Mystery Baking!

There are very few things in the world that are as wonderful as when learning and eating come together as one! Yesterday, our students spent the morning scooping, measuring, mixing, and little bit of tasting. What they were making was a mystery! The recipe consisted of very simple ingredients including flour, butter, salt, sugar, yeast, milk, egg yolk, and cocoa powder. The students excitedly shouted out hypotheses as they observed the changing mixture. These were some of their ideas:

  • cookies
  • oatmeal cookies
  • chocolate chip cookies
  • cake
  • play dough
  • a pillow
  • ice cream
  • eggs
  • bamboo
  • baby panda cookie
  • pizza
  • cupcakes
  • pretzels

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Once all of the ingredients were added and mixed, we had a dough-like consistency. We then divided the dough into three pieces, adding a cocoa mixture to one, green food coloring to another, and leaving the last one plain. The dough was placed in bowls, covered, and left to rise. In an hour, the dough had doubled and was ready for shaping. We followed the directions; rolling and stretching the dough into a specific shapes and configurations until it was ready for the pan. The mystery loaf took one more hour to rise and then was then placed in the oven at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

After much anticipation, the mystery dough was baked and ready for the big reveal! Once out of the pan, the delicious smell wafted through the classroom. It was pretty obvious that we had made some sort of bread but we still weren’t sure what kind. The students erupted into a drum roll as we sliced into our mystery pastry and discovered we had made…PANDA BREAD! Although his faced turned out a little squished, it tasted just as yummy!

If you would like to make panda bread too, the recipe and directions can be found here!



The Bamboo Forest

If you’ve never been in our room in the morning, you might not know of the obsession our class has with pandas. Everyday, pandas are running amok in our loft.  Baby pandas are sleeping, eating and cuddling all morning long. We’ve had pandas star in our journal entries and outdoor play.  We even made a connection with Miss Smith, our Mandarin teacher, when she brought her panda, Meng Meng.

We learned to greet a panda:

And have been discussing their not-so-varied diet: Bamboo!

Our disheveled loft decorations took a turn for the worse earlier this week and needed to be recycled, so it was looking a little bare (please forgive the pun.)  After looking at the railings for a while, someone noticed that they looked a little bit like a panda’s favorite food.  The only parts that were missing were the leaves.

With the help of a few images culled from Google, leaves quickly began sprouting from our bamboo.  An eager group of scissor wielding leaf designers began a production line of greenery.

111314_6639Branches were designed using pipe cleaners.  All additions were attached using our favorite fixative: tape!  Almost the entire class volunteered for this project.  With so many different jobs to be done, spreading out the work was a cinch.  The largest obstacle we faced was time.  Before we knew it, snack time was upon us.  The children helped me make a “To Do” list to help us continue the project another day.  It contains some curious tasks, but we’ll see how it all shakes out as we go along.

To Do:

  • Panda Food
  • Make a Panda
  • Hang More Leaves
  • Make a Panda Pinata
  • Panda Water
  • Panda Vegetables
  • Panda Bed

As we cleaned up a collection of tiny, green paper slivers began to coalesce. A few students wondered if we could use them for panda food.  I immediately had visions of tiny, green snowflakes raining down all over the classroom, coating the carpet.

Umm, maybe we could find another way to use them as food.

We tried an experiment.  Take one part tiny paper slivers and one part Mod Podge, mix them up gently with your fingers and let them dry on waxed paper over night.  The next morning, you will have a lovely, stay-in-one-place panda meal. It worked perfectly.