Kira's fifth-grade teacher is a relatively new teacher -- Kira had her as a student teacher two years ago -- and one of the great things about new teachers is their enthusiasm and creativity. Kira's class has done quite a few projects in all subject areas, and the most recent was for science. They have been studying animal and plant cells, comparing and contrasting them, learning the names and functions of the various pieces and parts. Last week, Kira brought home a project assignment to choose either an animal or plant cell and make an edible model.
Woot! Food! Right up our alley! Kira chose an animal cell, and we brainstormed for a few days on what we could make. Cake? Cookies? A big quesadilla?
How about a pizza? YES!
The crust formed the cell membrane, with pesto and mozzarella as the cytoplasm. I suggested big slices of ham for vacuoles, but Kira deferred to pepperoni, king of all pizza meats. Black olive halves made good mitochondria, and some leftover bacon was cut with a biscuit cutter to make the nucleus. I had suggested my personal favorite, strips of banana peppers, as the chromosomes, but I was vetoed. Chunks of cheddar cheese melted into the perfect representations of genetic material.
I had made calzones earlier in the week, so I had a piece of leftover dough. Kira did all the shaping and topping, and we baked it on my pizza stone. The whole thing fit into my round cake carrier, after a bit of crust trimming, and she proudly carried it to school.
I was a bit concerned when she brought the project home on the bus with her that afternoon, because usually, projects stay at school for a week or so. I guess the edibility factor weighed heavily in favor of a quick grading and a speedy return home. She got 100% on it, and ate it for lunch the next day.