The Edible Model

Editor's Note: The examples in this reference are related to science; however, this model can be used as an extension activity in any subject.

One of the major goals of teachers is to make information as interesting and stimulating as possible. Teachers are always seeking innovative techniques to make learning genuinely enjoyable. The edible model will help achieve these goals. Edible models will rapidly become your students' favorite extra-credit activity, and students will create some truly ingenious models.

The edible model is a model, constructed by a student, that depicts something studied in class. It could be, for example, a particular body structure such as a stomach, heart, or brain. It might be of a body tissue such as muscle, bone, or nerve. It also might be of a piece of laboratory equipment such as a microscope.

The edible model is prepared using any edible materials. Materials can range from cakes, pies, and pizzas to pancakes and licorice sticks. The materials should be assembled in such a manner that the resulting model depicts the original structure as realistically as possible. For example, if cake is used in preparing an edible model of a microscope, the microscope should not be just an icing outline on top of the cake. Instead, the cake should be trimmed around the edges to depict the shape of the microscope. Edible materials such as candies should be added to represent such structures as the focusing knobs and mirror. Building up portions of the model with extra layers of icing imparts a raised or bas-relief effect.

In creating an edible model of the heart, red licorice sticks could be used for arteries and colored icings for the chambers. In a model of a cell, cherries could represent riobosomes and ribbon candy could represent the endoplasmic reticulum.

The Guidelines for Preparing and Presenting an Edible Model can be distributed to students at the beginning of the school year. This worksheet outlines the basic instructions for creating and presenting an edible model. It also includes the criteria used in evaluating the edible model.

Before the student presents an edible model to the class, you should take a 35mm color slide of the model. At the end of the school year, slides can be shown of all edible models presented during the year. Using the Voting for the Edible Model of the Year worksheet, students can vote for the EMOY (Edible Model of the Year) award. You might want to give extra credit to the winner.

After you take a picture of the edible model, the student makes his or her presentation to the class. Following the presentation, the edible model can be shared with the class and consumed.

When serving the edible model, use clean paper plates or paper towels. Caution students not to let the food come into contact with lab, desk, or tabletop surfaces, as these surfaces are potentially unclean.

An article about edible models written, perhaps, by a student and submitted to a local newspaper (along with some photographs of the models) provides excellent public relations during the school year.

Excerpted from Biology Teacher's Survival Guide.

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