Cooking is science, the kitchen your lab, and your child the scientist! You can make tons of observations, conduct numerous experiments, and taste, oops test your results!
Everyone has cooked something, even making instant noodles or boiling water for tea is not just chemistry but involves all sciences. The lockdown has made us look towards our kitchen, and the kitchen can be a great Learning Resources for School students.
From microbiology through fermentation of dosa batter and sourdough, heat transfer through boiling milk, mixtures and allegories while brewing a cup of tea, the carbon life cycle when you bake a batch of cookies – the list is endless!
Here is a list of science concepts your young one can learn in the kitchen.
Ice cream and heat transfer
Seen one of those videos doing rounds on the social media, that makes ice cream in a ziplock bag? That one is an easy recipe and is an excellent way to whip up some ice cream and teach heat transfer to the kiddo. Just ice, a zip lock bag and rock salt – the ice cream releases heat when it is shake, absorbed by the cool ice-salt mixture, resulting in ice cream!
Mug cakes and chemistry
Ever tried a mug cake in under two minutes in the microwave?
Added that you get a little love note in the form of a yummy cake in a cup, and you can play around with it. An excellent way to teach mixtures and allegories and mixing which ingredient in what quantity will result in a runny cake, better texture, chewy or taste the best! This is the most fun of all kitchen experiments hands down, and all you’ll need is a few teaspoons of flour, butter and sugar. You can add and subtract as you please!
Pasta and physics
Changing states of matter, shape shifting in food – teach how boiling pasta or eggs changes the state, feel and texture. Does adding salt make it float? Why does adding oil make it non sticky?
You can think of concepts on the go with your little assistant in tow.
Bread and biology – cells
Activating yeast for the first time is a thrill. Especially for a kid doing it for the first time. How can dry yeast become alive? How does adding it to flour make it double? And why does yeast have a doubling cycle? Cell multiplication, what kind of organisms’ yeast are, mitosis, cell division – everything can be explored through a humble loaf of bread.
Kitchen waste and the carbon cycle
Climate change is the happening topic across the globe. Nonrenewable energy sources and fossil fuels are energy sources produced by things once living. You can make compost from kitchen waste using vegetable scraps and analysis how it changes over days. Carbon decomposition and how it releases gas during the process.
Setting curd/yoghurt and microbiology
This is an experiment that takes time, but it makes for an excellent opportunity to observe and make notes. Adding a small starter dose of microbes and watch them multiply as the whole milk finally turns to yoghurt or curd is fascinating. Discuss the ecosystem, why smaller organisms multiply faster and perish sooner and even the food chain!
Jello and states of matter
Making jello is fun. Eating it later is even more fun! And all it takes is some hot water a jello packet and some patience.
Jelly is a wonderful sensory teaching aid, and kids love it. Discuss how a hot runny liquid can set up and turn solid upon cooling. Once you have done this, make idly or dhokla and understand how something liquid can turn solid upon heating.
The contrasts are exciting and promise lot of thinking time!
Grocery shopping and math
Grocery shopping is a whole exercise all together. Though not exact concepts, it teaches fundamental concepts of planning through a shopping list, observation and even substitute materials. Let the kid shop and pay for the items and ask them to give an account of how and what they spent money on. Budgeting and planning is very important for a scientist!
Science is all around us. We just must look and capitalize on the opportune moment to identify which activity could transform into a learning experiment. Supplementing conventional schooling with an Online learning platform for students is a great idea to engage your little one. Simply Science is an amazing online platform that has refreshing content that satiates your kid’s thirst for science and tech and gives your great ideas that help build non routine problem solving and systematic thinking through the routine.
Incorporating little nuggets of learning through seemingly mundane activities will imbibe these qualities into them. The earlier, the better! And yes, once you finish these kitchen experiments, don’t forget to eat your classwork later!