Slice of Life

Slice of Life
Join the slicing for the month of March

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Sugar Time

I have always wished I could take my students to a maple sugar demonstration. The use of a natural product being tapped and then turned into a marketable product fits right in with our social studies curriculum.
My wish came true today. Students at our high school put on a demonstration for younger students. They started the program with a locally made video. Two students introduced the video and then took questions afterward. The video showed them drilling holes into sugar maples, hammering in the spouts, and hanging pails.
My students were then ushered outside to see some tapped trees with the tree sap still in the buckets. The older students had a poster showing the process of tapping trees similar to what we saw in the video.
 The next station was a table set with forty gallon milk jugs and one gallon jug of maple syrup. The high school students explained the ratio of raw product to finished product.
 Up next, a barrel stove with side containers to heat up the sap. The sap is heated to 219 degrees and not any higher or it can burn. The adult attending this station explained what was happening and took questions as well. My students were able to watch the water turn to vapor as it left the sap.
Finally, the youngers were invited into the kitchen to taste a variety of foods made with the homemade maple syrup. My students tasted baked beans, cinnamon rolls, smoothies, pancakes, and syrup on crushed ice. Needless to say, everyone found some kind of food they liked.
The older students did a fantastic job. They were well prepared, friendly, and obviously very proud of their unit of study. We were so lucky to be invited to a demonstration like this.


  1. Authentic task with audience and purpose - learning at its best. I'm sure the students would appreciate your high praise.

    1. I am sending this post to the director of the program...I think you are right!

  2. I love the whole idea of the older kids sharing and doing such a great job. We've tried to do this Illinois with our Fox River that runs through our district. They just learn so much when they are out and about...

  3. Oh, I'm so jealous! This would fit in so well with our social studies unit, too! It looks like it was a terrific experience.

  4. I used to do this with my girl scout was such a wonderful experience. Good for you that you you were able t o give your kids this chance at authentic learning.