This Back-to-School Classroom Expectations Cookie Lab activity allows the teacher to discuss three important aspects:
2.) Condition of the Work
3.) Quality of the Work
You will need two sandwich cookies per student, one piece of paper towel per student, and a lot of theatrics on your part! The more dramatic you can be, then the better chance you have of students remembering your expectations throughout the school year.
The second part has students taking one of the sandwich pieces from the first cookie and really giving it a good lick. Encourage students to really lick the cookie and get lots of saliva on it. Of course, this receives lots of "yucks" and "eews" from the class...but it is a great set up for the next step.
Then, ask the students to turn to a neighbor and trade their cookie pieces. Students might be a little hesitant to do so, but you can encourage them to only touch the sides of the cookie. Once everyone has traded then ask the students to eat the cookie piece they just received from their neighbor. They will look at you like you are absolutely nuts! Pause long enough to garner some objections from the students...and then say "Just kidding!"
Most students will breathe a sigh of relief that they don't have to eat their neighbor's saliva-covered cookie. And then you will probably have one student who is busily chewing his/her neighbor's cookie. There is always one. And, that student becomes what legends are made of around school! Honestly, I have students who know that little Jimmy chewed the cookie three years ago. I suppose they remember this story from when their older siblings shared what happened during this back to school activity. But, we wanted a memorable back to school activity - right? So there you go!
Talk about how disgusting eating a neighbor's cookie would be. Then segue into how this is true for the work that is turned into the teacher. Discuss how the work should be in good condition. No stains, boogers, dog bite marks, etc. You could really play this one up for the kids...and they get a kick out of it!
The last part has the students taking the second cookie and wrapping it up into the paper towel. You want to make sure it's not wrapped too tight or else you will have a cookie crumb explosion everywhere when you give the next instruction. Ask the students to make a fist and pound down on the wrapped cookie. I usually give the kids around 30s or so - coaxing some to put some muscle into it or warning others to take it easy. Once you think they have crushed the cookie enough, then say "Stop!" Have the students carefully unwrap the paper towel. What do they see? Students should say how their cookie is crumbled.
Relate the crumbled cookie to the quality of their work. They would expect a package of cookies to contain high quality cookies without being crumbled. The teacher expects high quality work. Discuss what you think constitutes high quality work in your classroom.
Close this activity by stressing how you know each student in the room can be their best and that you expect it!
Love this activity but short on time? Click here to download a scripted lesson plan and a corresponding PowerPoint in my TpT Store.