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Campus Welcomes 800 Fourth Graders for Two Days of Bread Baking, Hands-on Science

What happens when you bring together King Arthur Flour; 11 local companies, non-profits, educational institutions and research organizations; and 800 Montgomery County Public School (MCPS) fourth graders? A lot of learning. A lot of fun. And the donation of hundreds of loaves of freshly baked bread to local non-profits.

This was the scene at Johns Hopkins University in late May when the Montgomery County Campus hosted the King Arthur Flour Life Skills Bread Baking Program.

Bread baking with students

Seven MCPS schools – College Gardens Elementary, DuFief Elementary School, Gaithersburg Elementary School, Goshen Elementary School, Spark Matsunaga Elementary School, Thurgood Marshall Elementary School, and Whetstone Elementary School – were selected to participate in this program, the first time it has been offered in Montgomery County.

The King Arthur Flour portion of the program, which is offered free to the schools, provides students with a fun, real-world application for skills they’re already learning in school – math, science, reading, planning, problem solving, and more. And it includes the donation of enough supplies for every student to go home and bake two loaves of bread: one for the student to enjoy with his/her family and one that gets returned to school to be donated to a local non-profit that helps feed the hungry and homeless.

Student mixing ingredientsJohns Hopkins University added to the day by bringing together 11 local companies to provide hands-on science opportunities for the students. The participating companies were Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute, Human Genome Sciences, J. Craig Venter Institute, JHU Center for Biotechnology Education, Montgomery College, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Navigant, NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, Qiagen, Shady Grove Adventist Hospital, and Suburban Hospital. Activities ranged from learning how to make a healthy plate to making glow sticks and from making raisins dance to extracting DNA from fruit.

“I can’t thank you guys enough,” said Lisa Lewis, fourth grade team leader at Gaithersburg Elementary School. “This was an amazing experience for everyone involved.”

Gaithersburg Elementary School donated 40 loaves of bread to St. Martin’s Food Pantry in Gaithersburg. Interfaith Works also received donations from a number of schools.

It was a wonderful experience for the children,” Lewis said about the St. Martin's donation.  “They even got a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie that the staff was making for their guests.  We got some wonderful ideas for future donations to them.  It was truly a great experience for the kids.”

The scientists who participated also enjoyed themselves.

“I just wanted to say ‘thanks’ again for the opportunity to entertain and teach fourth-graders during the Hands-On Science days,” said Kristine Lui, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Physics, Coordinator for Physics and Astronomy, Montgomery College – Germantown Campus. “It was rewarding, albeit exhausting as well. I have a renewed respect for elementary school teachers!”

One of the Qiagen researchers talked about how his love of science was born during an event similar to this one when he was in school.

“The program that King Arthur Flour brought to MCPS was wonderful,” said Anita R. O’Neill, Supervisor, Science, Technology and Engineering, Montgomery County Public  Schools. “Students were so engaged and learned a lot from the little bit of time they had at this event.”

To see video footage from Fox5 Morning News or MCPS, scroll to the bottom of the story.

From the mouths of babes… so what did the students think about the day? “It is the best [field trip] I ever went to. When I was watching you making the bread, I couldn’t wait to make it at home.” – Fatima from College Gardens

Whetstone students said:

“Thank you for a wonderful learning opportunity.” – Kaitlin

“The best part was when we got to make glow sticks.” – Mamadou

Student drawing

“The best part was when I put my hand on the goo. It was nasty and awesome.” – Carlos

“Thank you so much for showing me how to make slime! I really enjoyed it and can’t wait to teach my younger brother. He’s 5 years old and is going to love this fun, safe, and fast activity. P.S. I can’t wait to freak my mom out with the slime!” – Jade

Student drawing kids making goo

“Thank you for letting me use your robot. It was so cool. Oh and sorry for making it fall on the floor. It was funny how it was dancing and acting like King Kong. Also I liked the one that was like Wall-E. Thank you again. You inspired me to be an engineer.” – Antony

“I was amazed at how you made the twisted bread by braiding it. I didn’t know you used math and science to make bread.” – Reta

Student drawing kid holding bread

“Thank you for the fun day. I really liked everything that was there. I learned a lot of science when I was there. Also, I had fun when I was there. That made my day more fun.” – Robbie

“Thank you for the best field trip ever!” – Jack

Student Drawing Navigant bike

“I like your program that donates food to people that don’t have any food, and I get to help. Thank you very much and I hope I can see you again some day.” – Nicole

“My favorite experiment was seeing if we could pull the ropes out of the two phone books put together and then finding out it would take 2 tons to take the ropes out of the phone books. Again thank you so much.” – Lisa

Student Drawing MC Phone Book

“Thank you for showing us the activities. The one I really like is the robot. I like it when the robot danced and did a push up and it’s cool that it has Lego parts and that was an exciting event and that was my first time seeing a real robot and that was the best time of my life.” – Christian

“Thank you [for] giving us an opportunity to see and learn these amazing things of science and math.” – Zhonyar

Student drawing strawberry dna

“I don’t have a favorite [activity] because they were all awesome.” – Schuyler 

Bread baking thank you cards

Thank you cards from Gaithersburg Elementary School

Media coverage:

Montgomery County Public Schools video about the day.

Fox5 Morning News coverage:

JHU Gazette article    

CATEGORY: K-12 Outreach, Featured, In The Community