"This is a safe place where they can practice and mess up."
On any given day in Kingsley Middle School's Sustainable Science class, you may find students huddled around a griddle cooking a recipe, or with their heads down at the seat of a sewing machine.
In Sustainable Science, Ms. Tiffany Smith and her students explore basic life skills like cooking, sewing, and planting and harvesting food using a hydroponic system. Lessons have included sewing by hand and with a machine, cross-stitching, and basic cooking skills like chopping, seasoning, sauteing, baking, air-frying, and more.
Teacher Tiffany Smith says that whether they're making pancakes or sewing an apron, it's never about the end result.
"Sometimes recipes don't work out and we burn food or we put too much baking soda in our recipe. That's a part of the process and let's be honest, we have all done that!" she said. "It is fun as a teacher watching them both succeed and fail, and when they fail, I love seeing them overcome those challenges."
Her students experience a lot of "firsts" in her class. Many have never touched a sewing machine or grown their food.
"I love it when my students feel success with things they didn't think they could do, like when they use the sewing machine for the first time or sew a pillow up and look at their completed project," said Ms. Smith.
"I love watching them enjoy a meal they made and telling me that they have never tried anything like it before. I feel like I have accomplished the goal of the class!"
This year, students have made a variety of recipes, including spaghetti, tacos, stir fry, kale chips, baked pumpkin seeds, Christmas cookies, breakfast wraps, pancakes, baked vegetables, cinnamon rolls, chili and more!
"The students say they love the freedom of learning things in school that they typically wouldn't," said Ms. Smith. "Many of them responded by saying that they love being able to taste what they grow and what they cook. I think they just basically love doing something different."
Check out some of their creations! Pictured: cross-stitched art, cookies, and pancakes.
Questions about Sustainable Science? Email Ms. Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org