VAT: Value Added Teaching

knowledge is brain food

If you’ve ever traveled to Europe (or Michigan), you’re probably familiar with the concept of VAT or value-added tax.  I’m no economist, so I’m not going to attempt to explain to you in any detail exactly how a VAT works.  A definition I found online is that a value-added tax is “a tax on the value added at each stage of the production of goods and services.”  Now I’m not advocating for or against value-added taxes.  I am, however, a huge fan of value-added teaching and that’s my topic for today’s #Save FACS post.

Yes, this is another of my original educational concepts so I suppose it would be a good idea if I explained what I mean by value-added teaching.  One of the great things about teaching FACS/Home Economics is the all-inclusive nature of the curriculum.  Our course content extends to all areas of every day life, and that enables us to make our classroom instruction rich and engaging in a way that no other content area can hope to match.   Here’s an example of adding value to a basic FACS lesson that I often use in FACS educator workshops.

chocolate chip cookies 

There’s no more quintessential FACS activity than baking Tollhouse Cookies, right?  Baking this all-American cookie is a very practical exercise in food preparation.  However, there’s so much more that we can teach through this simple baking exercise!  In other words, we can add value to this very basic FACS lesson by adding:

  • The function of recipe ingredients (Science)
  • The chemistry of baking
  • Reading the nutrition label on the chocolate morsels package
  • Calculating the calories in the cookies
  • Activities and duration required to use cookie calories
  • Recipe arithmetic (Changing the yield of the recipe—Math)
  • Where chocolate is produced around the world (Geography)
  • Types of chocolate
  • Writing a foods lab report (How to is in Recipe for Writing)
  • Reading Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder , A novel by Joanne Fluke—I’ve written an entire resource based on this novel.  The resource is called Recipe for Reading.
  • Recipe-related vocabulary (There are over 30 food prep terms used in the recipe.)

ruth wakefield

And finally, we can share with students the history of the Tollhouse Cookie, which was invented by Ruth Wakefield in 1930.  If you don’t know the story, check it out.  It’s a delicious slice of American history.

The point I’m trying to make is that if we want to improve the image of our FACS programs, we need to add value to our lessons whenever we can.  I will be exploring other ways to add value to FACS lessons in future posts.  I hope these ideas will inspire you to look for opportunities to enhance your basic instruction.