How do we make pizza? Kids learn vocabulary through experiences

HARLINGEN — “What do we make pizza out of?”

Cindy Benavides held up a bowl with a fluffy white substance.

“Flour,” she said deliberately, teaching the pre-kindergarteners from Sam Houston Elementary a new vocabulary word.

The children were on a local field trip to Cici’s Pizza to broaden their experiences and build their vocabulary. Research shows first-hand experiences are crucial to teaching literacy, which includes learning more vocabulary words.

Benavides, owner/operator of the Cici’s location, held up another object.

“This is a ‘measuring cup,’” she said, the children repeating after her.

She mixed water with the flour and kneaded the mixture.

“When we mix it we get what? A dough ball.”

She walked around and let the children feel the gooey dough ball that would become a pizza.

Someone handed her a tray with a dough ball which had been stretched to make a pizza. She then waved a wooden cylinder with little pegs sticking out. She’d use it to poke holes in the pizza dough to let the air escape. But what was this utensil called?

“A hammer,” said a young boy.

“It’s a docker,” Benavides said. “Now do you know how to make pizza?”

“No,” the children answered.

“I haven’t shown you everything yet,” she said. “What is this?”