Cooking Club is back with a Classic!

This past week, the YMCA Academy’s Cooking Club served up its first session of the school year. With so many changes to the classroom, schedule and our day-to-day lives, it is nice to have a familiar activity to turn to. That said, Cooking Club continues to run via video call with students preparing food from home.

For our first meeting we went with the simple, but beloved, classic – grilled cheese sandwiches. All of our chefs had their own take on grilled cheese. We had many types of bread and cheese represented, spicy versions filled with hot peppers and different dips (ketchup vs. BBQ sauce). We also learned a grilled cheese hack of using mayonnaise instead of butter – give it a try!

In-between the slicing and grilling, there was a lot of talk of summer breaks, but also how the school year has been going. With our adapted schedule, students only see their classmates in their cohort at school, so it is important to have these extra-curricular activities where students can socialize with more peers. It was a good turn out with mostly regulars, including a few alumni, but we had a new student join as well and we look forward to welcoming more in the coming weeks as the school year ramps up.

Pasta, cookies and eggs!

 

Cooking Club has been busy the last few weeks making a variety of yummy foods. We had a pasta lunch with different types of noodles and sauces, including homemade tomato sauce and alfredo sauce. We got baking and made lots of kinds of cookies from chocolate chip to peanut butter to salted caramel chocolate chip shortbread. And finally, this past Wednesday we whipped up omelettes and other egg preparations with a variety of ingredients.

Students and their families have been enjoying coming together each week to make their meal and see what others are cooking up. There has been a steady attendance of 13 – 15 students each week and everyone is always excited to see each other.

Gr. 9 Science – All About the Body

 

The Grade 9 Locally Developed Science class has been learning all about body systems in their unit “Biology: Staying Alive. Usually this unit involves a lot of hands-on activities as students discover how their organs work together to complete life sustaining processing. With our move to distance learning some activities have been adapted to engage students while they learn online.

To learn about the digestive system students started with an online interactive simulation. They had to put the organs in the correct order and then watch as the food moved through the system. To make the content more engaging, we simulated the digestive system using household items. Starting with a piece of bread that moved from a bowl, through a toilet roll, into a ziplock bag, and through a nylon, the class groaned as “poop” was made in front of their very eyes. While many thought it was disgusting, they were reminded that this process was happening inside all of them at that very moment.

Students also learned about the respiratory system with slide presentations and fun and informative videos. They each researched how the respiratory system differs among various types of animals and presented their findings to the class. Presenting online means that students don’t have to physically get up in front of the class, which can ease some students’ nerves.

To bring together the digestive and respiratory systems we went through a virtual frog dissection. Virtual dissections are very beneficial as they offer an ethical means to study anatomy, which can be tailored to suit students’ needs. The class was able to make connections between what they had learned in their lessons and the anatomy of the frog and most found it quite interesting.

Students are now working on an animal research project to present to the class and we look forward to learning about how different animals are suited to their environments.

It has been fun learning about body systems, but understanding how the human body works is actually quite important for leading a healthy life. So, keep learning and stay safe everyone!

Students Experiment with Tex-Mex

 

This week for Cooking Club students put together a variety of mouth watering Tex-Mex foods. This theme allowed students to use the ingredients they had on hand and tailor their dish to their particular tastes. There were quesadillas, tacos, burritos, nachos, taco salads and a bean dip!

With virtual Cooking Club students work at their own pace to prep and cook their food and then are asked to show their dish to the group through the video call. The club is also a chance to socialize with the friends that they have been missing for the last couple of months. This was made clear by some of the student comments this week:

“I come to cooking club because I like making food and hanging out with all you guys.”

“My favourite thing about cooking club is hanging out with friends from school.”

Next week will be another chance for students to get together and practice making pasta- a meal every student should know how to make!

Cooking in Quarantine

Over the last couple of months, the pandemic has given everyone an opportunity to take a closer look at their eating and shopping habits. It has also forced many of us to cook more and encouraged some of us to get creative with the foods we have on hand. With all this in mind, the Academy’s Cooking Club has started doing online sessions, where students can come together and make easy, versatile recipes at home.

Normally students show up to Cooking Club with the ingredients laid out in front of them, and then sign up for a job. Everyone does their task and then we put it all together to make a meal. Now, with students making food in their homes, they are responsible for all parts of the meal, including sourcing the ingredients, preparing the food, and cleaning the kitchen. This is even better practice for developing independence and preparing for living on your own.

This week for our first official session we had 16 students, along with several parents and siblings, come together to make pizzas. Students and their families were given guidelines on what they would need, but one of the great things about pizza is that it can be made in many ways with many different ingredients. Some students made homemade dough in advance, others had pre-made crusts and many used naan or pita bread as the base. Each student shared what toppings they were putting on their pizza and we got to see everyone assemble their creations through our video call. We waited patiently for our pizzas to cook and then got to enjoy them together while catching up with what everyone has been doing at home. It was a great success and we are looking forward to next week when we put together some Tex-Mex creations!