Camembert in the classroom

Issue: Volume 95, Number 4

Posted: 7 March 2016
Reference #: 1H9d0n

The creation of delicious homemade cheese is being used to encourage Waikato students to explore alternative career pathways.

Year 10 and 11 students from Te Awamutu College and Ngaruawahia High School put their cheese-making skills to the test when they took part in the Camembert in the Classroom competition last year.

Developed by Wintec’s Centre for Science and Primary Industries and the New Zealand Cheese School Limited, Camembert in the Classroom saw more than 60 young people learn how to make their own versions of the French cheese.

The project was incorporated into science and food technology programmes and was designed to create interest in pursuing careers in cheese-making, the dairy industry, science and hospitality.

Ngaruawahia High School head of science Julia Liefting says she had never made cheese before so when she first heard about the project she was keen to get her students involved.

“It immediately sounded really interesting and was a chance to try something new,” she says. “It’s hands-on and it brings together science and food.”

Julia says it was a good opportunity to work across subjects and the curriculum with some of the school’s Year 10 students.

“In science it linked in with the microorganisms unit and for food technology it linked in with food safety and other units.”

Wintec provided each school with cheese-making kits and trained the teachers involved.

Te Awamutu College head of home economics Maree Letford says she was planning to create a cheese-making achievement standard when she first heard about the competition.

“Camembert in the Classroom was extremely successful,” she says. “The students learned about the science of cheese-making, the manipulation of milk, the sterilisation process and more."

“Some of the students’ cheeses had little air bubbles in them which meant they hadn’t been kept at a consistent temperature – that was a really good learning opportunity.”

Wintec hosted the final judging session where the 16 top creations went head to head. First and second places both went to students from Ngaruawahia High School, while third place went to Te Awamutu College.

Julia says the competition was a good lesson in time management for the students.

“Cheese-making is quite a lengthy process,” she says. “They spent a lot of time working on making the product and then they had to leave it for six weeks after making it.”
Maree says some of her students who participated in the competition are going to study hospitality."

“I hope it gives them a hunger or a desire to consider going into the dairy industry,” she says.

Julia and Maree are both eager to take part in the competition again this year.

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 8:52 pm, 7 March 2016

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