TV411 What's Cooking: Science


Author(s) Organizational Affiliation
Education Development Center's Learning and Teaching Division
Publication Year
Resource Type
Instructional Material
Product Type

EDC’s TV411 What's Cooking? taps the appeal of popular TV cooking shows by putting on the front burner the biochemical, physical, and mathematical processes at play in our kitchens.

The TV411 What's Cooking? website is a rich source of multi-media teaching materials that combine streaming videos with related interactive web lessons on reading, writing, math, science, and financial literacy. Teachers can use the materials to supplement their adult literacy curriculum, create new lessons, and enable students to practice their skills on their own.

TV411 engages adult learners by giving them multiple opportunities to improve their reading, writing and math skills, and learn basic science and financial literacy concepts.

The lessons are made up of videos that embed basic skills and information in entertaining scenarios, and correlated web lessons that give the learner hands-on practice. Videos and web lessons can be used together or independently.

Benefits and Uses

The project aims to reach the much-neglected audience of undereducated adults in the United States, about 70 million strong, who have reading and math skills between the fifth and eighth grade levels.

The TV411 project produced six short videos starring a professional chef who blends healthful recipes with fundamental science and math concepts. The videos will be available as part of a redesigned multimedia created by the Adult Literacy Media Alliance in 2002 to complement its Emmy Award-winning public television series TV411.

"Our goal is to help adults understand the science and math that they encounter in the news and in everyday life. We also hope to help parents support their children's science and math learning," says EDC's Alex Quinn. "Because our project lies at the intersection of adult informal learning, math and science content, and new media, what we learn will make significant contributions to the knowledge base of all three fields."

The first segment will dispel common misconceptions that Salmonella andEscherichia coli (E. coli) scares are all there is to the role that bacteria plays in our lives. "Our chef will whip up a recipe with chicken and yogurt and talk about how bacteria are essential players in our diet and in our world," says Quinn. Other segments will cover such topics as radiation and microwave cooking, photosynthesis and vegetables, and carbohydrates.

The program is funded by the National Science Foundation and builds on a planning grant from the Starr Foundation.

Required Training


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