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Objective: Students will be able to explain how a pressure cooker works, identify the parts of the pressure cooker, explain their functions, and describe how to care for and store the pressure cooker.

Equipment and Supplies: A pressure cooker · Instruction manual that comes with the pressure cooker · Copies of the following information sheets and worksheets: "The Pressure Cooking Method", "Pressure Pointers", "Getting to Know the Pressure Cooker: How it Works", "Getting to Know the Pressure Cooker: Worksheet", "Getting to Know the Pressure Cooker: Answer Key", and "Getting to Know the Pressure Cooker: Parts".

The Lesson: Before class, read the instruction manual that accompanies the pressure cooker(s) you will be using in your class. It is very important that anyone using a pressure cooker becomes fully familiar with it before using it for the first time. This is done by carefully studying the instruction manual that comes with the pressure cooker. Since your students do not have individual copies of the instruction manual, hand out the information sheets "The Pressure Cooking Method" and "Pressure Pointers". Although these worksheets do not hold complete instructions, they do serve as a basic guide to understanding and using a pressure cooker. This lesson is designed to help you provide them with a clear understanding of the pressure cooker.

Begin the lesson by showing the class the demonstration pressure cooker. Relate the pressure cooking method and its advantages for the way we live and cook today. Explain how a pressure cooker utilizes steam and pressure to raise the cooking temperature. Hand out the worksheet "Getting to Know the Pressure Cooker: How it Works". Emphasize how to use a pressure cooker safely. Direct students to read over the important safety information at the bottom of the information sheet. Go over each safety point and explain the reasoning behind each rule.

Point out and explain the function of each part of the pressure cooker. Be sure to describe the proper method for cleaning and storing as described in the instruction manual.

Play "Pass the Pressure Cooker". Pass the pressure cooker around so students can examine it. As each student receives the pressure cooker, review the main points you have made. Have the first student identify a part, the next one explains its function, the third student describe special care required. Continue until all parts have been reviewed.

Distribute copies of the worksheet "Getting to Know the Pressure Cooker: Worksheet", and ask students to complete the sheet. (Remember, you may have to adjust the worksheet or assist the students if your lesson has been based on a different type of pressure cooker.) When students are finished with their worksheets, hand out the information sheet "Getting to Know the Pressure Cooker: Parts" and discuss their answers.

Follow Up: Ask students who have pressure cookers at home to bring them to class. How do the pressure cookers vary with regard to features outlined in this lesson? How have the pressure cookers held up under prolonged use?


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