Archive for January 7th, 2014

January 7, 2014

Calling All Kids: Tell Us What YOU Want in a Living Learning Space!

by Melissa Harding


Can you imagine going to class in a building with lots of natural light and ventilation, views of wildlife and an environment built for beauty? Can you imagine being able to provide input on the learning experience you have in the space? The SEEDclassroom, a portable, sustainable learning space built to Living Building standards, is just such a place. Whether temporary or permanent, the SEEDclassroom is a modular and scalable way to provide a healthy, happy environment for learning. Even better, it is designed for kids and with kids’ input; students are considered to be stakeholders in the design process and their opinions matter.

Phipps has recently received funding to purchase a SEEDclassroom unit on campus and we are inviting the kids of Pittsburgh to help us make it great! On January 17th, the designers of the classroom will be visiting Phipps to meet with staff and a representation of children who would use the space. We will run several 1-hour workshops for groups of 20-30 kids each, with the focus of gaining a better understanding of what kids want in a learning space. These are mixed-age workshops for children in grades K-12. Child participants plus up to two accompanying adults per group of children arriving together will receive free admission to Phipps for the day.

Scheduled Workshops:
January 17, 2:30-3:30 pm
January 17, 4:00-5:00 pm

Location: Center for Sustainable Landscapes, First Floor Classroom

If you would like to participate, please RSVP to Emily Lomuscio at 412-622-6915 ext. 6936 or (Details regarding parking and admission will be provided to registrants several days before the workshop.)

To learn more about the SEEDclassroom and get a sense of what it will look inside and out, check out the website.

To learn more about the Living Building Challenge (LBC), check out this website. Learn more about the LBC at Phipps here.

The above photo is courtesy of the SEEDcollaborative.

January 7, 2014

From the Ground Up: Holiday Feasting!

by Melissa Harding

On the stove

As part of the Museums Connect program, made possible by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and administered by the American Alliance of Museums, Phipps is partnering with the Gidan Makama Museums in Kano, Nigeria to provide an immersive experience for 15 local high school students in each city. Participating students will learn about nutrition, cooking and cultural food traditions by following local food from farm to table and will be communicating with students at their partner institutions. This project will last from September to June, resulting in the creation of a community cookbook that will be designed and created by participating students. Students will also meet each month for a Saturday workshop involving activities designed to get them thinking critically about their food system and food culture. Calling themselves the Global Chefs, this group of students is excited to learn more about what food means in their lives.

For the last meeting of the year, the Global Chefs decided to create a holiday feast. Nancy Hanst, Alyce Amery-Spenser and Cathy Brinjack from Slow Food Pittsburgh were on hand to help them create a meal fit for a king. The menu included roasted turkey breast on the bone, roasted sweet potatoes, Japanese yams roasted with citrus juices, and “jalof” rice, a Nigerian dish of pureed vegetables and rice. All of these recipes were brought in by students and chosen by the group as those that best represented their various cultural holiday celebrations. Students practiced their knife skills, as well as their skills in sautéing vegetables, as they cooked their meal.

While some students were cooking, others spent time learning more about food cultures. More specifically, they talked about the role of food in family, community and regional (Pittsburgh) culture. They also talked about food culture in the United States and how it compares to that of their Nigerian counterparts. Finally, they talked about what a healthy diet is comprised of, as well as situations that could prevent people being able to eat a healthy diet.

Additionally, students shared the recipes that they brought for December’s assignment, which was to interview an elder and bring in one of their favorite recipes. With students coming from as diverse of backgrounds as Haiti, Jamaica, Cameroon, Togo and Nigeria, the recipes they brought reflected their many culture.  Examples include akara, a black-eyed pea dish from Nigeria; beignets, or “puff-puffs”, which is one grandmother’s favorite treat; candied yams; stuffed shells; potato salad; veilli, a dish made with cassava from Togo; and friend plantains. January’s assignment is to find a vegetable-based recipe to share.

Finally, students spent time reflecting in their journals. They were asked to choose three strong, positive food memories and write about them, summing up their thoughts in a powerful 6-word statement to share. Most students talked about warmth, family and the importance of their cultures in their statement.

To see more images from the workshop, check out the slideshow below!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The above photos were taken by Kate Borger and some of the students.


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