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Students + Science = Lunch In A Mug

When you mix science and math at Holiday Elementary School in Hopkinsville, you get five 4th-graders known as the Hug-A-Mug girls.

During their 25-minute lunch break they experimented with nutrition by measuring, mixing, heating, and enjoying the results. Under the supervision of volunteer tutor Nada Fuqua, they concocted recipes, filled mugs, then took their mixtures to five microwave ovens in the building to “nuke.” They’re learning to measure, divide, find the impact heat has on ingredients, and the importance of documenting outcomes as they create and test their tasty experiments.

“We call ourselves ‘the lunch bunch,'” Fuqua says. “This year we’ve come up with four successful mug recipes: pizza, chocolate cake, apple cake, and omelets. We tried mac and cheese, but found the pasta needed to be pre-soaked and there wasn’t time for that. But one of the girls started making our pizza at home and announced, ‘It’s better than the school’s.'”

Former teacher Waynette Gates, curriculum specialist, gives credit to two Pennyrile Electric co-op members for their coaching.

Gates says, “Dr. Terry Fuqua, a retired medical doctor, and his wife, Nada, retired music educator, help enrich and extend learning for our students. They’ve devoted one day a week for five years and bring fresh ideas to whatever group they’re working with. Dr. Fuqua has even taught trigonometry to a few 4th- and 5th-grade students. We’re fortunate to have them.”

In addition to trigonometry, Dr. Fuqua has taught students Classical Greek, how to discover exoplanets (planets outside the solar system), and chemistry—all at students’ request.

Mug Pizza recipe

• Cut refrigerated pie dough into 2 round shapes.

• Place on a paper towel and microwave for 20 seconds.

• Place 1 crust in bottom of mug.

• Add 3 T. pizza or spaghetti sauce, shredded cheese, and pinch of Italian herbs on top.

• Top with second round of crust.

• Microwave for 20 seconds.

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