Who would have thought that making bread would get kids to giggle like they were watching a SpongeBob SquarePants episode?
But it did at an April 4 event at the Johns Hopkins University Montgomery County Campus in Rockville that taught kids how to make a loaf of bread with some math and science concepts sprinkled in the mix.
About 400 fourth-graders from four county elementary schools — Farmland, Luxmanor, Ronald McNair and Stedwick — gathered at the campus to take part in King Arthur Flour’s Bake for Good: Kids Learn Bake Share Program, in which they went through the bread-making steps from empty bowl to golden-brown crust (some previously-made products were brought along and helped speed up the lesson and bypass use of an oven).
The event also had a charitable twist: King Arthur Flour gave each of the students a kit so they could make one loaf for themselves and another to give to either the Interfaith Works food pantry or the Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless.
In one of two presentations, students watched two of their peers help program manager Paula Gray through the process and answered science questions such as, “What substance does yeast give off that makes bread rise?” (Carbon dioxide, one smart student answered).
Gray also showed them how they could make items like cinnamon rolls and pizza with their dough.
Hachang Ryu, a fourth-grader at Farmland Elementary School in Rockville, said she planned on baking the dough with a couple of her friends.
“It’s gonna be fun,” she said, and “a little hard.”
Noor Dourrachad, also a fourth-grader at Farmland Elementary, had big plans for her dough and which items she wanted to make.
“I want do to everything,” she said.
Gray, a former elementary school teacher, said after the presentation that the program’s goal is to show kids a connection between science and math and the real world and help them feel confident as bakers.
Vermont-based King Arthur Flour works with students all over the country, she said, and the Montgomery County students’ enthusiasm is shared by their national, bread-making peers.
“They get pretty excited,” she said.