Cooking Up Learning connects history with local culinary partners

Updated: Apr 6, 2021

Innovative educators seek ways each year to tie engaging, hands-on learning with curriculum they're teaching in school. For one DuPont Elementary School teacher, that is precisely what she's doing - with cooking. DuPont's Tarah Kemp is tying together cooking in her school's culinary lab to what she's teaching her students in the classroom.


Kemp's idea began a couple years ago, when she participated in the Public Education Foundation's Teacherpreneur Program. Thanks to PEF's partnership with Benwood Foundation and Hamilton County Schools, Kemp's program idea Cooking Up Learning came to fruition when she won several thousand dollars in seed money to start her venture. Kemp also participated in Teacherpreneur Accelerator last year, a program that provided Teacherpreneur alumni the opportunity to develop strategies to scale the impact of their original idea across the district as part of Hamilton County Schools newly launched Innovation Cohorts.


Last month, Kemp collaborated with Lodge Cast Iron and local chef, Michael Price, to connect 19th century history to modern day cuisine. This included learning how food traditions can be shaped by regions. "My students were engaged in three different areas of the culinary lab, talking about the process, and working together as a cohesive team," shared Kemp. "We all had to be excellent together in order to enjoy the final culinary result." Kemp connected TN State Standards to her lesson by contrasting regional differences in the early 19th century, including the emerging urbanization in the North, the expansion of the plantation system in the South, and the developing West.

Tarah Kemp enjoying classroom discussions with her students

The first activity involved Lodge Cast Iron & American Foundry Society's Metallurgical Engineer, David Fletcher, sharing a histori