three boys making candied sweet potatoes

8th graders are participating in a Chopped Cooking Challenge in Family and Consumer Sciences class. Modeled after the popular Food Network show, this activity introduces students to various ingredients, multiple cooking techniques, and teamwork. They learn to handle unexpected situations and solve problems collaboratively under a deadline. 

The lesson was cooked up by Chatham Middle School FACS teacher Patricia Velez, who explained, “I try to provide enriching experiences through which students can learn.” 

Mrs. Velez gives each team a basket of challenging mystery ingredients from which they must cook a dish for their classmates to sample and score. An example of one mystery basket included banana, pasta, and tomatoes. The scoring is based on three categories - creativity, taste, and appearance. Each round, the team with the lowest score is eliminated from the competition. The teams that make it to the top will have their meals judged by CMS’ administrators in the final round!

two girls tasting food