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ScienceFix: Scientific Recipes...Imitating the Cookbook

A Writing Across the Curriculum Lesson from ScienceFix
Scientific Topic: any Students Write: a creative recipe

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Publish your students' scientific recipes at our Ning!
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Writing Scientific

creatively using the format of a recipe to explain a scientific process or concept

This writing across the curriculum lesson was written by WritingFix Webmaster, Corbett Harrison, who feels this lesson could be easily adapted to work with students in grades 3-12.

This lesson was proposed to ScienceFix using this template. If you have a science/mentor text lesson you'd like to have published, fill out the template and send it to Yvette Deighton, our ScienceFix Coordinator: We'll send you an NNWP Print Publication if we post your lesson here!

Lesson Overview:

Lesson Objective: Students practice voice in writing by imitating the sound of a real recipe, but students recipes will "cook up" scientific concepts instead of kitchen delectables. Student writers creatively explain their knowledge of scientific concepts by first listing their concepts' "ingredients," followed by "instructions for making" that should creatively use kitchen nouns and verbs.

Writing skills (traits) to stress while teaching this lesson:

  • Voice (imitating the sound of a real recipe by using kitchen-inspired nouns and verbs)
  • Idea Development (putting learned information and research into one's own words)
  • Conventions (using correct spelling, especially of scientific vocabulary words)

Materials List:

  • Several copies of real recipes, from a cookbook or from an Internet recipe site, like
  • WritingFix's list of cooking verbs.
  • Student samples of scientific recipes to analyze and evaluate with your students before they write their own recipes.
  • Optional: This idea was adapted from a lesson found in Barry Lane's wonderful book, 51 Wacky We-Search Reports.

Teacher Instructions:

  • Start by asking students to brainstorm verbs that might be found in a recipe. Once student groups have generated a list, show WritingFix's list on the overhead, and have students add to their lists, or add theirs to the WritingFix list.
  • Look over a real recipe and discuss its two parts: 1) list of ingredients and 2) instructions on what to do with the ingredients.
  • Show a student sample of a scientific recipe, and have students compare the student sample to a real recipe. Ask, "What did this writer do to make his/her writing sound like an actual recipe?" Hopefully the students will noticed the verbs and nouns as well as other things. Make a list of strategies they spot on the board for students to use when they write.
  • Have students choose (or assign to them) scientific concepts to create recipe imitations around.
  • After students have first drafts, put them in student groups to respond to each other's initial writing attempts. Have students make suggestions to each other on 1) additional ingredients their recipes might use and 2) additional ways to make the writing sound more like an actual recipe.
  • If you get enough recipes, you can publish a classroom "cookbook."

Student Samples for this Lesson:

A Recipe for Exploding Universe Cupcakes
by Wittekin, 6th grade writer


  • 1 cup sugar (stars)
  • 2 cups baking soda (space dust)
  • 1 cup pudding (dark matter)
  • 6-10 marshmallows (galaxies)
  • 1 1/2 cups white vinegar (empty space)
  • 2 cups water (gravity)


Mix 1/2 cup of stars with space dust, 1/2 cup of dark matter, and the galaxies. Add 1 cup of your gravity and mix thoroughly. Put in oven for thirty minutes on high heat. While it's cooking, mix the other cup of gravity with empty space, remaining stars and remaining cup of drak matter. Stir well. Drizzle this mixture on the baked universe. Back away about ten feet and watch the explosion.

Do you have a student sample to share?

WritingFix Safely Publishes Students from Around the World! In 2008, we first began accepting students samples from teachers anywhere who use this lesson. Hundreds of new published students now go up at our site annually!

We're currently looking for student samples for other grade levels for this lesson!  Help us obtain some from your students, and we'll send you a free resource for your classroom!  Samples for the lesson on this page can be posted for review at this posting site.



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