Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Science from the Kitchen (A Schoolhouse Review Crew Hop)

Today's Crew "Teaching Creatively" topic is "Homeschooling in the Kitchen." The natural thoughts on this subject is learning through cooking and baking, and we do plenty of that here. With four boys, "lunch" is a favorite subject!  But what we have also done are Science Fair projects based on things in our kitchen.

Luke's first science fair project explored how to make a gluten-free cake.  He baked four vegan applesauce cakes - one "control" cake with wheat flour, and three with various gluten free substitutes.   He compared the appearance, textures, and taste.  Being part of a family means being a test subject -- we were all pretty tired of cake at the end.

wheat vs. gluten free cake

wheat vs. gluten free cake

wheat vs. gluten free cake

Another favorite project involved making mock stomach acid out of vinegar.  Luke tested several antacids to find out which had the greatest neutralizing effect.  We were surprised to find out which one it was - it did not match his hypothesis.

mixing baking soda + vinegar

"Consumer science" was the focus of another science fair entry.  Luke tested various fabrics to see which was the most absorbent and would make the best kitchen towel.

Matthew seems to have a "candy" theme going.  Last year, he built a small catapult, and tested which candy flew the farthest when launched.  He discovered that there is a fine line between "not enough mass to get a good launch" and "too much mass and it doesn't go anywhere."

weighing candy

candy catapult

Matthew is competing this week at our local county college Science Fair. His entry is "Which M&M has the most individual colors."  He soaked the color from the candy shell of M&Ms and prepared a chromatograph.   To his surprise, the "brown" M&M really isn't "brown" -- it contains only red pigments.

preparing a chromatograph processing the chromatograph

results: which M&M had the most individual colors

We have had lots of fun performing experiments with things from our kitchen.  Hopefully this gives you ideas on ways to make science fun, using things you can find in YOUR kitchen.  Hop around and see what others are doing in their kitchens.

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  1. Meg, these are great! Where did you get the stomach acid experiment idea! I love it! I'd love to try that one out with my kids. :)

    1. To be honest, I'm not certain! I think it evolved mainly out of Luke living with siblings with GERD and wondering how well antacids really worked. When I went with Luke to pick them up at the pharmacy, I made sure he chose ones with palatable flavors. I was pregnant with Damien at the time, suffering from terrible reflux myself, and already had the doctor's permission to "use up" the leftovers!

  2. Wow! Those are great experiments!

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