The Volunteer Centre East Ayrshire issued a series of challenges in September 2009 to a group of pupils at James Hamilton Academy as part of the ‘health and society’ module of their Higher Certificate in Personal Development. One challenge was to work with older adults to research nutrition and healthy eating across the generations. The pupils undertook the research, including devising a questionnaire about eating habits, which was completed by samples of primary and secondary children and older adults. They also visited local supermarkets to check on what products contained in terms of salt, fat, E-numbers and so on.
They met to discuss their findings with the older participants and also arranged to find out about recipes. As the students involved in the project had no previous cooking experience, they reckoned this might be useful. They decided to have a ‘cook-off’ among the adults, the students from James Hamilton and children from New Farm Loch Primary. They had one hour to cook sweet potato and lentil soup and carrot muffins. Pupils are now queuing up to take part in a similar project next year!
Inspiration: The students had been inspired at the Generations Working Together conference by the presentation given on the ‘Intergenerational Kitchen’ in East Lothian.
Choice: They had chosen this challenge, rather than it being imposed on them, giving them a sense of ownership and generating enthusiasm.
Challenge, Risk and Experiential Learning: The teacher involved challenging the pupils as well as supporting them, was not afraid to take risks and was committed to providing opportunities to learn outside the traditional classroom environment.
The pupils have gained through the project by building research skills and their confidence in speaking to others.
The pupils said:
“It’s been really interesting, but hard work!”
“I chose this project because I thought it would be an easy ride, but I was wrong. It has increased my confidence so much.”
The adults said:
“I wasn’t sure about taking part, but it’s been great.”
“My granddaughter got me involved – and she’s not even in this group!”
“This is the first time I have tasted sweet potato and lentil soup. Can I take some home?”