Pizza Oven Build

Pizza Oven Build
Posted on 11/03/2022
The STARS class completed their major project for the school year earlier this month when visiting artist/builder Jesse Stevens came to BMS and helped the students build a cob pizza oven. Groups of 3-5 STARS students rotated through the building process, helping Jesse set the hearth, make the sand mold of the interior, mix and build the cob layer, add an insulating layer, and then finish the oven with a stucco layer that includes a student design golden buck made from glass mosaic tiles.

The oven needs to dry for a couple weeks before it can be used, but it will then be available for the STARS students and other classes to use as part of experiential lessons, especially once the greenhouse and Applied Learning Lab are online and student can grow the pizza toppings, use fractions and ratios to cook, and then explore the science of cooking pizza [hint: it involves radiant, conductive, and convective heat transfer].

A STARS student mixes cob for the pizza oven

Watching the students on the build affirmed our belief in the power and potential of hands-on, experiential learning activities. During the build, the students were 100% engaged in the activity and did a wonderful job collaborating with Jesse and with each other. They took feedback and went to great lengths to try to do a good job. It was neat to hear students express how proud they were of the work that they had done. It speaks to the impact of the STARS program and also the importance of the Applied Learning Lab in allowing all students to experience similar learning activities.

A STARS student poses in front of the Golden Buck mosaic design on the pizza oven

We asked the students to reflect on their learning afterwards, and this is what they said:

Describe what skills you learned from this activity?
“I learned to trust the process.” - Bri
“Teamwork. I can apply that while doing groups in class.” - Grace
“Leadership, teamwork, creativity, craftsmanship, thinking, respect.” - Eric

How did it feel to help Jesse?
“It was honestly kind of fun, and it also kind of made me feel helpful.” - Lanie
“Really good.” - Brock
“I felt like a professional.” - Cooper
“I felt useful.” - Connor
“Good, because I worked hard and it paid off.” - Gavrie

What will you carry with you about this experience?
“The fact that I was able to be known as someone who built the pizza oven.” - Lanie
“It will be good for my future job.” - James
“The knowledge I made a change in the school.” - Keyara
“Teamwork, a huge learning experience, and respect for the school system.” - Eric
“The fact that I was one of the original members of STARS to make the pizza oven that will be here for a long time.” - Cami

Because of this experience, I am…
“Grateful” - Kyli
“A happier person.” - Eric
“Happy because I did the most authentic thing I have done in school.” - Gavrie

The STARS class in front of the finished pizza oven.