Teachers, we know how important it is to provide your students with a nutritious and delicious education. To help you teach kids how well pork fits into a balanced and healthy diet, we have ideas and activities you can use in your classroom, guaranteed to keep them hungry for more!
Pig Placemats – Distribute large sheets of construction paper to students. Invite them to decorate their sheets with pictures of pigs and pig facts they’ve learned during their lesson on pigs. Optional: Laminate the placemats or seal with contact paper so they are waterproof for easy clean-up.
Marinades – Explain that marinades are liquids used to flavor and tenderize pork. List the common components of a marinade: an acidic ingredient (like vinegar or fruit juice), some oil and usually a seasoning like herbs and spices. Food Lab idea: Ask students to prepare two pork chops – one that has been marinated and one that has not. Compare and discuss the effect of the marinade on the eating quality of the chop.
Measuring – Ask students to respond with why they think accurate measuring while cooking is important. Provide students with a variety of measuring cups and spoons, as well as a variety of ingredients (i.e., water, sugar, flour). As a class, walk students through the proper steps for measuring various ingredients.
Start Cooking – Explain that today you will be learning to cook pork which comes from the Protein Foods group on MyPlate Food Guide. Ask students to pair up with a classmate before they begin their cooking experience. Select a recipe from our website. Divide recipes in half to cut down the number of ingredients needed, if desired.
Before the students start to cook:
- Read through the recipe together as a group.
- Show students the cut of pork they are using.
- Demonstrate any key recipe steps that may be difficult.
- Show students where the ingredients are located.
- Ask students to wash their hands and put on aprons (if required).
Remind children to wash their hands after handling raw meat and to ask a volunteer for help if they need assistance with any part of a recipe.
Invite students to sit down at their tables and sample and evaluate their recipes. Once the tasting is complete, ask students to wash and put away their dishes and wipe the counters and tabletops.
Table Setting Relay – Discuss and demonstrate the proper way to set a table. Break the class into teams of four or five. Line students up on one side of the room. Place all pieces of a plastic place setting in a sack on a table on one side of the room (provide one place setting for each team). When the class leader says “go,” the first student on each team races to the table, removes the place setting from the sack and correctly arranges the items on the table. Once the place setting is approved b a class leader, the student puts the dishes in the bag and races back to tag the next teammate. The race continues until all teammates have successfully set the table. (This activity was provided by Lois Clark and Ruth Anne Foote, Ohio State University Extension.)
Pork Cookery – This lesson is 40-50 minutes and teaches students about low-fat pork cookery.
- Students will identify ways to reduce fat in pork cookery.
- Students will recognize the role of seasonings in pork cookery, including marinades and spice rubs.
- Students will prepare and evaluate a pork recipe using low-fat cooking methods.
- Props for introduction
- Sample herbs and spices
- Ground pork for food lab
- Pork chops for food lab
Introduction: Gather non-stick vegetable spray, herbs, spices, non-stick skillet, salsa, and fruit preserves. Knowing that the lesson’s topic is “pork,” ask the students what these items have in common. Explain that they are used to limit added fat in pork cookery.
Conclusion: Ask students to list some ways they plan to cut added fat in their foods. Ask if they were surprised by any of the new spices/herbs they tried.
Evaluation: Ask students to write an evaluation of their lab experiences or ask them to verbally share their comments in front of the class.
Seasonings Activity – Discuss the difference between a spice and an herb. Explain that they can be rubbed into the surface of pork or combined with ground pork for added flavor. Place unlabeled herbs and spices in small containers. List them out and ask students to identify the seasonings as they try them. Have students combine ground pork with various seasonings and form patties. Cook; then share and compare the different flavors created.
- Italian: oregano and garlic (top with pizza sauce)
- Mexican: cumin, oregano and garlic (top with salsa)
- Asian: ginger, sesame (sprinkle with soy sauce)
- Greek: garlic, rosemary and cinnamon (sprinkle with lemon juice)
Pig Cupcakes – Make these easy cupcakes and invite students to eat them on their pig placemats.
- 1 package white cake mix
- 1 container strawberry frosting
- 96 mini M&M baking bits
- 12 large marshmallows, halved
- Pink wafer cookies
Mix and bake cupcakes according to package directions. Let cool. Frost with strawberry frosting. Add two brown M&Ms for eyes. Use frosting to attach two brown M&Ms to marshmallow for nostrils. Place marshmallow on cupcake for snout. Cut two triangular pieces of pink wafer cookies for ears. Makes 24 cupcakes.