Share it! Science : Cookies: A Delicious Way to Develop Science Skills

Monday, April 27, 2015

Cookies: A Delicious Way to Develop Science Skills


When it comes to learning, it is always more fun, and often more effective, when a treat to eat is involved. I have been following Bethany Brookshire's series Cookie Science on the Eureka! Lab blog. Brookshire has been posting step-by-step updates of her process of science investigation surrounding the perfect gluten free chocolate chip cookie recipe. What is great about these posts is that they are taking a fun subject- baking cookies- and really outlining the important steps in designing and carrying out an experiment. Each post is geared toward students. Any testable question for a science fair or even professional research goes through the process that has been taking shape on Eureka! Lab.
 
The series begins with developing a testable hypothesis: "Substituting gluten-free flour alone will not make a cookie that is comparable to my original recipe". This is followed by directions for the use of a lab notebook. Other topics covered throughout the series are: ethics and protocol review boards, how to run a "blind" trial and using the Likert scalecontrolling variables, etc.
 
Throughout each post Brookshire does an excellent job of explaining the reasoning and her thought process for each method she is using. An upper middle school or high school student could easily use this series to plan their own scientific experiment, or it could be used in its original form as a way to teach a group of students the steps of creating and carrying out a scientific investigation.
 
This is just one example of using a cookie as a means to learn science. So much science can be learned in the kitchen. Baking is one way to teach and learn about chemical reactions. Check out Stephanie Warren's TED-Ed video lesson about chemical reactions in cookies.


In "The Case of the Cookie Mystery" a 5th grade level STEM investigation, students consider physical and chemical reactions as they have to determine the properties of all of the ingredients in a cookie recipe.

For a younger audience making observations of sweet treats as they are being made can lead to scientific questions. How do the ingredients feel or smell as you are mixing them together? When does the dough change from dry to moist? How does the cookie look when it is only halfway baked? How does it look when it is finished?
For some great baking investigations geared for preschool and elementary visit "Bake a Chemistry Cake" at Education.com, or "Pancake Science"at PBS Parents



Here are some other great activities and lesson plans that teach science principles using cookies!

Check out this great infographic from Shari's Berries that explains the science of baking:

The Science of Baking
Provided by berries.com


Who says learning can't be delicious? Do you have some great ideas for using cookies to teach and learn? Leave a comment or e-mail me at shareitscience@gmail.com

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Check out some other great kitchen fun links: 
KitchenFun


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