Thursday, November 14, 2013

Fear Factor Food Face Off

"Fish Cheeks" by Amy Tan has many different foods that most of my middle schoolers are not used to eating.  In the story, Amy is worried about how the boy she likes will view her family's Christmas dinner.

To have my students to completely understand what the foods are and understand why it's not a typical "American" Christmas dinner, I decided to make a Fear Factor competition out of the foods.

The foods mentioned are squid, rock cod, tofu, shrimp, and mushrooms.  I created a video using Animoto that I showed yesterday to hook them to be in today.  Students had to fill out a Fear Factor sign up slip.  On the back, I had them explain why I should pick them.

Last night, I had a blast cooking it all and working hard to have it look as disgusting as possible.  I fried separately the tofu, shitake mushrooms, squid, and cod fish. I made sure each bowl had the tentacles part of the squid.  I was kind and put some pepper on the tofu.  I put half a shrimp and two raw white mushrooms in the bowl.

As students entered, I had the theme song to Fear Factor (from iTunes) playing and displayed a zoomed in picture of the bowl of food on the board.  I pointed out what each item was and what was in it in case of shellfish or soy allergies.

For the first class, I only had four students sign up so they each got a spot.  For my other two classes, I had half the class sign up.  I chose the best reason, and those students were guaranteed a spot.

Student One:  "I want people to see that the small kid can do it."
Student Two:  "If I can eat the school lunch, I think I can eat anything."

I checked if any wanted to back out.  I had two to three in each class change their minds after seeing the bowl of food in person.  I raffled out the other three spots.  The first to eat the entire bowl without getting sick won.  Keep in mind the food was all cold.

I was nice again by having cups of water.  Students cheered them on the entire time while others had their mouths closed with looks of horror.  I took pictures of each student eating so that I could give them a copy.  I loved looking at the faces of the students in the background.  In one class, I had two students almost throw up, but thankfully no one ended up getting sick.  At the end, I gave out mints to all participants.

The teachers I work with said that my class was all the students could talk about.  Even the guidance counselor ended up hearing about it!

My favorite quote of the day came after I talked about the suctions cups on the tentacles of the squid:

"Is it going to stick to my throat?"

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