Schoolchildren learn 'p' is for pizza Project teaches farm and city interdependence CARROLL COUNTY BUSINESS

November 26, 1992|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Staff Writer

With his hands full of goop as he was helping Frank Illiano of New York J&P Pizza in Mount Airy to mix it into pizza dough, Josh Lewis was having the time of his life.

"Ooh, you look like the Swamp Thing," his classmates in Patti Cannaday's second-grade class called out yesterday. "You're lucky. It's just like making mud pies."

The 8-year-old Josh and his 25 classmates at Mount Airy Elementary School weren't just goofing off on the last day of school before Thanksgiving. They were actually learning the interdependence of urban and rural life during the final activity of Farm/City Week, sponsored by the Carroll County Farm Bureau.

"This is the time of year when we think of the good things we have and are grateful for the urban and the country, for both aspects of our society," said the Carroll County Farm Bureau's Jean Knill. "We recognize that we have to know more than our little society."

The lesson plan, called SLICE, or Student Lessons in Consumer Education, used math and various language-arts activities to teach the students that the pizza they had for lunch originally came from a wheat field, a tomato plant and a cow.

Students read and wrote stories about pizza, made bar graphs and diagrams about how many people liked what toppings on their pizzas and put drawings in sequence from production to sale in the grocery store.

"I try to teach with themes, so this tied in beautifully with what I was trying to do," said Ms. Cannaday, who lived on a farm in Lisbon until she was 10. "The kids love this and are very motivated about it."

Learning that the interdependence between the farms and cities is very important, Mrs. Knill said.

"The children are learning about the process and all the people involved in bringing them a pizza," said Mrs. Knill, who owns a farm in Mount Airy with her husband, William. "Patti does a real good job of conveying that to them."

For example, as Mr. Illiano kneaded the pizza dough, Ms. Cannaday asked the children where the flour came from.

"Wheat," was the unanimous chorus.

"And did that just go 'poof' from wheat to flour?" the teacher asked.

"No," the chorus of children giggled. "It had to go to the miller first."

"I do as much 'ag' in the classroom as a can," said Ms. Cannaday later. "I feel it is important for the kids to know about their agricultural roots."

The 17-year veteran said she thought the pizza-making project would be a good "bang" for the end of the unit.

"I thought about making pizzas from scratch, but I didn't think I was up to crushing the tomatoes and all," Ms. Cannaday said. "Then after I thought about making little pizzas with English muffins, I read about how [Mr. Illiano] done a lot of community things.

"I called him and he jumped right on it."

"I like working with kids," said Mr. Illiano, whose restaurant sponsors several youth sports teams. "They always have neat questions."

This was the first time he had done an in-class demonstration, and said he was impressed with what the students knew.

"Pizza is a No. 1 food with kids," Mr. Illiano said. "I think for them to see it being made and know where it all comes from is a big plus."

But for the kids, the pizza itself was the primary thing.

"I learned what you need to make a pizza," said Katie Dulany, 8. "Flour, yeast, water, garlic, cheese and topping -- that's how you make a pizza."

Marissa McDermott and Jamie Unger, both 8, said they both learned the origins of the ingredients.

Josh's favorite part was mixing the dough.

"My hands were all icky," he said. "It's fun getting into messy stuff."

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