it took. Do the same for the chocolate.
Which melted first—in other words, does
cheese or chocolate have a lower melting
point? Consider other factors that might
contribute to the outcome of this experiment, such as the type of cheese or the
fat content of the chocolate. Now, maybe
the best part of this whole experiment?
When you’re done, dip a pretzel or piece
of croissant into the melted cheese or
chocolate for your own mini-fondue.
Who says science isn’t tasty? Yum!
Side note: This is also a perfect time
to examine the attributes of physical and
chemical change. In a chemical change,
the result cannot be reversed because the
structure of the molecules has been permanently altered (think about cake batter versus a baked cake). In the cheese/
chocolate experiment, this was a physical
change. Both the cheese and chocolate
can be changed back to their original
states—melted chocolate to solid chocolate, for example.
Talking about melting chocolate,
next up: Mashed Potato Lava Cake
First, let’s talk about lava. The word lava
comes from the Italian word that means
a stream formed as a result of pouring
rain. When lava, or liquid rock, erupts
from a volcano, it also flows down the
sides of a volcano as if it were water. Just
how hot does rock have to get before it
turns into lava? Actually, normal lava is
between 1382° to 2282° Fahrenheit (750°
Volcanoes are formed from cooled
lava. There are many active volcanoes in
the world today. In the United States, two
of them are found in Hawaii. The first,
Mauna Loa, is the largest volcano in the
world, rising 4 kilometers above sea level.
It last erupted in 1984. Another volcano,
Kilauea, is one of the world’s most ac-
tive volcanoes. It started its eruptions in
1983 and has been continually erupting
since then. Worldwide, about 50 to 70
volcanoes erupt every year (plus, there
are more on the ocean floor that we can’t
see). That’s lots of lava!
There are four levels of activity when it
comes to volcanoes.
• Active volcanoes, like Kilauea, are
• Dormant volcanoes aren’t erupting
now, but they might become active
hundreds of years.
There’s a lot to think about and explore
as you make your own Mashed Potato
Lava Cakes: temperature, melting points,
chemical and physical change . . . Ta da!
Science is fascinating as well as delicious.
I hope you’ll agree that by connecting
science and food, children can learn and
have fun at the same time. De-lish!
Ann McCallum is the author of several
books for children, including her latest
titled Eat Your Science Homework: Recipes for Inquiring Minds (Charlesbridge,
2014) which was recently named a Junior
Library Guild choice. In addition to being
an author, Ann is also a full-time teacher
and mom in Maryland. Please visit her at:
Mashed Potato Lava Cakes Recipe
Before You Begin
Prep time: 20 minutes
Baking time: 12- 15 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
Oven temperature: 400° F
Yield: 12 cakes
Paper muffin liners or cooking spray
Medium mixing bowl
Large mixing bowl
Electric mixer or spatula
½ cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup cocoa
1 cup flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup milk
½ cup mashed potato (Yes, really!)
400° F. Prepare the muffin tins by
spraying them with cooking spray or
lining them with paper muffin cups.
•;Mix;the;dry;ingredients;in;the;me-dium bowl: cocoa, flour, baking soda,
baking powder, and salt.
• In the large bowl, beat the butter,
sugar, and eggs together using the
electric mixer or spatula. Add the
milk and mashed potato. Mix the dry
ingredients into the wet ones.
generous spoonful of chocolate chips
to the center of each.
covering the chocolate, so that the
muffin cups are about ¾ full.
or until done.
see (and taste) the lava flow!
Satisfy your curiosity by
using the momentum
of what you learned
as a basis for further