When elementary school teacher Cheresse Thomas taught virtual summer school to help keep kids busy during the pandemic, math and science were on the menu — and so were smoothies and ceviche.
Thomas’ students — kindergarteners and first- and second-graders — were among some 1,700 K–12 students from across the Los Angeles Unified School District participating in a new UCLA science and food class. Teachers from more than 40 classes customized the course outline to their students’ age level, teaching them the science behind each week’s recipe — and sharing the grocery list. That prepared them for the live weekly cooking webinar and Q&A session with UCLA’s partner Bill Yosses, former pastry chef for the Obama White House.
“The cooking demonstrations really got the students’ attention,” said Thomas, who currently teaches third grade at Yes Academy in the South Los Angeles neighborhood of Hyde Park. “The next day they’d come