Explore Middle School Old World Meets New World: A Columbian Exchange Project

The 7th-grade students at Explore Middle School participated in a cross-curricular project led by Mr. Nocum, the 7th & 8th grade Social Studies teacher, and Ms. Bermas, the 7th grade Math teacher. For the project, students explored and studied the widespread exchange of plants, animals, foods, human populations, communicable diseases, and ideas between the Eastern and Western hemispheres. Students then applied their learning to create their very own Columbian Exchange Menu. In pairs and small groups, students worked together to create an original menu using limited ingredients from both the Old and New Worlds. Students were required to create an appetizer, main dish, two side dishes, and a dessert and beverage. For extra credit, students were given the opportunity to create a vegetarian option as well. Each dish required a specific percentage of Old World and New World ingredients that students were responsible for calculating. The groups presented their menus to their fellow classmates.

The students’ scores for the projects were calculated based on a rubric consisting of the following five categories: restaurant name, menu sections, pictures, content, and creativity. A winning team and meal from each of the 7th-grade academic groups were chosen by Mr.

Nocum and Ms. Bermas. The winning teams were selected based on the overall score of the group’s menu as well as the team that had the best pairing of both the main and side dishes.

Ms. Bermas stated, “It was fun collaborating with Mr. Nocun on the project and seeing the student’s meals come together from start to finish. Although the project was challenging, the students enjoyed working on the menus.”

Congratulations to the following winners:

  • 7A: Emma Wehrhan, Vincent Cao, and Laila McCallum
  • 7B: Harshan Ramchandani, Maria Naatus, and Sarah Olsen 7C: Dmitri Sobolev and Daniel Bernouy

The winners expressed, “Although the project was challenging at times, we were so excited to see our hard work pay off.”

The meal from each winning team was made by Explore’s own Chef Danny Ward and was served during lunch. The entire school had the opportunity to taste the meals the 7th-grade winners created.

“Thank you to Mr. Nocum, Ms. Bermas and of course Mr. Danny Ward who helped bring the students’ ideas to fruition; the food was both delicious and nutritious, as always,” shared Principal Krone.

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