-->
Home Store Project Ideas Project Guide Ask An Expert Blog Careers Teachers Parents Students

The Holiday Kitchen: A Hands-On Lab

| 2 Comments
 pie image

As post-Halloween sugar highs ebb and trick-or-treat stashes wane, the days of pre-packaged, ready-to-eat treats give way to the smells of freshly-baked bread, pies, cakes, gingerbreads, and a variety of other family favorites. Indeed, as the year winds down and the days shorten, the kitchen can become an epicenter of activity. With classroom potlucks, family dinners, and a string of potential holiday gatherings dotting the calendar for November and December, the making and baking of traditional classics, festive treats, indulgences, and comfort foods becomes a backdrop against which the days - and dinners - unfold.

These activities also set the stage for wonderful moments of cooking chemistry. Whether you are looking to improve a favorite, hoping to boost the health factor of something on the menu, or are just curious about the ins and outs of the recipes being prepared, holiday baking offers an inviting and accessible test-bed for exploring chemical reactions.

Even my youngest, at five, likes to help mix up muffins and baked goods. Cracking eggs is, of course, one of the chief (albeit messy) satisfactions for the youngest of bakers. But curiosity about ingredients and an awareness of how many things "go into" the batter or mixture starts early. For older students and budding chemists, this curiosity can easily be channeled into questioning "why" we use certain ingredients.

What can you substitute in a pinch and why? How precise do measurements need to be? What happens if you leave this out or double that?

The list of questions that might arise as you watch the liquids and the flour mix together in a swirl of vanilla and cinnamon and pumpkin are seemingly infinite. Those questions, in fact, often are the launching point of innovation, of a new recipe, of an updated twist on a classic, and... maybe... of a science moment in the making.

Whether it's over Thanksgiving or Winter Break, just a regular rainy weekend or snow day, or a special Friday afternoon in class, there's a lot to gain from turning the kitchen into a lab. Just be sure and wash hands first!

Heat up the kitchen with the following project ideas:

2 Comments

The sugar vs. sugar substitutes works well and it is a fairly easy project.

this would be a very eady project but there is better ways out here.. my friend did this one and she got a d- on it..i did the what kind of fats are in a deliccious pastires from scinecnebuddies.org. i won the scinece fair.. but this still was a very good idea just wanted to tell yall that. i don't think the judges were beung fair about it.. or the techers or whom ever graded it. but thank you.

Science Buddies Science Activities

Science Buddies and Autodesk for Student STEM Exploration


thumbnail
We go DIY with molecular gastronomy and family science as we make our own popping boba using the Spherification Kit from the Science Buddies Store.

thumbnail
The current Ebola crisis in West Africa has already topped charts for all Ebola outbreaks in history. Medical biotechnology science projects let students gets hands-on with projects that parallel real-world research and development.

thumbnail
An unusual caterpillar brings lots of "eeeews!" and one contribution to a citizen science project. Discover how anyone can collaborate on serious scientific research.

thumbnail
UC Berkeley Professor Dan Garcia talks about the kind of "drag-and-drop," block-based, snap-together programming environments that are becoming increasingly popular as a way to introduce students of all ages to code.

thumbnail
With a smorgasbord of fun, engaging, playful, and puzzling modules available as part of the Hour of Code initiative, kids can experiment with programming basics and sample Javascript, Python, Ruby, and more.

thumbnail
The Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest gives U.S. secondary public schools a chance to use STEM to help address problems affecting their students and communities--and a chance at a share of $2 million in technology.



Your Science!
What will you explore for your science project this year? What is your favorite classroom science activity? Email us a short (one to three sentences) summary of your science project or teaching tip. You might end up featured in an upcoming Science Buddies newsletter!



You may print and distribute up to 200 copies of this document annually, at no charge, for personal and classroom educational use. When printing this document, you may NOT modify it in any way. For any other use, please contact Science Buddies.