Dr. Weeks Students Learn About Cultures & Cooking through ‘Books and Cooks’ Program

     Published on 6/26/18   Tagged under:    District News    Dr Weeks Elementary School   

This is a photo of four students and a teacher sitting around a table looking at cups of tea.“Look at the water… it’s changing color!” a Dr. Weeks student exclaimed as he made tea for the first time.
Fifth graders in Mr. Hanley’s class selected their choice of orange, raspberry or chamomile tea as part of a lesson about England – through ‘Books and Cooks.’
In partnership with the Syracuse University Mary Ann Shaw Center for Public & Community Service, Books and Cooks brings SU nutrition students to elementary school classrooms, where they teach students about nutrition while exposing them to new foods and new cultures.
“It’s fun, because we get to learn about new things, like what kinds of foods and drinks are good for you or bad for you,” fifth grader Hager Alamarie explained. “And it’s really cool to learn from the college kids!”
Each week features a geography lesson, where students discover where a nation is located; as well as background on the nation’s cultural preferences and a sampling of traditional food or drink from that particular area. Together, students learn how a student’s day in another country compares to their own.
As students learned about England, they walked through a British student’s typical day. They talked about differences in transportation (the tube instead of the bus), the daily schedule (afternoon tea is not common in Syracuse!), language (mum versus mom) and more – as well as about the things they share in common. With the lesson complete, students work together to make a food reminiscent of the nation they just studied.
When learning about Puerto Rico, for instance, students made salsa. When studying India, they made Mango Lassi.
“Ultimately, we’re trying to expose the students to new cultures that they may have an interest in, and new foods that they may not have tried before,” Syracuse University sophomore Elizabeth Gardner explained. “It’s fun to see how they adapt to it! We try to teach the nutrition and cooking aspects in a way that makes it easy enough for the students to try these things again at home. It’s so nice for us to get out of the collegiate setting and get to practice teaching nutrition on a basic level.”
Thank you to the Shaw Center for supporting ‘Books and Cooks’ in our schools to help our students develop healthy habits and an appreciation for other cultures!