Rising to the challenge: using CREST Awards in food lessons

Judgemeadow food science lesson

The CREST Awards scheme provided the ideal opportunity for me to teach Year 9 students how to conduct a food science experiment and for them to learn key skills in writing up the experiment – excellent preparation for the GCSE Non-exam Assessment.

We had just completed work on cereals, so the project title ‘Compare how well bread rises when made from different types of flour’ fitted perfectly with what we had been studying.

I first heard about CREST Awards at the ‘Teaching food science' CPD organised by STEM Learning at Northampton School for Boys last year.

I looked up CREST Awards and contacted Judith Payne, our local CREST Coordinator. Judith came into school to discuss running a Bronze Level CREST project in school, she was really supportive.

I chose to do the Bronze Level Award with my Year 9 students. The project takes ten hours and I felt this was enough time for the students to engage with the project and keep them motivated.

The students conducted experiments using different types of flour to see how changing the flour affects how much the bread rises. They predicted how much they thought each dough would rise.

A small portion of the dough for each bread was placed in to a boiling tube and put in a water bath at 35°C. The level of the dough was marked on the side of the boiling tube before it was placed in to the water bath, then when it was removed from the water bath the level of the dough was marked to measure how much it had risen.

The bread was baked so the students could conduct taste and sensory analysis of the breads made from different flours. The results were written up and analysed to find which flour rose the most and the one that rose the least. Also, the taste and texture of each bread was analysed and recoded using sensory diagrams.

Judgemeadow food science lesson

The reason I chose to do CREST Awards with my two Year 9 groups was because many of the students hadn’t chosen food technology as their first option choice, so I felt the project would be an exciting way for the pupils to learn about conducting food science experiments and would help to engage and motivate them.

I would definitely recommend CREST Awards to other food teachers, it has motivated the students to carry out their own research and learn through discovery. 

With Judith’s support it was very easy to implement. We completed the Award during our lessons and it was great to see how excited the students were to conduct their experiments.

I would definitely recommend CREST Awards to other food teachers, it has motivated the students to carry out their own research and learn through discovery. The teaching assistant commented how the classroom is buzzing as all the students carried out their experiments.

It has been very rewarding to see the students learning through discovery and becoming so excited about their food projects, whilst learning important skills. I am already looking in to using the CREST Discovery project with my Year 7 and 8 students.

I would look to doing a Bronze CREST Project next year if I am teaching Year 9s. The students are so proud of their work and it has increased their self-confidence. They have shown creative thinking and problem solving skills which will not only help them in food technology, but across the curriculum.

As a finish to this year’s CREST Award efforts, we held an awards evening on Monday 3 April 2017 and Judith kindly offered to present the certificates to the students. The students’ parents and friends joined them to celebrate their success. It was a great evening!

About the author

Rachel Morris is a Food Technology Teacher at Judgemeadow Community College, @JudgemeadowDT. The bursary-supported CPD that Rachel attended is running this summer at the National STEM Learning Centre in York.

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