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What's cooking - Cook activity from Wikid

  • Key Stage 3
  • SciQ Sequences

Type: Activity
Learning Strategy: Imaginative inquiry
Topic: Energy transfer

This activity is a sample from the upd8 Wikid Y7 programme Find out more about the course

Introduction to the Cook unit
The bustle of life in a high-class restaurant is exciting, with the inflated egos of the head chef and the frantic deadlines to put exciting and interesting food on the plates of customers. But there is a lot of science knowledge and understanding needed to keep this creative and crafted enterprise running smoothly. A chef is like a chemist in a laboratory. Both use experiment, and have similar tools to mix, measure, heat, and dissolve. Chefs also need to build up mental models of how chemical reactions and physical change work, so they can create exciting recipes.
The modern gastronomic 'kitchen laboratory', like that of our Gastro Heaven restaurant, helps the development of the right knowledge in its trainees. Students take the role of Ally the trainee chef and are alternately challenged by Gordo the head chef, and tutored by Jimella the knowledgeable gastro scientist. Finally Ally [the students] represent Gastro Heaven on a TV show called 'Inside Story' that challenges competitors to use modelling techniques to explain phenomena.

About this activity
This sequence is about energy transfers that cause heating. Students use their common everyday experiences to think about and investigate how food gets heated in a variety of different ways when being cooked. They form a constructivist concept that links common phenomena in energy transfers. Then students learn the details, vocabulary and models for energy being transferred during cooking by conduction, convection and radiation.
Students also learn that temperature is a property of a substance relating to particle movement, whereas heating is about a transfer of energy

Snarly restaurant boss Gordo has taken on a new trainee chef called Ally. Gordo is unimpressed by all his trainees, including this one – he feels they know nothing. Luckily there is a helpful gastronomic scientist chef, Jimella, working in the "gastro lab" attached to the restaurant.

11-14 How Science Works:
This unit focusses on the skill of 'using scientific models': Strategy APP AF 1.

Apply and use the particle model to describe a range of physical observations

Published: 3rd June 2008
Reviews & Comments: 9

Learning objectives

- Energy is transferred during cooking by conduction, convection and radiation.
- Temperature is a property of a substance relating to particle movement, whereas heating is about a transfer of energy

Try the activity

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Use a simple model of energy transfer to describe common observations e.g. how heating transfers energy by conduction, convection and radiation. (Strategy Framework 4.2)

Running the activity

Download the lesson plan for full details.

News links

upd8 wikid course
Details of the science course for 11-14 year olds from which this sample came.
upd8 Segue course
Details of the Y9-GCSE transition course that follows on from Wikid.
Wikid assessment criteria: Missions
To assess students' grasp of energy transfer from this activity, or other objectives in the Wikid course. It is a booklet of assessment criteria at every level of understanding.

Reviews & Comments

Write your online review to share your feedback and classroom tips with other teachers. How well does it work, how engaging is it, how did you use it, and how could it be improved?

What's cooking - Cook activity from Wikid review

Apr 25th, 2013

5 Star

Cant download this one !!

Reviewer: pauline hall

Various topics

Jan 3rd, 2013

5 Star

I have downloaded a few topics from this site to try before buying the full package... i think they are pretty good and engaging for my pupils who all have EBD.
I think that sometimes they get too stuck in the story and dont see the science but this is because they are new to this style of teaching and lack self esteem so it will take time for them to come out of their shells...

All in all great resources and fun for all...

Reviewer: Danny Davis


Nov 5th, 2012

5 Star

This is a great way of engaging the more challenging groups of pupils.

Have used it with low literacy ability year 9 group to help them understand how science is applicable to the wider world.

Reviewer: Karen Duxbury-Watkinson

What's cooking - Cook activity from Wikid review

Mar 23rd, 2012

3 Star

Reviewer: Emma Doyle

Student sheet

Aug 2nd, 2011

4 Star

I could not open the student help sheet. Could you please let me know how to access them.

Reviewer: Sujatha Rajendran


Oct 6th, 2010

4 Star

I good resource to use as a starter


I used this over 2 lessons at The Pupil Referal Unit

Mar 27th, 2009

5 Star

My students can be extremely challenging -behaviour wise and Science is not their favourite subject !
I used the power point to engage their interest as we are studying HEAT energy.
Conduction, Convection and Radiation all became more meaningful through the scenario of cooking and having the slides to guide us through really kept us focused (I got one of my students to change the slides for me) as I demonstrated each activity, which was then discussed.
This was a GCSE group and the infomation was just right for their ability.

Diana Patel

Reviewer: Diana Antoniadis

Difficulty opening student activity sheets

Mar 22nd, 2009

5 Star

I was not able to open any of the student activity sheets. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Reviewer: Sabra Abraham


Feb 18th, 2009

2 Star

I logged on to help my daughter with her science homework about modelling the particles in oil and vinegar. There was nothing on this topic so I was a bit disappointed. How about having a 'homework support area' where a re run of the experiment could be watched and some suggestions on how to complete the homework tasks.

Reviewer: Anna Chell