Monday, March 3, 2014

Dig Up a Fossil Cupcakes

Remember when I used to have a cupcake blog?

And I had *TIME* to write on it?

Happily and unappily, I am no longer a professional-make-cipcakes-after-school-teacher. Which means I have a lot less time to bake. When I do bake, I often don't chronicle it.

BUTwhen I do, it is amazing.

I teach fifth grade, and I spend entirely too much time figuring out how to turn key science concepts into a a cupcake. I have joked it is my million-dollar idea, but for real, when it works, it works. Know that cupcake activities compliment and ehnhance review, and students have already done hands-on science investigations.

Today was a snow day, and thus, I have had time to: a) clean every.single.thing. in my house, b) do a Jillian Michaels workout that made my spleen hurt, and c)scroll through my old photos until I found my fossil cupcakes.

We teach our landforms (aka ROCKS) unit in the fall, hence all the Halloween-themed decor in the pictures. It occurred to me one fine afternoon that I could teach the essential knowledge in a very novel way.  The core idea is for students to understand that fossils are usually found within sedimentary rocks,  and this is because those rocks are layered, and fossils are slowly buried over time in the layers.

DISCLAIMER: I am not Ross Gellar. I am not a geologist. I do my thang.

On the bottom , I put an Oreo. Because everything is better with an Oreo layer. And it gave the sedimentary rock cupcakes an additional level to examine.
Then, I used 2 plain cake mixes, but I tinted it with varying amounts of brown food coloring gel, I keep items like this on hand, because you never know when you might have a brown food coloring emergency. But if you need some, you can find it at Michael's.

Then, I layered 1 color of batter. I would use about 2 tablespoons of each, enough to evenly coat a layer. I also added some chocolate chips, as sediment.


Then, I layered the other batter on top.  I added Sweet Tarts Skull & Bone candy, easily found during the spooky season, to the top, then covered it with batter.
I baked them following package directions.
I made a simple glaze with powdered sugar and milk, and it was delicious.

On the day of the lesson, I introduced the activity by saying they would be digging up sedimentary rocks to look for fossils. They had strict guidelines not to eat anything, They were a little thrown off when handed a cupcake, but quickly got to work, looking for fossils.

Was this effective for lerning? yes.
Was it fun? yes.
Will it stick with them? I sure hope so.

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