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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Kid Chef Social Event

It's that time of year....

This social event is a fun opportunity to add fun into a task that requires creativity and problem solving. The students will be given a surprise bag of food ingredients to build a "meal" and present it to a panel of judges. All groups win an award. 

I developed this activity for my grades 3-5 gifted and talented students. One important component of our GT program is allowing students the opportunity to socialize and work with like-minded peers and this activity does just that. I hype up this event starting a month before. I run the event in February because I find it is a fun mid-winter activity. The students will amaze you with their creations. Last year one group made the Eiffel tower out of twizzlers and graham crackers and another student groups' fort collapsed at the end and they gave a dynamic presentation about how a dragon has destroyed their village. 

This Product Includes
*1 page teacher guide
*1 page letter to parents
*6 group signs
*1 page group direction page
*2 page judge worksheet
*6 group awards

The Preparation: I send home the above letter to the parents. In the past, I have grocery shopped for this myself but found that it helps the cost to ask for donations. The ingredients are a secret for the students except for a “mystery ingredient reveal” that I share the week of the event. The mystery ingredient I share is usually something like icing or fluff that the students will use to “glue” their construction (“meal”) together.

Above: Dig in! The kids start the competition.

The Competition:When the students enter the room, I label the classroom and separate the ingredients into grocery bags for the students groups. Labels for the tables and bags (not pictured) add to the excitement for the event.  The students then have one hour to construct their masterpiece and five minutes to prepare a brief presentation for the judges.

Above are pictures of a group who creatively designed a butterfly on a skateboard.  This picture is mid-project but the project was very colorful (thanks to food coloring!) when it was finished. They won the "Most Creative" category. 

Above are pictures of a group whose castle collapsed in the last five minutes before presenting. They quickly problem-solved and gave a compelling speech about how a feared dragon has attacked their castle.  They won "Best Presentation".

Above are pictures of a group who won "Best Overall" by intricately building famous world structures with their food supplies.  They also could have won "Best Engineering" because they really problem solved the materials by stuffing the insides of the twizzlers with toothpicks to make them sturdier.

The Judging: 
I usually invite the parents for this section of the event, inviting parents and “guest judges” (principals, other teachers, etc.) to view the presentations and interact with the students. The judges then deliberate and award prizes to the students.  The judges are given a two page judging sheet that adds to making the event seem more "official" for the students.

Above is a blurry picture of three judges (2 parents and 1 administrator) who volunteered to judge the competition.  This portion was very interactive and the judges had a lot of fun analyzing the "meals" like they were Iron Chef judges.  We also had a crowd of parents there to watch.

Overall the kids have an awesome time with this project.  I love to use this event in January/February because it feels like the mid-winter slump after Christmas is over and Spring Break isn't for a few months.  

I would love to find more social event activities.
Any ideas out there? What do your schools do? 

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