We did this Sunday and it was crazy and it was wonderful.
And so much more meaningful than making yet another tchotchke out of paper. Please allow your students to GET REAL. Let kids experience real things before you ask them to re-create real things out of paper and felt and whatnot.
Ideally, we’d have made matzah soon after making challah, because then we’d have a recent basis of comparison. S-l-o-w, p-u-f-f-y bread vs. rushed, flat bread.
They can’t know matzah unless they know bread.
Here’s what our K-3 students did in art class today:
We touched real wheat stalks, removed a seed and talked about what we could do with that seed: we could plant it so it could germinate into a new wheat plant, or grind it into flour. (Now, they all want to grow wheat AND make flour. I’m looking into it.)
We talked about how the Torah tells us to eat matzah for seven days. We talked about the bread of affliction and haste, and about the Israelites running to freedom, etc. We talked about how we are supposed to feel like we were there, too. We talked about the rules of kosher for Passover matzah.
Then, I gave each kid a paper cup of flour and a tiny cup of water. (About a 3:1 ratio of flour to water.) Counting to shalosh, I started the 18 minute timer as we all dumped water into our flour and stirred with our finger.
then dump out onto the table,
“It’s weird!” “It’s sticky!” “It smells good.” “Can I wash my hands?”
They rolled with lengths of PVC pipe, pricked with a fork, and then put the new matzah on a baking sheet. I ran the sheet up to the oven cranked as high as it could go (500 degrees, which is not nearly high enough), baked till brown, then ran them back down.
They all agreed it tasted different from boxed matzah but “good.” They all wanted to make more.
This individual cup method made sure every kid did every step. I chose this way rather than let kids take turns with a communal mixing bowl.
Each kid felt rushed to mix, knead, roll, prick and place. They felt responsible.
The prep was minimal, we made matzah well within the 18 minute limit, and everyone loved it.
Don’t have a school oven?
Use a toaster oven. It won’t get hot enough, but it will still bake. And it will hold plenty of mini matzot.
Maybe even extras for Playbmobil Israelites like ours:
Next week, we’re each setting a seder plate with all the real stuff.
The details are here: Teaching the Seder Plate.
Super idea; Workable Project; the REAL THING. Kadimah!!!!
Savtah Rabah RDR
I second your recommendation. Our rabbi ran a matzah-making workshop with our cheder kids last year, very similarly to yours, and it was a fantastic experience for everyone.