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Measuring Success

This fall, sixth grade students at Three Oaks Public Academy in Muskegon completed a project that connected math, teamwork and best of all, tasting delicious KFB recipes.  

Their teacher, Carina Freeman, was searching for a way to make math lessons stick, going beyond just passing a test. She had the perfect idea: recipes. With that thought, her “Ratios in the Real World” project was born. Students would work in groups to select, shop for and adapt recipes to serve a large group, all while being mindful of a budget and target number of servings prepared.  

This year, Ms. Freeman teamed up with KFB Learn to select KFB kid-friendly recipes and work with students on food preparation skills. KFB Learn staff first worked with the class to demonstrate modifying and following a recipe in preparation to make their own. 

“This was my favorite year yet,” said Freeman, “KFB staff came in and were able to continue the math lessons I was teaching, but in a new way. They were able to teach a whole lesson and hearing it from someone new really reinforced what I was doing in my classroom.”  

On the day of the student cooking demonstration, the students divided into groups and got to work. The air smelled like a mix of sweet watermelon, tart apples and crisp greens. Students chopped, mixed, blended and layered healthy recipes like chicken salad, energy bites and watermelon pizza.  

Many students declared it “the best day ever,” as they made recipes with an air of anticipation. “I picked my recipe because I like blueberries,” said sixth grader Ja’Niyah of preparing a blueberry salad. “I don’t really cook with this type of stuff, so I wanted to try it. I’m excited to try it.”  

When it was time to try the food, there were lots of big smiles and thumbs up! Students happily shared that the dishes were both delicious and healthy, with some declaring that they were taking the recipes home to recreate with their families. Parents, teachers and students alike enjoyed tasting each recipe, declaring each to be a raving success! “It was really fun,” summarized sixth grader Yamilea, “I liked basically everything. It was just fun doing it.” 

In addition to reinforcing the real-world utility of her math curriculum, Ms. Freeman noted that the lesson taught the importance of perseverance and process. “There was a lightbulb moment, and it was the power of ‘yet.’ When the kids were selecting and making their recipes, there were moments where it didn’t make sense yet. They didn’t get it yet, but they did when it all came together.” Freeman shared that this powerful moment is something that she still refers to during lessons.  

These real-world skills go beyond math and the kitchen, empowering the next generation of leaders with the importance of how teamwork and good food can come together to create something special. “The way I see it, these are not just students in my class. They are the future,” shared Freeman, “I think I have the next mayor of Muskegon, the next top doctor and the next school board member here. We really want to teach kids who will grow up and solve problems, and KFB just takes the this up another level. The more these students understand, the better.” 

Kids’ Food Basket sincerely thanks inspiring educators like Ms. Freeman and her fantastic sixth grade class of future leaders. We can do more, together.   

Bring KFB Learn to your family with recipes, book lists and kid-friendly nutrition and agriculture lessons through the Ground Up Learning Lab.  

We look forward to creating fun, innovative ways connect kids to food, nutrition and their own power.