Assignment: Education – LaFarge Life Skills Program

Hundreds of students use math, science to learn the art of baking bread

“I want you to give me a hypothesis,” said Nate Sandel, instructor for King Arthur Flour Company.

This chemistry lesson is a little different than most. These students are watching an edible chemical reaction.

“I want them to be inspired about baking,” said Sandel.

“We made bread, cinnamon roles, pizza dough and braided bread,” said Abbe Jacobs, LaFarge Middle School 7th grader.

“It’s all about helping kids learn how to read recipes and learn a little bit of the science behind making bread,” said Annika Olson, School District of LaFarge teacher.

Olson brought in a baker from King Arthur Flour Company in Vermont to show her elementary and middle school students how science and math apply to real life.

“Even if you’re not going to become a mathematician, you still need to know how these things work,” said Sandel.

Sandel travels the country for King Arthur Flour. The company is a benefit corporation.

“Part of being a benefit corporation is that you have to do so many things to give back,” said Sandel.

“I think that’s the most important part,” said Olson.

So instructors for King Arthur flour provide free baking lessons as a part of the company’s Life Skills Program. As well as, the ingredients to make baked goods for themselves and for those less fortunate.

“We have a lot of parents that work really hard to support their children, but sometimes it’s just not always enough,” said Olson.

So these kids are each baking two loaves of bread. One of which will be donated.

“It will feed these kids at home and through the local food pantry cause a lot of them… that’s where they supplement their food from,” said Olson.

About 60-percent of the students in the LaFarge School District qualify for food assistance making this chemistry lesson an important life skill for themselves and their community.

“These kids don’t have a lot to give, but yet they’re willing to do so much,” said Olson.