade for a student in the gradebook, I let him/her eat the his/her cookie!
Materials List:
  • Alabama Cookie Cutter
  • Edible Map Key
  • One Alabama Resources Map pdf per student
  • One paper plate per child
  • One plastic knife per child
  • Bowls (to put frosting in for the groups if  you would like)
  • Sectioned Plates for food items (I used those cute zoo plates)
  • One Alabama Cookie per student
    • 3-4 rolls of Pillsbury Sugar Cookie Dough
    • White Lily Self-Rising Flour
  • Green Frosting
    • appx. 4 cans Vanilla Frosting
    • Green Food Coloring
  • Mini Marshmallows
  • Candy Corns
  • Peanuts
  • Yellow Jelly Beans
  • Peach-Colored Skittles
  • Pink Jelly Beans
  • Goldfish Crackers
  • Emerald Glazed Pecans for Pecans
  • Red Candy-Coated Sunflower Seeds
  • Chocolate Sprinkles
  • Mini-Chocolate Chips
  • Mini Gummies


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