Friday, July 25, 2014

Hands-On/Bodies-On Science

A couple of decades ago, I attended a conference workshop called Hands-On/Bodies-On Science which encouraged us as teachers to get kids making, moving, and modeling concepts with our hands and even our entire bodies. I made it my goal.
This morning I was reminded of this when reading "The Maker Movement" by Sylvia Libow Martinez and Gary S. Stager (Learning & Leading, May 2014). The following inspired me to renew this effort with my students. "Some of the time-honored practices that were common in classrooms a generation ago--art, music, drama, woodshop, sewing, cooking, playing with and using real tools and craft materials--need to return to the daily experience of children trapped in schools with no time for anything but test prep."
Brainstorming each unit with other 6th grade science teachers would certainly help!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

A-B-C's of Puttin' Up Corn!

Just a quick note: Mrs. Mixson is married to a farmer and does a LOT of gardening in the summer! Here is what she does with the sweet corn:
When you've got a pick-up full of corn, how are you gonna get it to the freezer to last you throughout the year? Great question! Here you go!
The quick and dirty answer: 
blanch 4 min., ice 4 min., cut off cob, freeze. 
Now the long version:
Gotta wear long pants and long sleeves while picking--those leaves will make you ITCH. The veggies and fruits are sweeter if harvested in the morning.



When shucking, you need to get all the silks off. Jim just likes to get the husks off and doesn't pay much attention to the silks. Ben has learned how to do it correctly!

Rinse and scrub silks off with a scrub-brush:
Drop 3 ears into a big pot of boiling water for 3-4 minutes:
This process is called blanching. It kills some of the enzymes that cause the corn to start to lose its sweetness in the freezer. So this will make your veggies sweeter and tastier longer. They will look prettier and have a better texture than if you just put the veggies into the freezer raw.
Make sure you have a LOT of ice because you have to bring the temperature back down immediately after boiling.
 
Plunge the hot corn into an ice bath for 3-4 minutes.
At this point, you can freeze the ears of corn (dry them off first) or cut them off the cob to put into smaller containers. The pic below shows a mandolin--which cuts the corn off nicely:
 You'll get lots of yummy corn!
 Pull out your old butter tubs and fill with corn:
 I have tried several different ways of blanching the corn, including cutting it off before blanching and using different knives, blades, and gadgets. But this is my favorite way to blanch. The OXO brand mandolin was about $60 at Bed Bath and Beyond (but you can always use their 20% off coupons!).
My favorite resource book for all my gardening is The Big Book of Preserving the Harvest by Carol W. Costenbader.