Does it seem like your dog’s tomach is one black hole? Are your uncle’s chocolate chip cookies truly molecular?
Do you often include elements such as Na
or Ca in your diet (sodium or calcium)?
The next time you are wracking your
brain trying to think about how to make
science not only relevant but fun, try stirring up some curiosity—and head to the
kitchen. Welcome to science and food!
In other words, welcome to using food
to make a connection to amazing things
Start by asking a question. For exam-
ple, “Which food items melt faster than
others?” Open the fridge and make a
hypothesis or guess with a few of your
favorites: cream cheese or peanut butter?
Marshmallows or margarine? For a combination with the added benefit of some
historical context, make a hypothesis
about cheese and chocolate (see more on
this below). Next, gather simple equipment such as a stop watch and scale and
conduct an experiment using a microwave with a glass viewing window (
supervised by an adult, of course). Observe
and analyze. What did you see? What
happened? Finally, reflect on the results
of the experiment and find an answer for
why. Satisfy your curiosity by using the
momentum of what you learned as a basis for further exploration.
But back to the example of cheese and
chocolate . . . are you fond of fondue?
The idea of melting cheese and dipping
bread in it probably came from peasants
in Switzerland and France who needed
a tasty way to eat old, hardened cheese
and stale bread. Nowadays, fondues can
also be made with chocolate for dipping.
Here’s a perfect way to connect the sci-
ence: which has a lower melting point,
cheese or chocolate? To find out, take an
equal portion of each one. To be as precise
as possible, use the same shape and size
by measuring dimensions and weighing
each using a kitchen scale. Melt the in-
gredients one at a time, starting with the
cheese. Place it inside the microwave,
watching carefully through the viewing
window. At the first sign of melting, turn
the microwave off and record how long
Dishing Up Science:
Welcome to using food to make a connection
by Ann McCallum
to amazing things about science!