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Learning to cook Hawaiian Food

Home Economics Lesson

GRADE LEVEL: 6-8 middle school LESSON LENGTH: 50 minutes

TYPE OF CLASS: home economics MAJOR GOAL OF LESSON: the students should learn how to cook spam musubi


5.2 Listen to and describe aural examples of music of various styles, genres, cultural and historical periods, identifying expressive qualities, instrumentation, and cultural and/or geographic context.

5.7 Analyze the uses of elements in aural examples representing diverse genres and cultures.

8.5 Identify and describe characteristic features of genres and styles from a variety of world cultures and cite well-known artists associated with these styles.

10.1 Integrate knowledge of dance, music, theatre, and visual arts and apply the arts to other learning disciplines.


a) Plans Curriculum and Instruction.

b) Delivers Effective Instruction.

c) Manages Classroom Climate and Operations.

d) Promotes Equality

e) Meets professional Responsibilities.

INSTRUCTIONAL OBJECTIVES: After this lesson is complete, the student should be able to cook the Hawaiian dish, spam musubi. They will also have a written recipe to take home. The students will be exposed to Hawaiian music as they cook.


Cooking supplies: uncooked Japanese rice, sushi-nori (seaweed), furukaki, SPAM, soy sauce, sugar, water. (Exact amounts of the ingredients may be calculated by the instructor depending on how many students are in the class.) Rice cookers or heavy sauce pans, cutting knives, pans, and a musubi maker. The classroom would also need to be equipped with several stoves in order to cook the dish.



1) As the students walk in, Hawaiian music should be playing in the background to set the mood for the class. The teacher could ask the students what culture they think this music is from and why they think so. After a few minutes of discussion, the teacher could expand the discussion by asking the students what kind of food is eaten in Hawaii. The teacher should encourage the students to think of the resources and other geographic aspects offered in Hawaii. The class could discuss for about five minutes before beginning to cook. The discussion can lead into the lesson for the class. The teacher can mention that the dish they are going to be cooking, Spam Musubi, was invented around WWI. During the war, the Hawaiian people used spam in their cooking rather than higher quality meat because it was less expensive. Today, this dish is equal in popularity to our American French fries!


1) First, have the students get into groups of two or three and make sure the groups have all the supplies they need to begin. (Preparation of supplies can be done before the class starts to save time).

2) Have the students pour 4 cups of uncooked Japanese rice and 4 cups of water into the rice cooker or heavy sauce pan.

3) Next, have the students bring their pans of rice and water over to the stove and heat until boiling then immediately turn down the temperature and let simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the rice is soft and the water has evaporated. (If stove space is needed for future steps the rice may be kept in a warm oven (just to stay warm not to cook further).)

4) The teacher can monitor the simmering rice while the students continue with the recipe.

5) Next, the students will take the soy sauce and sugar and place that in a pan. This will need to also be placed on the stove and monitored until boiling. After it comes to a boil the flame may be shut off and the pan can be removed.

6) While, the soy sauce and sugar are boiling, the students will cut 1 can of SPAM into _ inch wide slices. They will then fry the SPAM in a pan when the stove is free.

7) After the SPAM is fried, the students’ will soak the fried SPAM in the soy sauce mixture.

8) Next, students’ will line a musubi maker with the sushi nori (seaweed) and spread the rice across the bottom of it about _ of an inch high. They should then sprinkle the furukaki on top of the rice.

9) Next, place two pieces of SPAM in the musubi maker on top of the rice. The SPAM should cover most of the length of the musubi maker. Students’ should then sprinkle more rice and furukaki on top of the SPAM.

10) Next, fold over one side of the sushi nori and use the musubi maker insert to press sown on top of the nori, rice, and SPAM. The next step is to fold over the other side of the nori and press down.

11) Finally, remove the musubi “log” from the maker. Cut each log into 4 pieces.


a) Students should eat and enjoy their freshly made SPAM musubi. During the last remaining minutes, while the students are eating, the teacher should play the Hawaiian music for listening purposes. If the preparation of the dish lasts until the end of the class, the students may wrap up and take their food home to eat.

Grading Procedure:

1) Was the student actively participating in the lesson and
in the discussion? ________________________

2) Did the student exhibit knowledge of how to make SPAM musubi during and after the lesson? ________________________

3) Did the student have a positive attitude toward learning the new recipe?

4) Was the student well-behaved throughout the lesson? _____________________


a) The most challenging aspect of this lesson may be the time constraints. Between the beginning discussion and actually preparing the food, I think it will be very close to 50 minutes. One way to compensate, if the teacher feels the class may run overtime, is to try and schedule the home economics class before lunch. This would be helpful not only for this lesson, but when cooking other dishes as well. Tell the students’ that if they are interested, they may stay during part of their lunch time to finish cooking and eating.

b) Another obstacle, not only for this lesson but for other home economics lessons as well, may be the number of students in the class. It would be preferable to have no more than fifteen students in class. As we know, this is not always possible. For large classes, the teacher should pair students into groups of two or three (like in this lesson).

c) Another obstacle could be the facilities the school has for cooking. This depends on each school’s resources. This lesson uses the stove three separate times for each group. This calls for careful planning if there are limited resources. Again, the teacher could determine the number of stove burners and the number of students and then divide the groups accordingly. I think using the oven to keep the food warm while other things are cooking will also help.


After this lesson, students will have gained the ability to cook a popular Hawaiian dish called SPAM musubi. They will have also been exposed to some traditional Hawaiian music. Students will have exercised their discussion skills relating to the musical elements of Hawaiian music (instruments used, mood of the music (tranquil as opposed to angry), etc.). They will have also discussed other aspects of Hawaiian culture particularly relating to the cuisine.


Overall, this lesson integrates home economics and music (although the focus is mostly on home economics). This is a great extension of a multicultural thematic unit on Hawaii. This lesson will be fun for the students to be hands on, involved in. The lesson will also broaden their knowledge about the Hawaiian culture and help the students to grow into more culturally diverse individuals.


Another integrating possibility could be creating an entire cross-curricular project and presenting these projects through a multicultural festival day. Middle schools usually divide their students into “teams.” Each team could take on a particular country and learn about it through cross-curricular study. For example, the team that learns about Hawaii could make SPAM musubi for the festival and teach the other teams about the various aspects of the Hawaiian culture (possibly teaching the information through creative means). The teachers could coordinate the students by class and help them to be creative with their class projects. This is a rough idea, but it is a possibility for the faculty to discuss further.

Grading Ruberic Subject:
High Achievement
Good Achievement
Poor Achievement
The student displayed close attention to classroom instructions and was able to execute the task at hand.
The student displayed close attention to classroom instructions but took time to execute the task at hand.
The student displayed little or no attention to classroom instructions and had trouble executing the task at hand.
Class Particpation
The student portrayed excellent class particpation by asking and answering questions.
The student portrayed good class particpation by asking and answering a minimal amount of questions.
The student portrayed little or no particpation in asking and answering questions.
Cultural Understanding
The student displayed an affection for learning and understanding the aspects of the culture of Hawaii.
The student displayed semi-affection for learning and understanding the aspects of the culture of Hawaii.
The student displayed no affection for learning and understanding the aspects of the culture of Hawaii.