Ice work takes some licking

21st May 2004 at 01:00
We are very active in promoting pupils' health and the home economics department has always played a role by encouraging good diet.

One of our most successful initiatives has been the Cool Project.

Research shows that the west of Scotland (and Glasgow in particular) has the poorest health in Europe. Bad diet is largely responsible for this.

We set some of our S1 (age 12) pupils to design an exciting, original ice cream that would meet the Scottish dietary targets ( ScotDiet3.html).

The activity increased their knowledge about diet and self-confidence. We gave them a basic ice-cream recipe and then they had to investigate the targets and see which ones were not achieved in most ice creams.

They used the internet and consulted ice cream producers and books and, of course, tasted ice cream. They made small changes to the basic recipe, for example, by reducing the fat content or by increasing the amount of fruit.

They analysed their new product, comparing their recipe with the initial one to discover any improvement.

Pupils had fun working together, deciding what was possible and trialling interesting combinations of fruits.

They learned about marketing and the department took on a new popularity as visitors found excuses to pop in to have little tastes.

Best of all, the pupils gained so much confidence they became teachers themselves, imparting their knowledge and enthusiasm to adults when they went to Heriot-Watt University and took part in a national conference on creativity and education.

They gave a PowerPoint presentation and then teachers took on the role of pupils to develop their own healthy ice cream.

It is a challenge to alter people's attitudes to food but we were able to show that small changes can have an effect on health.

Susan Freeman

Principal teacher home economics, Notre Dame High School, Glasgow

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